NHS Digital exchange programme for comms professionals returns

NHS Digital's comms team has relaunched its Shadow Me exchange programme in response to increased demand.

NHS Digital has launched a campaign to promote the Shadow Me job swap scheme
NHS Digital has launched a campaign to promote the Shadow Me job swap scheme

Now in its second year, the job-swap scheme enables comms professionals to spend a day sharing knowledge and insight at one another's organisations.

It was launched in May 2018, when it resulted in 45 exchanges taking place. There have been more than 170 applications for the latest phase of the programme. Opened to applicants this month, it will enable dozens of comms professionals to swap jobs next year.

People taking part in the 2019-20 programme will either be offered the opportunity to have a dedicated shadowing day, or to be part of a group looking at various comms specialties.

The one-day sessions will take place between January and March 2020.

Mutually beneficial

Marc Silverside, associate director of comms at NHS Digital, commented: "This is a fantastic opportunity to compare notes with each other, share knowledge and our approaches to common communications challenges.

"The participants last year came from a really diverse pool, from industry to the police force and from charities to energy regulators. We encourage comms professionals from all areas to apply as we all have something to learn from each other."

The programme is part of a wider comms improvement plan by NHS Digital designed to develop relationships with external organisations.


Matt Bacon, NHS Digital's director of comms, told PRWeek: "The initiative was so successful last year that two shadowers volunteered to be seconded to us on an ongoing basis."

He added: "We have built mutually beneficial relationships across public and private sectors and what we learned has inspired us to greater creativity and better outcomes."

One of those who took part last year is Holly Daniels, head of transformation engagement at the Care Quality Commission.

"It opened up my eyes to different ways of working and helped me to connect with people working on similar challenges," she said.

Another past participant, James McCollum, associate director at Barley Communications, commented: "This is a fantastic initiative that I would recommend to all comms professionals. It will broaden your horizons, understanding and experience."

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