The vacancy, which comes with a £120,000-a-year salary, follows the announcement last month that the incumbent, Sam Lister, will move to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the summer.
The candidate does not need a background in health and social care but will need to demonstrate a track record of managing comms in a high profile arena, as well as an ability to disseminate key messages, according to the job specification pack prepared by the department and Veredus, the executive search firm handling the appointment.
The new director of comms will work closely with the department’s permanent secretary, Chris Wormald, as well as Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, and the rest of the ministerial team.
In addition to managing comms for the department, the new director will also be responsible for strategy and budgets across 20 related agencies.
Among the comms challenges the new director will face will be the controversial drive towards the ‘seven-day NHS’, which has seen junior doctors clash repeatedly with the Health Secretary and strike on three occasions this year, and plans to integrate health and social care services by 2020.
The role is available either full time, part time or on a job-share basis and applicants with a disability can opt to receive a guaranteed interview under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme.