So, you want my job? Senior media officer for select committees at the House of Commons

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Nicholas Davies' job as senior media and comms officer for select committees at the House of Commons?

Do you know the difference between Parliament and the Government? Better swot up, says Nicholas Davies
Do you know the difference between Parliament and the Government? Better swot up, says Nicholas Davies
Nicholas Davies
Senior Media and Communications Officer for select committees at the House of Commons (currently press officer for the Brexit Committee).
Starting salary/salary band for the job? 
£36-42,000 PA + £1,500 out of hours allowance
What qualifications do you need?
Experience is more important than a particular qualification, although having a degree is essential. I’ve actually gained qualifications working here. The House of Commons is committed as an employer to giving staff the opportunity to realise their potential and to that end it runs a personal development fund for staff to further their own education. I applied and the House paid part of my fees to study part-time for an MSc in Media and Communications at LSE. 

What level of experience do you need?
Several years working in a media or communications role is a good start. 

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
Not necessarily. I actually came into the job after working as a press officer on Friends of the Earth’s ‘Big Ask’ campaign that led to the 2008 Climate Change Act. My current crop of colleagues have a wealth of PR backgrounds. Some from charities and pressure groups like me; others from public sector comms jobs, in the army and NHS. And a few who have traded in their press cards for commons passes, leaving newspapers and the BBC behind. 

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
The Commons committee press office is one of the busiest in the country. Just in the last few months my colleagues and I have been behind headlines about ‘workhouse conditions’ at Sports Direct, polluting plastic microbeads in cosmetic products, the BHS pensions’ scandal, and the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK. So, the biggest day-to-day challenge is keeping on top of all the enquiries and bids we receive. You have to remember to focus on your proactive agenda and not get too distracted by the constant enquiries and ringing phones.

What is the best part of the job?
Working at the Commons feels like you’re at the centre of national life. Whatever you think about Britain’s current direction, it’s hard to deny that democracy in the UK is incredibly vibrant right now. I feel privileged to have a ringside seat.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
The total number of women ever elected to be MPs in the UK only just equals the total number of men currently in the commons. That’s a fact I hope future generations will look back on as unusual.
If you get an interview, do say?
I can explain the difference between Parliament and the Government. 

If you get an interview, don’t say?
I’ve always wanted to work for the Government.  

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
Writing scripts for The Thick of It. 

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