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Head of Communications and Engagement - Transformation

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
£50,952 to £57,349 a year pa
Closing date
26 Sep 2023

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Other Health Profession
Band 8A
Contract Type
Full Time
Our Head of Communications and Engagement for our transformation programmes leads, develops, implements and evaluates effective, high quality engagement and communications plans and activities in support of our organisational objectives, corporate priorities and engagement and communications strategy.

The role will sit in the corporate communications team and will be professionally supported by and accountable to the Associate Director of Communications and Partnerships.

The role will be an integral part of the programme team for our building a brighter future programme (BBF) which is primarily focused on the delivery of the new hospital programme by the end of the decade and the delivery of a new electronic patient record (EPR) which will go live in 2025. In additional, the role will also lead the communication and engagement requirements associated with wider capital programmes and future facing service delivery.

They will deputise for the Associate Director of Communications and Partnerships as necessary and provide cross-cover for the corporate Head of Communications and Engagement to ensure robust, positive and professional operational leadership to the communications and partnerships team.

Interviews to be held Friday 29th September 2023

Main duties of the job

  • To develop and implement a comprehensive strategic approach to engagement and communications with staff, patients, carers, Governors, members, strategic partners and key stakeholders at a corporate, programme and project level, in line with organisational objectives and taking account of both local and national context with regard to policy and political developments
  • To prioritise, plan and deliver high quality engagement and communication activity to support the delivery of our key transformation programmes
  • To advise the Associate Director of Communications and Partnerships and the relevant transformation programme teams on methods to improve engagement and communication with staff, patients, carers, Governors, members, strategic partners and key stakeholders as well as local and national government and the media
  • To oversee the day-to-day planning and operational delivery of a high-quality communications and engagement programme
  • To lead on reputation management and crisis management communications in relation to our key transformation programmes, working under the guidance of the Associate Director of Communications and Partnerships

About us

Why Work With Us

We are communications and partnerships. We are an expert resource for our colleagues and partners and provide specialist advice on communications and engagement. We are custodians of our organisation's reputation. We are the branding guardians. We set a standard.

We amplify people's voices. We question. We challenge. We will always ask why. We are curious. We are adaptable. We are always learning.

We show and tell how we are supporting our people and our communities to live well.

We explain the why, what and the how - why we are here, what is happening, how it will make a difference. We help create a shared understanding of our present and our future.

We build trust and confidence by supporting meaningful conversations about our work, our services and what matters to our people. We help people understand what information, changes and developments will mean for them. We talk simply, honestly and openly about our work, our challenges and our opportunities.

We celebrate our people and their successes. We work hard to share our colleagues' learning so others can benefit from their experiences. We find creative ways to share our people's stories and seek and listen to their views.

Our team values are really important to us. We are inclusive. We are kind. We are passionate.

Job description

Job responsibilities

Communication and working relationships
  • To develop effective working relationships within the communications and partnerships team and, in planned and unplanned absence of the Head of Communications and Engagement, provide cross cover to lead and the team
  • To build positive relationships with colleagues at all levels across a complex and geographically-dispersed organisation
  • To build positive relationships with our Council of Governors and to advise and support the Membership Committee
  • To build and maintain effective relationships with engagement and communications leads from a wide variety of system and partner organisations, ensuring clear and effective channels of communications
  • To actively build and maintain networks and relationships with community groups, VCSE organisations and stakeholders across Torbay and South Devon and the Devon Integrated Care System
  • To work in partnership with other organisations to manage complex, multi-agency communications and engagement in relation to our key transformation programmes and where appropriate establish joint working protocols
  • To work alongside the Associate Director of Communications and Partnerships to provide reputation management advice and advice for media handling to team members, senior leaders and others within the organisation
  • To monitor political activity in relation to the new hospital programme, electronic patient record programme and other key transformation programmes, including delivering written and verbal briefings on key issues, developing political handling plans as required
  • To liaise with external contractors such as design agencies and media contacts as required to effectively deliver products and projects in relation to our key transformation programmes

Planning and organisation
  • To develop and write engagement and communications plans for our key transformation programmes and related areas of work including allocation of resources and identification of budget requirements
  • To prioritise, plan and allocate resources for the delivery of key engagement and communications activities for our key transformation programmes
  • To deliver an annual calendar and schedule of strategic engagement and communications activities, ensuring the business requirements of our key transformation programmes are met, identifying interdependencies across programmes and functions, resource requirements and building in contingency and adjustments as necessary
  • To develop key message sets for our key transformation programmes and forward plan engagement and communications activity to deliver the right information at the right time to key audiences
  • To manage the planning and preparation of events and visits in relation to the transformation programme with the support, as needed, of the corporate office and the communications and partnerships team
  • To proactively seek to collaborate with other partners in the Devon Integrated Care System to achieve synergies in relation to particular engagement activities and communications campaigns and initiatives

