External affairs manager

A rare and exciting opportunity to influence changes that could be in place for a generation.
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  • Flexible but easy access to London will be essential, as will occasional travel to Leeds.

  • Permanent and full time. We are open to considering more flexible working options (e.g. working a minimum of four days per week).

  • £36,150 (FTE) – plus £4,000 London Allowance if applicable, and on call allowance

About the role

Reporting to the Assistant Director of Communications, the External Affairs Manager (Public Affairs) will take on account management responsibilities for some of our highest profile programmes of work which seek to engage and influence policymakers on behalf of our members. This will include managing the public affairs and wider communications for some of our major campaigns and stakeholder coalitions that we hosts.

You will be responsible for the operational delivery of our public affairs work, ensuring we are abreast of key political and stakeholder developments and that we build and maintain strong relationships with a broad range of bodies and individuals at the highest levels, including those across Government and Parliament, the Arm’s Length Bodies, professional representative organisations, patient groups, and think tanks. This will include identifying and managing how we collaborate, communicate with and convene our strategic partners; overseeing how we contribute to and inform policy development (including through evidence submissions and consultation responses); managing our political and stakeholder mapping and monitoring processes; and briefing senior colleagues on organisational positioning ahead of key stakeholder engagement opportunities.

The post is part of the external affairs unit, which sits within our communications and membership operations directorate. The external affairs unit is responsible for managing our public profile, member communications and strategic relationships, supporting the organisation to influence nationally on behalf of its members. The unit brings together mainstream media relations, national stakeholder engagement, parliamentary and Government relations, social media delivery, member communications and planning.

As such, you will be expected to form part of the press office on-call rota alongside other colleagues in the team, for which an additional allowance will be provided.

You will contribute to the delivery of the external affairs unit’s and wider organisation’s strategic priorities, ensuring that both member intelligence and robust communications evaluation mechanisms are central to our approach.

You will be responsible for line managing one Senior External Affairs Officer and one External Affairs Officer, as well as providing management support to the wider team, as required.

You will play a key role in negotiating and managing the contracts for important aspects of our work, including its externally procured political monitoring service.

  • Government and Parliamentary engagement

    • Oversee our monitoring of key developments in Parliament and from Government, ensuring that updates and briefings are shared with colleagues and our members in a timely manner and to a high standard.
    • Manage our communications with MPs and Government officials on both a strategic and operational basis, ensuring we establish and maintain contact both corporately and with our senior leaders. This includes overseeing meetings, drafting correspondence, and coordinating content for briefings so that issues and developments affecting our members can be progressed and accurately relayed.
    • Maintain up to date knowledge of our key contacts across Government, including the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as with MPs.
    • Oversee the organisation’s formal responses to relevant Government consultations and Parliamentary inquiries, in conjunction with colleagues across the business. This Director of Communications Assistant Director of Communications External Affairs Manager (Media) External Affairs Officer External Affairs Manager (Public Affairs) Senior External Affairs Officer External Affairs Officer Communications and Membership Manager Communications and Membership Manager includes leading on coordinating briefings for spokespeople, horizon scanning for potential opportunities and maintaining contact with parliamentary clerks and Government communications colleagues.

    Stakeholder relations

    • Take day-to-day responsibility for ensuring the organisation builds and maintains effective relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, both corporately and at the most senior levels. This includes with the Royal Colleges, professional representative bodies, think tanks, Civil Service departments, Arms Length Bodies, and patient charities.
    • Oversee our communications activities across the stakeholder coalitions that we hosts, in conjunction with the Assistant Director of Communications.
    • Oversee our monitoring of key developments across our key stakeholders, including consultations and other engagement opportunities, ensuring that updates and briefings are shared with colleagues and our members in a timely manner and to a high standard, so that opportunities to influence policy developments are identified and explored fully.
    • Oversee and when required, lead on the drafting of communications intended for our corporate stakeholders, alongside the Senior External Affairs Officer and External Affairs Officer. This includes in support of our corporate publications or other announcements, so that our strategic partners are aware of our work and we can grow our influence.
    • Oversee and when required, lead on the delivery of engagement plans and campaigns, ensuring they are produced to a high standard, in a timely manner and in recognition of their intended audience.
    • Advise the chief executive, chair and directors on their direct engagement with key stakeholders, including in helping them to prepare for key meetings and events, and helping to support the organisation’s commitment to diversity.
    • Work with external suppliers and colleagues across the directorate to implement and manage an effective evaluation process to monitor the impact of our public affairs work.
    • Organise and support high quality events to engage, obtain insight and enable discussion between members, stakeholders and decision-makers. This could range from seeking speaker suggestions for events, to delivering Parliamentary / stakeholder receptions, conference events or policy-orientated roundtables.

