A chance to handle one of the biggest news agendas in Government
Published: 29 May 2014 By Antje Derks
The Department of Work and Pensions Communications Chief, Richard Caseby, is seeking to hire a new Head of News amidst a wider restructuring programme.
The department is introducing the biggest changes to the UK’s welfare system in sixty years. The Head of News will be responsible for the news management of some of the highest profile and most important policies being delivered by the Government, affecting 20 million people.
Caseby recently recruited Ben Wilkinson from the Ministry of Defence as head of the pensions press desk and Niken Wresniwiro from the Cabinet Office to lead the newly-formed press office horizon scanning unit. The current Head of News, Jon Reed, is leaving to join the BBC.
"The DWP runs one of the busiest and most professional press offices in Whitehall. It is right on the frontline of change handling a hugely complex brief," said Caseby.
The Department of Work and Pensions continues to lead the domestic news agenda – its policies tend to dominate headlines and are debated on all media platforms. The Head of News will be pivotal in ensuring that the Department’s voice is heard wherever those discussions occur.
“With such a packed agenda of welfare reform, it is vital for us to anticipate news in a much more structured way - for example, the new horizon scanning role strengthens our ability to set the agenda rather than follow it," said Caseby.
According to Gorkana's statistics, the most prolific message within the 'welfare reform’ media discussion in a single month this year was "our welfare reforms will ensure that the system is fairer for the people that use it and the taxpayer that funds it". The message was conveyed in 118 pieces, generating 211,607,708 impacts.
The Head of News will be led and supported by Richard Caseby and will help to inform policy, advise Ministers and brief the media. The role demands an ability to build compelling PR campaigns to support department policies including: Universal Credit, the Benefits Cap, reforms to disability benefits and the introduction of the Single Tier Pension and Auto Enrolment Scheme.
“We're delivering policies which affect 20m people and that makes the DWP an exciting and influential place to work," said Caseby.
In order to succeed, the ideal candidate must be an experienced communications professional as well as a strong leader and manager. Exceptional news sense and influencing skills are essential as is the ability to navigate Whitehall, Westminster and all the media. This is a high-pressure job for someone who can drive a huge news agenda and cope with tight deadlines.
As well as a Head of News, The DWP is also planning to recruit a Head of Digital Media and Social Media Manager, both based in London. It is understood that the DWP Communications directorate is running a voluntary exit scheme which has eased a path for the restructure and new hires.
Caseby, a former Managing Editor of The Sunday Times and The Sun, joined the DWP earlier this year. As a senior News International executive, he recruited the team that built The Sunday Times award-winning iPad app in 2010 and managed all the company's legal submissions to the Leveson Inquiry.
This is one of the toughest but most rewarding roles in Whitehall. If you believe you meet the criteria, please contact: Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org , tel 020 3267 5085, for further information about the Head of News position.