Analytical and judgement
  • To analyse and interpret data in order to develop and deliver action plans and improvements. You will use this to regularly review our approach and make recommendations for change where necessary
  • To regularly evaluate your engagement and communications programmes and embed learning and good practice across the wider communications team
  • To receive and provide highly complex and sensitive information and apply a keen understanding of both local and national politics and their impact
  • To work with the Associate Director of Communications and Partnerships to identify, record and manage risks and issues in relation to engagement, communications and corporate reputation
  • To review and sign off new hospital programme and electronic patient record programme Freedom of Information Act requests, ensuring accurate and high-quality responses
  • To provide advice and guidance on Freedom of Information Act requests in relation to the new hospital programme and the electronic patient record programme

Responsibility and accountability
  • To take responsibility for your ongoing personal and professional development
  • To work independently and autonomously, without supervision and with the ability to act independently and on own initiative, exhibiting sound judgement
  • To role model behaviours that exemplify our people promise and encourage similar behaviours in colleagues
  • To show a commitment to learning, self-reflection, appraisal and development and support direct reports to do so
  • To be curious about the work going on across the organisation and the Devon system and to help build a shared consciousness of our reality, our challenges and our opportunities
  • To operate in an environment of significant complexity and ambiguity, taking time to understand the context of our operating environment and demonstrating good judgement (including seeking counsel from others when needed) and offering support and guidance to others seeking advice

Policy and service responsibility
  • To review, update and where applicable devise policies for engagement and communications including the media policy, social media policy and VIP visits policy
  • To propose changes to own function, making recommendations for service delivery

Responsibility for finance, equipment and other resources
  • To act in a way that is compliant with Standing Orders and Standing Financial Instructions in the discharge of budget management responsibilities and monitor expenditure on a regular basis, ensuring that appropriate documentation is available for scrutiny
  • To identify products, equipment, services and facilities for assigned activities, placing orders and signing invoices as appropriate

Responsibility for patients and client care
  • To develop communications handling plans for sensitive media issues in relation to the new hospital programme and the electronic patient record programme

Responsibility for supervision, leadership and management
  • To line manage and supervise the communications and engagement officers working on our transformation programmes
  • To recruit, line manage and supervise agency staff as required
  • To manage contracts with agencies including design agencies
  • To lead the development of the team, ensuring all policies and procedures are adhered to and that each member of the teams progressional development is supported

Information technology and administrative duties
  • To draft detailed reports summarising status on issues in relation to the new hospital programme and electronic patient record programme, appraising outcomes and providing progress reports to the Board and relevant Board sub-committees
  • To collate as required a range of information and lead appropriate analysis to support the development of robust business cases for our new hospital programme and electronic patient record

Responsibility for research and development
  • To devise and implement surveys to seek views from staff, patients, carers, the public and stakeholders as needed in relation to our key transformation programmes
  • To maintain an up to date knowledge of best practice in engagement and communications (including trends, techniques and technologies) and benchmark our work against industry leaders
  • To audit engagement and communications tools and methods on a regular basis and devise and implement action plans to make improvements as identified
  • To attend education, training and development opportunities relevant to engagement and communications, relevant to post and team

Person Specification

Essential and desirable


  • Specialist knowledge of communications, public relations, journalism, engagement and marketing communications techniques, approaches, procedures, health service communications, project management acquired through training to relevant degree level or equivalent
  • Training and /or experience in communications field to Master's level equivalent
  • Evidence of continuing professional development
  • Experience of working at an NHS senior manager level and leading a team, including deputising where required to provide increased strategic capacity and resilience in the team
  • Ability to deal with complex facts or situations requiring analysis, interpretation and comparison of options and make decisions where opinions differ or there is no obvious solution
  • Ability to build support and consensus around decision and effectively manage the expectations of different stakeholders
  • Ability to make decisions autonomously, when required, on difficult issues, working to tight and often changing timescales
  • Ability to communicate effectively - to speak confidently, persuasively and articulately and write effectively for a range of audiences on a range of issues
  • Previously responsible for a budget, involved in budget setting and working knowledge of financial processes
  • Experience of working collaboratively with multiple organisations and stakeholders
  • Experience of delivering projects or events
  • Experience of working in a politically sensitive environment
  • Experience of considering equality issues for all programme or policy changes
  • Any attachments will be accessible after you click to apply.


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