National Audit Office
National Audit Office


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Vacancy

Job titleChief Press Officer
Minimum salaryGBP 49,564.00
Maximum salaryGBP 59,604.00
LocationLondon
Close date27/06/2022
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Job description

Job descriptionChief Press Officer
Location- Victoria, London
This a Permanent position
Salary Range: The salary range is £49,564 to £59,604 per annum

The Chief Press Officer is responsible for running the NAO press office and delivering our external communications strategy. They will promote our programme of work with the media and ensure our reputation as the UK’s independent public spending watchdog remains strong.

The NAO ‘s programme of work covers the entirety of the public sector and has a big impact. Our reports hold government to account across a wide range of high-profile issues – from core topics such as health, education, tax and defence to cross-cutting strategic issues such as Brexit, COVID-19 and achieving Net Zero.

Our work attracts a significant amount of prominent media interest, regularly featuring on front pages and in broadcast news. The Chief Press Officer is responsible for ensuring we achieve a suitable level of coverage for our work, that it is targeted at the right audiences, that reporting is accurate and balanced, and that our key messages land.

The Chief Press Officer is also responsible for ensuring our reputation as an independent, authoritative and insightful organisation is upheld. They directly support the C&AG, the head of the NAO, and our directors to promote and explain the purpose of the NAO to the media and handle any reputational issues and crises.

This is a demanding and hands-on role with a high profile within the organisation. We produce around 60 reports a year, with as many as three publishing a week when Parliament is sitting, requiring the ability to prioritise and work quickly under pressure. The large majority of work is proactive in nature, promoting our work to journalists across a vast array of sectors. The Chief Press Officer will personally lead on many reports, in particular the highest profile and politically sensitive ones. They have to balance this with managing and supporting the press officers in their team while also being ready to handle any reactive issues or crises.

The position sits within the communications team and reports to the head of external communications. The role has line management responsibility for two press officers and is part of the communications management team. The postholder works closely with colleagues in the digital and social media, strategic comms, and design and publishing teams as well as the C&AG’s private office and directors across the organisation.

Interview process

There will be a two-stage selection process for this interview. Following a paper sift of CV and cover letter, longlisted applications will be invited for a round 1 interview and asked to complete a written task in advance. Successful candidates will progress to a round 2 interview and ask to complete a presentation exercise in advance. Round 1 interviews will take place on 7th and 8th July virtually. Round 2 interviews will take place in the following week, beginning 11th July, and these will be in person at our London office.

Nationality Requirement:
• UK Nationals
• Nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
• Nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with (or eligible for) status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

Please note, we are not able to sponsor work visas. Please contact us at hrservicedesk@nao.org.uk should you have any questions on your nationality eligibility.
ResponsibilitiesMain responsibilities:
Promoting the NAO’s work to external audiences (40%)

• Develop communications plans to achieve targeted levels of impact for our reports with external audiences
• Write press notices, placed articles, blogs, social media posts and scripts for creative social content such as video
• Sell in stories, brief journalists and handle enquiries to secure good media coverage
• Arrange print and broadcast media interviews and support our spokespeople to take part in them
• Build relationships with key editors, lobby and sector correspondents to increase understanding of the NAO’s work and land opportunities to increase our profile
• Handle reactive enquiries and deal with issues effectively to protect the NAO’s reputation, occasionally working out-of-hours when needed.
• Provide the C&AG, Executive Team and directors with sound media counsel and give press advice to wider communications team colleagues
• Evaluate impact of each published report against objectives.
Management of the press office (60%)

• Lead the Value for Money and Financial Audit communication strategies to achieve media impact for the NAO’s programme of work.
• Prioritise and allocate work within the press office to deliver communications for our full suite of reports, liaising with Private Office and the Work Programme office.
• Direct, support and review the work of the two press officers, signing off press notices and social content. Performance manage and coach them, supporting their development; manage recruitment in to the press office as needed.
• Direct our programme of journalist engagement, ensuring key strategic sectors are covered, and taking the lead on the highest profile contacts with lobby correspondents and political editors.
• Be part of the Incident Response Management Team. Own the crisis communications plan, train colleagues and senior spokespeople on crisis handling, and lead any media response in the event of a crisis.
• Oversee our daily media monitoring as well as our monthly and quarterly evaluation work and metrics reporting to demonstrate the strategic impact of our work to the Board and Executive Team and to inform future business improvement opportunities.
• Initiate and lead projects to improve how the press office performs. Lead annual functional review, and input into communications function annual area plan.
• Organise the Director media training programme and liaise with our media trainer
• Manage the press office budget, procurement and contract management of our media monitoring, newspaper subscriptions, and other suppliers.
• Be an active part of the communications management team, supporting initiatives to improve the communications function, contribute to corporate initiatives and develop our junior staff.
Skills requiredSkills & knowledge required
Essential
• Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal. Writes clearly in plain, simple language, effectively distilling complex information into clear messages.
• Good news sense, an ability to horizon-scan to spot emerging issues, and a deep understanding of the print, broadcast, online and social media landscape
• Demonstrable experience of building long-term relationships with key stakeholder journalists
• Good at managing journalist enquiries, handling sensitive issues and managing crisis communications
• Strong internal stakeholder management skills with the confidence to communicate, influence and advise at senior levels
• Can train and support spokespeople to engage with print and broadcast media through interviews and op-eds
• Ability to develop strategy and deliver long term projects to improve functional performance of a team
• Good people leadership skills with experience of running a small team or line managing other colleagues
• Able to work well under pressure and respond to issues at short notice and sometimes out of hours
Desired
• A good understanding of the political landscape, how the public sector and parliament work, and the NAO’s role in holding government to account
• Established relationships with political editors, lobby correspondents, or correspondents from certain key sectors relating to government eg health, finance, defence
• Experience working with creative design teams to make videos and social content
• Experience of other communications disciplines, such as running campaigns, strategic communications, events, digital, marketing.
Educational requirements

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