Mark Lee

Director of Tertiary Education Reform at Department for the Economy, Belfast

Director of Director of Tertiary Education Reform, Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland
Policy Fellow Alum, Centre for Science and Policy

Mark Lee is Director of Tertiary Education Reform at the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland since September 2021. He was previously Director of Mental Health, Disability and Older People and Director of Healthcare Transformation. Before joining the Northern Ireland office he worked in DCLG as the Deputy Director for Economic and Social Planning Policy, where he had overall responsibility for the National Planning Policy Framework, including planning for housing and gypsy and traveller issues, as well as policies such as the Budget 2012 commitment to explore the feasibility of land auctions.

He has worked closely with local government and business representatives to reform the Community Infrastructure Levy through revised statutory guidance and proposed regulatory reforms, incentivising development by providing communities with a proportion of the levy. He has also led reform of “section 106” planning obligations through primary and secondary legislation, in order to get stalled sites moving, including through the Growth and Infrastructure Act.

Previously he was Head of Housing Strategy and Policy Coordination, coordinating the delivery of a major housing and planning package in 2012 to provide an additional 70,000 homes, including £780m in spending and a £10bn guarantee for new homes. Before that he was responsible for policy to reinvigorate the Right to Buy, in line with high profile Prime Ministerial commitment, working closely with No.10 and Cabinet Office to successfully negotiate coalition politics, and driving the development of an innovative communications approach.

Mark’s earlier roles in CLG included Planning Lead in the Localism Bill Team (2010-11), where he oversaw the clauses delivering the most fundamental reform of the planning system in over 20 years, and introducing new powers to pass on EU fines; and the Preventing Extremism Unit (2007-10), where he oversaw the delivery of a controversial pilot programme of funding for local authorities, embedding work on the PREVENT strand of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy across a range of agencies at a local level.

He began his civil service career with a series of Fast Stream posts during 2002-06, having graduated in History from Durham University in 2001.