Head of News - Communications Directorate

London (Central), London (Greater)
circa £80,000
05 Jan 2018
26 Jan 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

This is an exciting opportunity to take on a key leadership role in Defra’s group communications team at a time of significant change.

Reporting to the Group Director of Communications, you will be responsible for leading an integrated press and media team providing high quality advice and media relations support across the Defra Group of organisations.

The successful candidate will work directly to the Secretary of State (Michael Gove), Ministers, the Permanent Secretary and group CEOs. They will provide expert communications advice on the benefits and presentational risks of decisions and policies and use strong political judgement to shape handling for announcements and breaking news. During incidents, you will be able to lead your team to provide an expert crisis communications function. 


The communications challenge across the Defra Group is one of the most complex and exciting opportunities in public sector communications.  You will be joining at a unique time of change as Defra responds to EU exit and goes through a wide-ranging transformation programme, which includes the creation one of the Government’s first group-wide communications team.

This is a challenging role. You will be expected to lead the team in using a range of media channels to deliver a complex policy and operational communications strategy. The work will range from fast-moving incident support during flooding and animal or plant health disease outbreaks, to Defra group policy priorities designed to protect and enhance the environment we are handing on to the next generation, improve animal welfare and shape agricultural and fisheries policies as we leave the EU. This work is vital to the UK economy and society and is global in its reach.

The post-holder will ensure that Defra is able to communicate these priorities effectively and accurately across all relevant media with real impact and showing clear understanding of political and operational considerations.

The post holder will have experience of leading a team of media officers and running a high quality, proactive and reactive media management and news planning service, monitoring news across all platforms on behalf of the department. Responding rapidly to fast-moving events and providing senior cover in an out-of-hours duty rota. 

The role requires strong internal leadership and experience of managing change. They will be responsible for transforming the team into a single proactive cross-group media operation as part of a Defra Group Communications team.