So, you want my job? Head of PR at Bristol City Council

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you want Tim Borrett's job as head of public relations, consultation and engagement at Bristol City Council?

Would you dress up as a Womble for your job? Tim Borrett has done that and more
Would you dress up as a Womble for your job? Tim Borrett has done that and more

Name:
Tim Borrett

Job:
Head of public relations, consultation and engagement

Starting salary/salary band for the job?
£59k – £66k

What qualifications do you need?
An undergrad degree or professional diploma in PR (or something closely related), or failing that plenty of relevant professional experience. Lashings of common sense and good humour. The ability to say your job title without running out of breath.

What level of experience do you need?
You need to have experience providing professional PR advice directly to the most senior level of a large, complex organisation. We keep the phrasing quite open to interpretation so as not to put people off, but essentially a good few years under your belt and the ability to give credible advice.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
It's really useful to have but not absolutely essential. You need to know enough to have a good sense of what you don't know and when to ask. We often welcome fresh eyes and new approaches, so it's not a case of being a public sector lifer and doing what you've always done. You do need to be really switched on to the most important things, like safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
Volume is the main one – you get tons and tons of "stuff" sent your way, some of which is definitely "your job", some of which maybe less so. It's also hugely unpredictable. When I left a similar job somewhere else my director described it as "Like riding a unicycle on a high wire, whilst spinning several plates, as people hurl rotten fruit at you." I'm far less bleak about it than that, but once in a while I can identify with the sentiment.

What is the best part of the job?
It's genuinely nice to work with people who are basically in it for the public good and trying to make life better. There’s a sense of camaraderie and team spirit which keeps you going. Sometimes you get to do new things ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous – in public sector comms I've dressed as a Womble, run in the Olympic Torch relay and had tea with a prime minister. Not all at once I hasten to add.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
We own over 400,000 bones. You can do your own "skeletons in the closet" gag.

If you get an interview, do say?
"Here's an example of me successfully delivering comms work with actual proven outcomes."

If you get an interview, don’t say?
"I really want to create a buzz about [insert topic]."

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
Diplomat. Juggler. Email server.

Please note: Interviewees for 'So, you want my job' are not leaving their current role.


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