External Communications Adviser
External Communications Adviser
Fixed Term, 12 months initially
Full Time, 37 hours per week
Up to £36,742 per annum
Closing Date: 14th July 2021
*This position will initially, in line with current government guidance be based from home, with an expectation of being home based for the foreseeable future. However, if / when government guidelines change the role may then revert to being office based, whilst retaining some flexible working options.
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents.
The Communications and Marketing department is a key function within the council, playing a central role in informing, changing behaviours, and protecting reputation amongst all key audiences. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of councils in supporting communities through clear communications and marketing activities has never been more important.
The department has a unique structure within local government, with small teams of professionals aligned to key communications and marketing disciplines, ensuring we have expert in house knowledge to not only deliver best in class communications activity and campaigns, but also to provide consultancy support to colleagues across the organisation.
We are looking for an External Communications Adviser to join our Communications and Marketing team, with a focus on reactive media relations and a responsibility for ensuring that we promote and maintain the reputation of Essex County Council through traditional and digital media.
The Communications and Marketing team at Essex County Council works on a consultancy-based approach, linking the expertise of the corporate team with effective delivery, working alongside all service areas around the council. Its work is insight driven, with the user at the heart of all communications activity.
This role's central area of focus will be liaising with the media on proactive and reactive basis, developing relationships with local journalists, stakeholders and key influencers. As a media relations adviser you will be required to develop understanding of ECC's core narrative and key priorities, managing incoming media enquiries and interview requests made to our press desk and provide journalists with factually correct statements and information, liaising with colleagues from across the organisation. You'll create and curate content that aligns to our strategic vision, which looks to change behaviours, perceptions and attitudes, as well as increasing levels of understanding and satisfaction of council services.
You will offer sound advice and guidance to senior officers and cabinet members with media opportunities which reflect our work and priorities. You'll be responsible for ensuring that all media enquiries are handled and responded to in a timely and professional manner in order to enhance a positive profile of Essex County Council.
Contribution towards the forward planning of the external communications team will also be required, as well as the need to evaluate and produce information and reports to appraise key external communications campaign activity. Some weekend and out of hours monitoring will be required, as part of a rota with the wider team.
· Support the delivery of the external communications programme.
· Responsible for planning external communications strategies and campaigns, writing and producing on and offline content including press releases, videos, events and working closely with the media, stakeholders and partners.
· Responsible for the delivery of proactive and reactive external communications, including reputational and issues management.
· Support the recruitment and maintenance of a strong network of influencers and advocates.
· Responsible for offering guidance on which inbound media opportunities to pursue and which to decline, in order to make better use of resource.
· Responsible for mentoring Council members and senior officers who are spokespeople for the organisation in external communications.
· Working collaboratively with colleagues across Communications and Marketing sharing knowledge, insights and data.
· Working collaboratively with stakeholders on a consultative rather than a supplier basis, promoting the marketing and communications function as a centre of excellence.
Knowledge, Skills and Experience
· Educated to degree level or equivalent by experience.
· Evidence of continuing professional development and knowledge in relevant professional area.
· Experience of working with the media at a local and national level in a media relations role, on behalf of a large, complex organisation. Experience of working in a political or public sector environment is desirable.
· Experience of digital media and how to create content that meets the need of an online audience.
· Strong news judgment and pitching skills, excellent writing and communication skills.
· Experience of multidisciplinary and cross-functional working.
· Experience of carrying out a media relations role on behalf of a public sector organisation, in particular during a PR crisis (preferred).
· Ability to effectively communicate strategy is desirable.
· Highly organised and used to working to tight deadlines.
Apply and next steps
To apply, please submit your CV and a Supporting Statement via the Working for Essex website.
Essex County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and expects all employees and volunteers to share this commitment.
We seek the best talent from the widest pool of people as diversity is key to our success.