Head of Communications and Engagement

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
£50,952 to £57,349 a year per annum
Closing date
29 May 2023

View more

Other Health Profession
Band 8A
Full Time
Job summary

The post-holder will be passionate about the NHS and a great storyteller, able to bring to life the innovations and initiatives available to transform the NHS.

The post-holder will be able to present information in a compelling way via a range of channels including social media, web and digital, slide decks, reports and marketing collateral.

Working within the 'virtual' AHSN Network Coordinating Office, the post holder will report to the Director of Communications and Engagement and line manage the Communications Managers and Communications Officer.

The role will work closely with AHSN Chief Officers and leads of cross-AHSN groups, playing a central role in ensuring a joined up approach that presents the AHSNs as a connected national Network with a long term future at the very heart of healthcare innovation and transformation.

Main duties of the job

This is a key role within the AHSN Network central team that will be called upon to make an outstanding contribution to the realisation of the AHSN vision: to transform lives through health innovation.

The role will be instrumental in delivering the Network's communications and engagement strategy.

The post-holder will be expected to develop communications plans and lead on their execution while also managing the busy workload of the team. You will be experienced communicator with knowledge in stakeholder engagement, content production, digital communications, event coordination, media relations and internal communications, as well as an excellent copywriter.

The post-holder will demonstrate creativity and flair, seeking new ways to build the Network's profile:
  • An outstanding content manager able to craft compelling and inspiring narrative, messaging & campaigns that are owned & cascaded by all AHSNs
  • A fantastic eye for a great story: working across AHSN priorities and linking with individual communications teams to capitalise on opportunities to engage & build influence with strategic stakeholders and decision makers, positioning the AHSNs as innovation experts.
  • An experienced team-leader with the ability to manage and motivate staff.

The post holder will also be a highly proficient organiser; feeding into a broad portfolio of communications products and ensuring a coordinated approach is taken at all times.

About us

The AHSN Network, which operates nationally as the innovation arm of the NHS, leads the spread and adoption of new technologies, pathways and medicines and supports innovators and entrepreneurs in the life sciences sector.

The AHSN Network is the collective voice of the 15 academic health science networks (AHSNs) across England and works collaboratively to support change nationally.

We are now on the look-out for an experienced communications leader to join our national central communications team, as Head of Communications and Engagement, initially on a fixed term basis until end of March 2024.

We're looking for an experienced communications professional with knowledge of the UK health and care landscape, able to work autonomously to lead communications campaigns and initiatives, while working collaboratively with communications teams across the 15 AHSNs and our partners.

Although the post is hosted within Health Innovation Manchester (one of the 15 AHSNs and part of Manchester NHS Foundation Trust) - the role is working for the national AHSN Network team, and therefore is fully remote/home-based. Our current team is spread geographically across England and work together virtually, however, there are occasional requirements to travel to meetings or events around the country.

For more information about the AHSN Network, visit our website or read our latest Impact Report.

Job description

Job responsibilities

  • Developing and implementing communications campaigns and targeted engagement to support the Network to achieve its ambitions
  • Working with colleagues across national programmes, themes and priorities to support a planned approach to communications and engagement, and identify stories / content for Network engagement channels and campaigns
  • Media relations including identifying news stories, researching and writing press releases and building contacts with national and specialist publications
  • Overseeing delivery and development of Network communications and engagement tools and channels, for example:-

- Internal and external newsletters and briefing documents

- Impact case studies and awards entries

- Blogs and podcasts

- Writing and production of national publications including the annual Impact Report

- Developing impactful infographics and presentation materials

- Website, social media channels and creation of digital content / assets.
  • Developing internal communications tools and taking a lead in ensuring AHSNs are informed about and involved in the wider work of the Network
  • Horizon-scanning opportunities to position the Network as thought leaders for example through identifying and negotiating speaker slots at events or producing joint reports with partners
  • Ownership, development and review of the Networks brand guidelines and corporate identity
  • Supporting joint communications activities with national partners
  • Monitoring and evaluating communications and engagement activity to ensure agreed standards and targets are achieved
  • Line managing the Communications Officer
  • Working with - and managing - external agency contracts related to lead area of responsibility, and developing tender documents / specifications for external supply of relevant products and services
  • Day to day management of the Network CRM system
  • Developing measures to ensure communications and engagement activity is evaluated appropriately
  • Ensuring all activity complies with data protection, accessibility and usability legislation, and be alert to new / merging regulations and guidelines
  • Maintaining up to date contacts for AHSN communications teams
  • Supporting event planning and attending national meetings, events and conferences as required
  • Undertaking any other duties that might reasonably be required and are commensurate with the post.

Person Specification



  • Educated to degree level or equivalent significant experience at a senior level in communications, marketing or engagement


  • A qualification in communications, PR, marketing or the media Evidence of continued professional development in communications, PR or marketing
  • Evidence of continued professional development in communications, PR or marketing



  • Proven success at managing change while maintaining high standards of quality
  • Delivery of 'full service' offline and digital marketing communications activities including media relations, social media and video
  • Developing brand guidelines and corporate identity

Training and Experience


  • Significant experience of working in a senior communications role in an AHSN, developing and deploying campaigns to build profile and reputation
  • Mapping and prioritising stakeholders, and developing campaigns to influence and leverage support
  • Excellent written skills covering a range of activities (e.g. newsletters, case studies, press releases etc.) and ability to create compelling 'jargon-free' copy for multiple audiences
  • Transforming complex information into impactful copy, infographics and slide decks
  • Working across networks and organisations, using communications techniques to build collaboration
  • Highly digital / computer literate with experience of a range of software packages and processes including Customer Relationship Management systems
  • Working with strategic leaders and evidence of strong influencing and negotiation skills
  • Working in partnership with a range of organisations including NHS, local authorities, government agencies, CVS and commercial sectors
  • Managing projects involving multiple partners
  • Internal communications experience to create advocacy and buy-in to a corporate vision / mission


  • Working in a senior / strategic communications role
  • Managing staff
  • Contributing to communications and engagement projects for the AHSN Network
  • Working in the NHS or sector such as public health and social care
  • Strong commitment to continuing professional development
  • Regularly advising / presenting to senior leadership teams (Executive / Board level)

Any attachments will be accessible after you click to apply.


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