So, you want my job? Director of comms, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Claire Riley's role as director of communications & corporate affairs at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust?

So, you want my job? Director of comms, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Claire Riley

Director of communications and corporate affairs – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Starting salary/salary band for the job?
No standard, it depends on the organisation, your role and position within it and the breadth of the role.

What qualifications do you need?
I have a business, management and economics degree, teaching certificate, post graduate diploma in marketing and have completed leadership training at Cranfield and Harvard. Some people have MAs or MBAs, some don’t.

Also see: So, you want my job? Assistant director of communication, NHS Blood & Transplant

What level of experience do you need?
At least ten years' experience needed at a high level within communications, PR, online media, marketing and engagement; you need to be able to demonstrate a wide range of skills across all areas. You should be an experienced manager and have a proven track record in leading high performing teams, creating and driving strategic vision and supporting people to implement this, and delivering successful projects. Board experience is also helpful.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
No not necessary. I joined the NHS from private sector and within the roles we fulfil we need to be able to work across all sectors.

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
The NHS is a large, complex organisation and because of this you can be working on a number of very different projects at the same time. From campaigns linked to patient safety, relationship development with stakeholders and potential partnerships, ministerial briefings, fundraising for charities, arts projects across hospital sites, through to handling media and managing teams, the diversity of what you do day in day out changes. It is never dull!

What is the best part of the job?
The people. It is an absolute privilege to work with one of the best in-house teams, supporting the work of staff across the organisation and engaging with patients and local communities – it is humbling how everyone loves and respects the NHS and loves to support local services. I am extremely proud to be able to say I work for the NHS.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
Smoking is the greatest contributor to premature death and disease across Northumberland. It is estimated that up to half the difference in life expectancy between the most and least affluent groups is associated with smoking.

If you get an interview, do say?
How you understand the organisation, its vision and the job that they have advertised. You must do your homework on the organisation.

If you get an interview, don’t say?
I prefer not to work in an office on a Friday!

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
Any type of senior communications and marketing role within any type of organisation, director of strategy roles, etc. You may want to also consider non-executive director positions.

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

Read next: So, you want my job? Head of corporate communications, British Transport Police

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