Head of Engagement and Communications


£37,789 – £41,988 a year
Interview Date: 15th April 2019

About the role

The Head of Engagement and Communications will be part of BGS’s Communications and Engagement management team, within the Communications and Engagement Directorate. The role reports to the Director of Communications and External Affairs and works alongside the Senior Digital Communications Manager.

The purpose of the Communications, Education and Public Engagement team is to demonstrate the value and impact of BGS capability and science. Promoting BGS’s profile and build awareness of BGS’s role in the environmental sciences and demonstrate its value to the educational research, science and business communities, Government and public stakeholders, in line with BGS’s corporate strategy.

The Communications and Engagement team is responsible for maintaining the reputation of BGS through corporate communications and disseminating the findings and impacts from our research, our overseas development work and the geoscientific research conducted with industry, academia and the public.

The Head of Engagement and Communications will lead external and internal communications and public engagement/outreach activity, focusing specifically on delivery of corporate communications and specific campaigns. A key role will be to ensure collaborative cross-function working and that a consistent clear message is received by audiences about our work and that communities, and other key stakeholders can participate within the development of our science and their objectives.

Responsibilities of this post include:

  • to develop a programme of externally focussed communication campaigns in support of BGS’s priority activities and promote BGS’s reputation through high quality, meaningful campaigns
  • lead the development of a revised brand for BGS with the Director of Communications and External Affairs, working in partnership with key internal and external stakeholders and having responsibility for the management, protection and promotion of the BGS brand
  • lead a change management process using your experience of delivering change communication campaigns in a medium to large organisation
  • to provide advice and guidance on leadership communication methods to our chief scientists and the senior management team
  • to develop an effective internal communications strategy, in partnership with your team
  • to commission communications and educational content (from internal or external sources) that supports the identified campaigns and manage its use with the Senior Communications Manager in the work delivered by the whole Communications and Engagement team, with colleagues across NERC and UKRI
  • champion and implement evaluation across all communications activity to demonstrate the effectiveness of engagements on a very regular basis
  • work with the Director of Communications and External Affairs and the Senior Digital Communications Manager to provide strategic leadership within the wider BGS Communications team. You will also deputise for the Director of Communications and External Affairs, at both internal and external meetings, as and when required
  • line management responsibility for the Communications Managers, the Public Engagement Manager and the Education Officer – as well as providing support and guidance to the wider Communication and Engagement function
  • lead the quality, proactive media output of the organisation and oversee the in-hours and out-of-hours media response system
  • collaborate with and support partner organisations, including research centres and Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) on strategic media issues and in the delivery of their communications activities
  • contribute to BGS’s media training courses and support the on-going provision of high quality media training to BGS staff and the UKRI research community
  • significant travel to other BGS, NERC and UKRI sites will be required in this role.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at www.ukri.org.

The British Geological Survey (BGS), founded in 1835 is part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and is the world’s longest-established national geological survey and the UKs premier centre for earth science information and expertise.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria



  • educated to degree level or equivalent in a relevant Communications discipline and with extensive experience
  • a member of a relevant communications professional body.


  • Prince2 project management qualification.



  • extensive experience in working with the media proactively, at a local and national level
  • demonstrable experience of planning and managing communications strategically
  • strong experience of managing communication/creative agencies and associated budgets
  • experience of managing a team effectively
  • experience of managing a budget and ensuring that communication campaigns and assets deliver best value for money
  • experience of managing and developing improvements in incident/crisis communication methods.


  • public or third sector experience, with an understanding of the research landscape
  • public engagement and educational outreach experience.



  • public relations knowledge and experience, at a national or international level
  • excellent understanding of a broad range of communication disciplines, especially in and across complex subject areas
  • significant knowledge and experience of current public engagement methodologies, as well as leading a strategic programme of work and achieving results.


  • a good knowledge of environmental science
  • familiarity with the Government Communication Service and the Modern Communications Operating Model
  • familiarity with current UK geoscience educational landscape and stakeholders.

Skills and Abilities


  • experience of delivering externally recognised award winning campaigns
  • strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships within BGS, NERC, UKRI, Government and with our key stakeholders
  • ability to model good corporate behaviours and influence others to do the same
  • ability to travel significantly within the UK, with occasional overnight stays
  • proven track record of leading and evaluating communications campaigns across multiple channels.

Personal Qualities


  • confident and self-guiding with the ability to hit the ground running using excellent sector expertise and insight
  • enthusiasm for environmental science/research and the work of BGS, NERC and UKRI.


  • able to demonstrate flexibility in working approach to meet changing business priorities
  • public sector advocate.



  • demonstrates a commitment to your own Continuous Professional Development and that of your staff
  • able to be a member of the media on-call rota.


  • record of successful collaborations with others.

Working hours will be 37 per week excluding lunch breaks. A generous benefits package is also offered, including a company pension scheme, 30 days annual leave plus 10.5 days public and privilege holidays. NERC has an equal opportunities policy and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. People with disabilities and those from ethnic minorities are currently under represented and their applications are particularly welcomed. Guaranteed interview scheme for applicants with disabilities. The British Geological Survey is an Investors in People organisation.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive background and pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process.

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK. At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y.

Only online applications will be accepted and should be submitted in the form of an up-to-date c.v. and covering letter (ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the file name description of each document uploaded), which clearly outlines why you are applying for this post and how you meet the criteria described in this advertisement. Please note that applications submitted without a covering letter, or which fail to address these points, may not be considered further.
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