So, you want my job? Press officer at the Charity Commission for England and Wales

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Kate Bell's job as press officer at the Charity Commission for England and Wales?

Almost all of us have benefited from the services of a charity, says Kate Bell
Almost all of us have benefited from the services of a charity, says Kate Bell
Name:
Kate Bell

Job:
Press officer at the Charity Commission for England and Wales. 

Starting salary/salary band for the job?
£30-36k, including a London weighting allowance and a skills allowance. 

What qualifications do you need?
I have a degree in a modern languages but it’s also about being able to show that you have various competencies such as the ability to influence others, apply insight to the role, evaluate the impact of communications, and work flexibly and effectively under pressure and manage multiple deadlines. 

What level of experience do you need?
Some experience representing an organisation in a public-facing role is essential, and previous experience in a press office, news environment or other role working directly with the media is ideal. For example, I worked at a corporate PR agency for a couple of years before starting in this role. Broader communications experience such as speech writing or social media is also a plus.  

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
I found that because this was my first public sector role, my fresh perspective on how things were typically done at the Charity Commission and within the civil service was valued. However, experience working for another regulator or a charity would bring the benefit of understanding the context and environment we work in and the specific issues a regulatory body and the charitable sector face.  

What are the main day-to-day challenges? 
Charities play a vital role in our society and the majority are well-run and do incredible work. But the sector has faced some difficulties over the last few years, such as fundraising scandals, and we know that the public’s trust and confidence in charities has fallen slightly as a result. It can be tricky communicating that we are an effective regulator that does root out bad practice in charities, in a way that upholds rather than undermines the public’s faith in charities. 

What is the best part of the job?
The sheer range and diversity of issues that come up in our work and media interest. There are 167,000 charities on our register, and we can be asked anything about any of them. We deal with incredibly serious issues such as fraud, extremism and safeguarding, but also with disputes about land, and broader issues such as crowdfunding or encouraging people to think about becoming a charity trustee. Also, working with a dedicated, driven and supportive team, in case they’re reading this!

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
That 94 per cent of the public or their close family or friends have benefited from the services of a charity, although this is often underestimated, as people often don’t understand how broad the charity sector is. We often think of charities as just the large household names or small locally run charities, but art galleries, youth clubs, hospices, public schools, churches, synagogues and mosques are all often charities too. It’s rewarding working in an area that directly affects the lives of so many of us.  

If you get an interview, do say?
I’m a self-starter, calm under pressure, and am keen to generate new creative comms ideas.

If you get an interview, don’t say?
I like quiet Friday afternoons, as they are few and far between in our press office! 

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
A professional juggler or a plate spinner.

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



...or perhaps this: So, you want my job? Comms officer at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency


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