Director of Communications and Engagement

Surrey County Council

Surrey wide

  • Location

    Surrey wide

  • Job type


  • Sector

    Local Government

  • Salary/Remuneration


  • Job ref


  • Expiry date

    25 February 2019

  • Client

    Surrey County Council

Ref: GSe51033

An exciting opportunity for an experienced communications professional to join Surrey County Council in the newly created post of Director of Communications and Engagement.

Leading the Communications Team, the Director will be responsible for ensuring the County Council has a clear and concise message both externally, to over a million residents, partners and local and national Government bodies, and internally to over 11,000 staff.

The new Director will work closely with both the CEO and Leader of the Council and will be responsible for devising and delivering the council’s communications strategy, leading on engagement activity and creative campaigns, as well as building on the reputation of the council and responding to issues and challenges as they arise. 

Surrey County Council covers a variety of environments, from areas of outstanding natural beauty to rural villages and large towns. It has a population of over a million people and hosts a wide range of businesses from SME’s to innovative technology companies. The Director will lead a team that needs to reach this broad and varied audience.

The council has begun an ambitious journey towards becoming a new type of council. It has developed a Vison for Surrey in 2030 after extensive engagement with residents and this will create a council that focuses a £1 billion budget on those who most need our support, while working with residents to build stronger communities that support a successful Surrey. 

The council is ambitious and communications need to be strategic and engaging across all audiences. The person appointed to this post will be a key member of the team delivering the vision for the county, working with all parts of the Council from the leadership to individual services through to the front-line.

The council is going through a major cultural change programme, part of this will be moving the HQ of the council from the London Borough of Kingston and into the County of Surrey.  This new post will play a lead role in engaging and supporting staff through rapid change.

Role Purpose / Context / Skills & Experience

Role Purpose

  • Act as head of the Communications and Engagement service in the council
  • Lead the development of Communications and Engagement Strategy for the council
  • Set objectives for Team Leaders
  • Ensure appropriate skills sets are in place across the department
  • Ensure effective professional development of the team
  • Ensure that the team makes best use of contemporary communications platforms
  • Lead on issues management for the council


  • Works closely with the Council Leadership Team and cabinet to deliver an effective communications service on behalf of the council to develop Role Purpose
  • Works closely with organisational development teams to ensure that the communications service plays an active role in supporting cultural change within the Council
  • Acts as a generator of positive coverage for the council
  • Plays a key role in ensuring effective engagement with key partners and stakeholders
  • Is a member of ELT and is expected to assume a leadership role within the council.

Skills and experience

  • Experience of delivery communications services in a complex, environment, often having to balance competing interests.
  • Experience of developing deliverable communications strategies with multiple stakeholders
  • Experience of managing and motivating teams
  • Experience of reputation management
  • An understanding of the effective use of digital media
  • Demonstrable experience of identifying and developing positive stories
  • Experience across a range of communications disciplines including digital media, media relations, campaigning and internal communications
  • Experience of using insight and data to develop policy and strategy.
  • Demonstrable experience of campaign evaluation.

For more information please contact our advising consultants at GatenbySanderson Zoe Thompson ) or Greg Hayes )

Values and Behaviours

Our values are what support our vision, shape the culture and are crucial in delivering our corporate strategy. For more information about our values and behaviours please follow this link.

Closing dateMonday 25th February 2019
Long listing28th February 2019
Preliminary InterviewsMonday 4th March 2019
Final Panel Intervieww/c 11th March 2019

To apply for this role, please submit an up to date copy of your CV, along with a Supporting Statement that addresses the skills and experience outlined above and your motivations for applying. Please provide your home, work, mobile and email contact details and let us know of any dates when you are not available or where you may have difficulty with the indicative timetable. You should also provide the names, positions, organisations and contact details for two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. If you do not wish us to approach your referees without your prior permission, please state this clearly.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated email to confirm that you have applied. If you do not receive this email, please make contact with GatenbySanderson.