So, you want my job? Head of external stakeholder comms at HMCTS

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Rob Hack's job as head of external stakeholder comms at Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service?

Physiotherapy skills are not in great demand at HMCTS, confides Rob Hack
Rob Hack

Head of external stakeholder communications, HMCTS

Starting salary/salary band for the job? 
Salary band £41,000 - £69,000

What qualifications do you need?
High on the list of pre-requisites for the role are strong interpersonal skills and the ability to manage often sensitive relationships between the organisation and our stakeholders. Our stakeholders are wide-ranging and include groups such as legal professionals, public users, criminal justice partners, academics and the media. I’m also a qualified physiotherapist but, bizarrely, this has not yet been called into use in the role.

What level of experience do you need?
Experience of leading external comms in a large and complex organisation obviously puts you at an advantage, but the ability to forge strong and lasting relationships, both internally and externally, is really important in this role. It’s vital to make peace with the fact that the working landscape is constantly shifting, usually for reasons outside of your control. It’s therefore important to be resilient, and show a willingness to persevere when ideas, proposals or strategies are changed, meaning your comms approach needs to be flexible right up until the last minute.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
While not essential, it’s certainly beneficial. The inner workings of government can be complicated, so my prior experience of working within comms in the wider Ministry of Justice has stood me in good stead for getting to grips with a programme as vast as HMCTS Reform. 

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
The sheer quantity and variety of activity that is going on in the stakeholder sphere of HMCTS certainly keeps me on my toes. As soon as one priority is ticked off, another looms into view, whether that be running a stakeholder event campaign, understanding why our stakeholders feel the way they do, or delivering responses to public bodies and committees. No two days are the same.

What is the best part of the job?
Looking back at the end of a month and seeing that, slowly but surely, progress is being made. The people aren’t too bad either.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
Judges have never used gavels in the courtrooms of England and Wales. 

If you get an interview, do say?
You recognise that our external stakeholders are integral to the success of the HMCTS Reform programme.

If you get an interview, don’t say?
That we have customers. We work in partnership with and provide a service to lots of different people, public and professionals alike. From victims, witnesses and defendants to solicitors, barristers, the police and judges – we work with them all. We want to provide good customer service – which is about our professionalism and putting people’s needs at the heart of what we do – but it’s not appropriate to try to badge them all as customers. 

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
Taking your skills to the other side of the fence in a private sector organisation public affairs role.

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

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