Communications and corporate affairs
Communications and corporate affairs management concerns promoting and responding to queries about your organisation.
As a manager in communications and corporate affairs, you’ll take a leading role in how your organisation interacts with its community and how it communicates with patients, staff and other interested groups, such as the media and local politicians.
Each organisation delivering healthcare has a communications lead to ensure that the organisation communicates effectively. Larger organisations are likely to have a team of communications professionals.
With more than 1000 organisations delivering NHS healthcare in England alone, there are over 1,000 communicators in the NHS. A proportion of these will hold a post with a managerial responsibility.
NHS organisations have different structures and communications teams are often departments in their own right, with a communications director on the board. In other organisations communications may sit alongside other functions such as patient and public involvement, or within the corporate affairs department.
All communicators have a role in making information about their organisation accessible to patients, staff and the public, helping ensure that the service is accountable, and engaging these groups in the reforms that are taking place in the NHS and social care.
Management roles in communications and corporate affairs will vary, depending upon the trust/employer. Roles and responsibilities will also differ depending on seniority, and whether you work alone or within a team of other communications professionals.
Specific responsibilities could include:
- managing the reputation of the organisation
- developing, implementing and evaluating communications strategies
- ensuring effective two-way internal communications
- taking the lead on media handling, proactively placing good news stories, dealing with enquiries and producing media releases
- developing links with stakeholders such as local councils
- planning proactive communications
- leading public relations, including customer services
- playing a key role in issue management and planning
- taking editorial responsibility for the organisation's website, and other corporate communications tools
- ensuring that other health organisations are kept fully briefed on developments, plans and any incidents in their organisation
- commissioning printing/advertising/surveys
- producing high quality patient information
- managing the NHS corporate identity and taking local responsibility for the NHS brand
- assisting in engaging patients and local communities with developments in their health services
- advising senior colleagues on strategic communications and related issues
- engaging in health promotion campaigns.
Want to learn more?
- Find out more about the entry requirements, skills and interests required to enter a career in communications and corporate affairs management
- Find out more about the training you’ll receive for a career in communications and corporate affairs management
Pay and conditions
Expand / collapse
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers.
Your career in communications and corporate affairs in the NHS could start at bands 3 or 4 working as an assistant or officer. For roles in management, you’d typically start at Agenda for Change Band 6 or 7, with the most senior roles rising to Band 9 for example.
Staff in the NHS will usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week. They may work a shift pattern.
Terms and conditions of service can vary for employers outside the NHS.
Where the role can lead
Expand / collapse
With further training and/or experience, you may be able to develop your career further and apply for more senior managerial roles. Progression for those with ability is typically via operational management in a large hospital.
Relocation for promotion is common. More diverse routes in communications and corporate affairs management are now opening up, for example, jointly-funded posts between health and local authorities.
Job market and vacancies
Expand / collapse
NHS communicators work across all NHS organisations including NHS acute trusts, NHS ambulance trusts, NHS mental health trusts, clinical commissioning groups, commissioning support units and special health authorities. As health and social care services increasingly work together, some communications roles are developing to work across both NHS organisations and local authorities.
Finding and applying for jobs
When you’re looking for managerial jobs or apprenticeship vacancies, there are a number of sources you can use, depending on the type of and level of work you’re seeking.
Check vacancies carefully to be sure you can meet the requirements of the person specification before applying and to find out what the application process is. You may need to apply online or send a C.V. for example.
Key sources relevant to vacancies in the health sector:
- vacancies in organisations delivering NHS healthcare can be found on the NHS Jobs website
- opportunities in the Civil Service can be found on the Civil Service Jobs website
- vacancies in local government can be found on the Local Government Jobs website and the Jobs Go Public website
- vacancies for apprenticeships appear on the Gov.uk website
- vacancies for traineeships appear on the Gov.uk website
As well as these sources, you may find suitable vacancies in the health sector by contacting local employers directly, searching in local newspapers and by using the Universal Jobmatch tool.
Volunteering is an excellent way of gaining experience (especially if you don’t have enough for a specific paid job you’re interested in) and also seeing whether you’re suited to a particular type of work. It’s also a great way to boost your confidence and you can give something back to the community!
Expand / collapse
For further information about a career in communications and corporate affairs management, please contact