Head of Public Relations and Digital

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
South Shields
£50,952 to £57,349 a year
Closing date
30 Nov 2023

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Other Health Profession
Band 8A
Contract Type
Full Time
We are looking for an exceptional candidate to join our award-winning communications and engagement team and drive forward delivery of our Communications and Involvement Strategy 2023-26. As Head of Public Relations and Digital you will be responsible for developing the Trusts digital footprint, content creation to grow the STSFT brand and effective management of the Trusts reputation locally, regionally and nationally. The role will also be responsible for establishing a new rolling programme of patient and public involvement activity to ensure the Trust is proactively reaching out to communities and listening to feedback.

Main duties of the job

Overall job purpose / dimensions:
  • Building our brand and reputation through regular proactive PR, storytelling and content creation.
  • Rolling programme of patient / public involvement activity and perceptions research.
  • Developing the Trust website as the digital front door for patients.
  • Developing a social media and digital content strategy including Trust podcast.
  • Thinking about the customer journey to maximise touch points and in particular the use of digital assets / TV screens across the Trust to effectively communicate.
  • Developing and supporting public facing campaigns / regional initiatives and leading on Trust recruitment campaigns.
  • Maintaining a positive reputation for STSFT through effective media management, issues / crisis handing, emergency preparedness and timely briefing on any significant or breaking issues.
  • Overseeing the Trusts graphic design service and proactive management of the STSFT brand in line with NHS Identity Guidelines.
  • Being a positive advocate for the Trusts healthy literacy agenda and ensuring all comms outputs meet reading the local reading age.
  • Oversight of communications support for the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) Provider Collaborative.
  • Deputising for the Director of Communications as required.

About us

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One Team One Trust - There are many reasons to work at our Trust. From our commitment to putting people first to our accessible services and award winning teams. We have a passion for research, innovation and tackling inequalities. We are committed to respect, fairness and civility and promote a compassionate, caring and positive culture / working environment.

We welcome all applications irrespective of peoples race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion/belief, age, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity and in particular those from under- represented groups. Looking after our workforces health and wellbeing is a priority for STSFT. We also provide access to high quality education, training, career progression and support. Flexible working is supported via the Trust's Flexible Working Policy.

The Trust employs around 8,300 people and provides a range of hospital services to a local community of around 430,000 residents. We also provide a range of more specialised services outside this area, in some cases to a population as great as 860,000. We offer our staff outstanding benefits - Fitness Centre (SRH), libraries at both hospital sites, chaplaincy support and access to a Childcare Co-ordinator to help staff with childcare arrangements.

Job description

Job responsibilities

The Head of Public Relations and Digital will work alongside the Head of Internal Communications and Engagement to effectively manage workflow and priorities across our award-winning communications and engagement team. Reporting directly to the Director of Communications and Involvement, this role is primarily focussed on delivery of the external communications and engagement elements of the Trusts new Communications and Involvement Strategy 2023-26. Key responsibilities include developing the Trusts digital footprint, content creation to grow the STSFT brand and effective management of the Trusts reputation locally, regionally and nationally. The role will also be responsible for establishing a new rolling programme of patient and public involvement activity to ensure the Trust is proactively reaching out to communities and listening to feedback.


Person Specification



  • High level first degree in public relations / digital marketing / communications or other suitable subject area or equivalent relevant experience
  • Postgraduate qualification (Level 7 masters) in suitable subject area or working towards
  • Appropriate membership of professional body such as the CIPR or CIM and evidence of continuous professional development


  • Evidence of leadership training

Skills and Knowledge


  • Extensive knowledge of PR and marketing theory and models / evidence of implementing strategic approaches
  • Excellent oral, written and presentational communication skills
  • Excellent people management and leadership skills, motivating people to live up to the Trust values and succeed
  • Good interpersonal and facilitation skills, strong personal presence and effective team leader and player
  • Emotional resilience, ability to work to demanding timetables and handle complexity and ambiguity
  • Strong analytical and organisational skills and an ability to
  • conceptualise, influence and persuade
  • Evidence of ability to build trust and strong working relationships with key stakeholders
  • Able to present complex information to a range of audiences including public engagement events
  • Advanced skills in using digital and social media and content management systems
  • Knowledge of effective measurement techniques in order to provide detailed insight and evaluation of communications and engagement activities
  • High level communication skills required. This includes the interpersonal and diplomacy skills necessary to communicate sensitive and/or contentious information, and the persuasion and negotiation skills required to secure the cooperation of others
  • Experience of managing people and multiple projects in a complex environment


  • Proactive in identifying opportunities for strategic collaborative working

Personal Attributes


  • Confident and positive approach to work
  • Outgoing, facilitating and approachable
  • Acts as a role model for best practice and leads, supports and develops members of the communications and engagement team
  • Self-aware with excellent leadership and management skills and a high degree of emotional intelligence
  • Proven team worker with ability to motivate and engage with others
  • Resilient and able to work under pressure to meet demandingdeadlines and handle complexity and ambiguity
  • Excellent self-awareness and high degree of emotional intelligence to provide leadership, guidance and support
  • Ability to prioritise workload of a team and use initiative to progress projects and overcome challenges
  • Highly motivated, tenacious, inspiring, decisive and confident, with a high degree of integrity and the ability to form sound interpersonal relationships
  • Strong commitment to the values of the trust, to public service and democratic processes
  • Prepared to be flexible to meet the requirements of the post, including taking an active role as required, outside normal office hours


  • Excellent existing relationships with local media and other key stakeholders
  • Strong track record of building excellent relationships with partners



  • Extensive experience working in a senior role within a large-scale, multi-site communications function including stakeholder engagement
  • Successful track record of leading creative PR and digital campaigns and using social media to engage with key audiences and influence behaviours / opinions
  • Extensive experience of successful media relations including confident and appropriate handling on contentious / high profile issues and appropriate emergency preparedness
  • Advising on media strategy and ensuring that the Trusts views are appropriately represented at all times, by overseeing press releases, interviews, public engagement and consultation activities, statements and briefings
  • Experienced in producing various materials, including website and social content, briefing documents, corporate information, infographics, animations and other resources as required
  • Excellent proof reading skills / quality control with a track record for attention to detail and meeting all accessibility requirements, NHS brand guidelines and legislative requirements


  • Good political knowledge / awareness
  • Good understanding of NHS structures, national policy direction and current issues

Physical Skills


  • Willing and able to attend events / respond to issues outside of normal working hours as required
  • Requires ability to drive to multiple locations across South Tyneside, Sunderland and part of North and East Durham.
  • Experience of effectively managing departmental budgets


  • Full clean driving License and own car

Employer details

Employer name

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust


South Tyneside District Hospital

Harton Lane

South Shields

Tyne And Wear

NE34 0PL

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