    Account management, including delivery and development of communications plans

    • Advise, support and deliver a selection of the organisation’s work programmes, coordinating activity across the department and drafting content to ensure effective implementation. This could include plans to support the work of the stakeholder coalitions that we host or cross-membership projects, such as campaigns.
    • Demonstrate robust knowledge and awareness of strategic objective setting, audience engagement matrixes and evaluation mechanisms to ensure communication plans are well thought through, in line with our overarching business and executed to a high standard.
    • Work effectively and proactively with our policy advisers, regional engagement leads and other staff to generate impactful content and plans, which enable us to influence on behalf of our members.
    • Play a key role in managing our external output scheduling including through the communications grid, which is the central resource that records and plans our key activities and projects, working alongside the Assistant Director of Communications, External Affairs Manager (Media) and our directorate’s Head of Content.

    Line and team management

    • Line management of a Senior External Affairs Officer and an External Affairs Officer, ensuring that objectives are set, appraisals are undertaken, and professional development is actively supported and managed.
    • Provide management support and guidance to the broader external affairs unit, as required.
    • Support the Assistant Director of Communications in developing and delivering our external affairs strategy, building our reputation as a credible, influential and intelligence-driven membership body for the NHS.
    • Support the successful running of the external affairs unit by keeping up to date with best practice in communications and by providing advice, ideas and suggestions for how the efficiency and effectiveness of the team can be improved.
    • Manage contracts on behalf of the external affairs unit, for example, for our political monitoring service.
    • Form part of the on-call rota for media enquiries outside of normal business hours, which is shared across the external affairs unit.
    • Deputise for the Assistant Director of Communications, as required.
  • Experience

    • Strong experience of account management, particularly around stakeholder and member engagement, campaigns and social media - Experience in developing and delivering successful communications plans that meet organisational objectives, in collaboration with a broad range of colleagues and stakeholders.
    • Experience of working within healthcare communications and/or for a membership body with an understanding of how to communicate effectively on behalf of members.
    • Experience of working in a complex policy environment, with multiple stakeholder relationships to manage effectively.
    • Experience of media relations Application Interview Assessment
    • Strong experience of working within public affairs, including lobbying MPs and central Government for change.
    • Successful track record of delivering proactive influencing plans, alongside managing a reactive workload.
    • Experience of providing advice to senior spokespeople. - Experience in managing external events.
    • Experience in strategic planning and communications evaluation
    • Experience in line management and
    • Experience of having worked directly with MPs.
    • Experience in communicating through social media channels in a professional context. developing team performance.

    Knowledge

    • Strong understanding of Government and Parliamentary processes.
    • Detailed and up-to-date knowledge of MPs, Government and senior stakeholder contacts – ideally with some established contacts.
    • Knowledge of political monitoring and evaluation techniques
    • Knowledge of the health and social care environment, including key policy issues, as well as current affairs more broadly
    • Knowledge of influencing
    • Knowledge of the NHS Confederation’s work and its membership landscape
    • Knowledge of how the media works. Application Interview Assessment strategies, communications planning and impact measurement techniques

    Skills

    • Strong attention to detail, negotiation and analytical skills
    • Strong presentation and written skills, particularly for content that is intended for external audiences.
    • Solid stakeholder engagement and relationship management skills, including with MPs and with senior staff.
    • Ability to produce work to a high standard and in support of multiple Application Interview Assessment priorities, including outside of standard working hours, when required.
    • Ability to demonstrate high levels of proactivity, exercise sound judgement, use initiative and know when to seek senior input.
    • Ability to plan team workloads effectively, know when to delegate responsibility and to identify key areas of development for direct report(s), providing support in achieving their goals. - Excellent IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office and content management systems

    Other

    • Willingness to travel according to business need - our offices are in London and Leeds. However, due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, we have a flexible approach in place where most staff are currently working from home.
    • Physical and emotional stamina: able to work flexibly, including outside of standard hours when required and as part of an on -call rota.
  • Experience

    • Experience of working within healthcare communications and/or for a membership body with an understanding of how to communicate effectively on behalf of members.
    • Experience of working in a complex policy environment, with multiple stakeholder relationships to manage effectively.
    • Experience of media relations
    • Experience of having worked directly with MPs.
    • Experience in communicating through social media channels in a professional context.

    Knowledge

    • Knowledge of the NHS Confederation’s work and its membership landscape
    • Knowledge of how the media works.
  • Health and Safety At Work Act

    You will be required to take reasonable care for the safety and health of yourself and others who may be affected by their acts and to promote/ maintain health and safety measures.

Apply now 

Complete the application form and tell us why you are applying for this role.

Our application guide will help you make the most of your application

Please note we do not accept CVs. If you require the application form in another format please contact us

Completed application forms should be emailed to jobapplications@nhsconfed.org.

If you would like an informal discussion about the role before applying, please email Paul Cooney.

Application deadline: 13th June 2021 (midnight)
Interview date: W/C 21st June 2021 or W/C 28th June 2021 TBC

All applications must be received by 5.30pm on the day of the closing date unless specified. If your application is late, for whatever reason, there is no guarantee that we will be able to consider it.

Due to the high volume of applications we receive we are unable to respond to each applicant in person. Therefore, if you have not heard from us within three weeks of the closing date, your application has not been successful.