DHSC creates ‘second’ comms director role

Recruitment campaign offers up to £120k for successful applicant
DHSC's Victoria Street headquarters. Photo: Google Maps

By Jim Dunton

01 Jun 2023

The Department of Health and Social Care is adding a second director of communications to its senior leadership team and offering up to £120,000 a year to the successful candidate.

Rachel Carr has served as DHSC’s comms director since December 2017. In its just-launched recruitment campaign, the department says the new “second” director will work alongside her “to provide resilience in the team and ensure there is a senior focus on news and ministerial communications at all times”.

The level of senior focus DHSC is seeking “has been required during and subsequent to” its work on the pandemic, it adds.

The recruitment campaign does not refer to to the Covid Inquiry, which is due to explore the UK's handling of the pandemic and its impact. However, evidence sessions – expected to run until 2026 – will add to DHSC’s media workload.

The new second comms director will report directly to DHSC second permanent secretary Shona Dunn and will initially be employed on a two-year fixed-term contract, the job advert says.

DHSC’s candidate pack for the role says that while the comms director will be based principally in London, travel to other locations will be required. It notes that DHSC has had a hybrid-working system since November that requires staff to attend the office for at least eight days a month.

The successful candidate will not necessarily need a background in health and social care, but must have a proven track record of successful comms management in “high profile” arenas and the ability to get key messages across, wrote second permanent secretary Shona Dunn.

“Healthcare is always newsworthy and always at the heart of political debate,” she said.

“Because it matters to so many people, making changes in health and care requires the highest level of communication skills, not only to reach out to the 1.3 million who work in the NHS, but also to the 56 million who at some point in their lives will rely on its services.”

Applications close on 18 June.

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