So, you want my job? News manager at London Fire Brigade

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Vicky Hardman's job as news manager at London Fire Brigade?

Vicky Hardman: news manager, London Fire Brigade
Vicky Hardman: news manager, London Fire Brigade

Vicky Hardman.

News manager, London Fire Brigade.

Starting salary/salary band for the job?
£48,556 - £56,558.

What qualifications do you need?
Having a degree is desirable and the willingness to learn as you go.

What level of experience do you need?
At least five years communications, press, crisis management and line management experience.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
Being politically aware is an advantage, and, in particular, it's useful to have a working knowledge of how local and national government works as this determines our funding, governance and industrial relations.

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
Balancing the reactive with the proactive. If an automatic fire alarm goes off somewhere high profile like the Shard, we field press calls from all the national media and have got a matter of minutes to manage the story on social media to prevent panic and get out crucial safety information. Fires and fire deaths are at their lowest level for 20 years and that's largely down to firefighters' community prevention work that we support too. It's really important to keep reminding people about lifesaving facts, such as smoking is still one of leading causes of fire deaths in the home.

What is the best part of the job?
Pace and variety. The Brigade is changing in tandem with London's needs, whether helping to warn and inform during the recent Westminster terror attack or preventing domestic violence related arsons with fireproof letter boxes, and so our comms challenges are always changing too.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
The number of calls to cut people out of penis rings went up after the release of the first 50 Shades film but went down again partly thanks to our award winning campaign '50 Shades of Red'.

If you get an interview, do say?
Yes, I am happy to work nights as part of the press office on call rota.

If you get an interview, don’t say?
Fireman. It's an antiquated term that assumes women can't be firefighters too. There are over 300 women firefighters in London and we want to encourage even more women to consider firefighting as a career.

If you're good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
I know a former journalist and a press officer (both women) who became firefighters so if you are looking for a radical career change with lots of options to specialise in different types of rescue and prevention work take a look at our website. For dedicated pen pushers like myself, you might also consider comms roles with other blue light partners such as London's air ambulance or the police.

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

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