Interim Head of External Communications (14 month FTC)

External Communications and Marketing
£67,000 - £76,000 pro rata per annum

The National Audit Office is currently looking for an experienced external communications professional to be in post for a period of 14 months as the Head of External Communications.

This is an exciting time to join the National Audit Office and our external communications team. We are looking for someone who wants to be part of an organisation which, at its heart, is focused on improving peoples’ lives by driving better public services and making better use of public money

It is a 14-month role covering a period of maternity cover and a handover either side. Sitting within the external relations team and reporting to the Director of External Communications and Marketing, the interim Head of External Communications is a newly created role responsible for planning and executing impactful and integrated external communications on behalf of the NAO and telling the NAO’s story to its audiences. The post-holder will oversee the work of the press office, digital and strategic communications teams to ensure the NAO delivers its new external communications strategy.

You will also support the Director of External Communications and Marketing to: protect and enhance the NAO’s reputation; increase receptivity of NAO content among stakeholders; and to encourage behaviour change in audited bodies and the public sector. This includes deputising for the Director and supporting them in managing the 20-strong team, which also encompasses our design and publishing function.

This role includes the following main areas of responsibility:

  • Work with the Director of External Relations and Marketing to implement and embed the NAO’s new external communications strategy.
  • Plan and prioritise NAO’s communications’ calendar and activities in advance and ensure all of their communications channels and functions work seamlessly together to achieve their objectives.
  • Oversee delivery of their external communications strategy and strategic communications projects. Ensure that the team delivers consistent, integrated and evaluated communications on behalf of the NAO, its strategic themes and its work.
  • Provide strategic communications and reputation management counsel to the Comptroller and Auditor General, the leadership team and other senior staff, ensuring they have confidence in the strategy and recommendations.
  • Maintain an awareness of the news agenda and emerging news events.
  • You will not be responsible for delivering internal communications on behalf of the NAO, but you will be required to engage proactively with colleagues to offer external communications counsel and to successfully change internal behaviours which will improve their ways of working and communicating, as aligned with the new external communications strategy.
  • Line manage three senior managers in external relations - 1 x Senior Communications Manager, 1 x Digital Communications Manager (who line manages 2 x web developers), 1 x Senior Press Officer.


To apply for this role, you would be required to have the following:

  • Clear understanding of how government, Parliament and the public sector works.
  • A strong sense of the role, value, and opportunities that communications can play in helping the NAO achieve its business objectives and strategy.
  • Lead the development and implementation of communications strategies. Evaluate the effectiveness of communication against strategies and objectives.
  • Experience of working in front line media relations. Understand and interpret the emerging news agenda and factors which will affect this.
  • A clear understanding of the use of social media in communicating effectively with audiences.

You must be a UK, Commonwealth, EEA or Swiss national to comply with Civil Service nationality rules and must hold a valid work permit. We are not able to sponsor work visas.


Recruitment process:

  • Please submit the following an up to date version of your CV, along with a covering letter, setting out briefly what you would bring to this role and the NAO.

The NAO welcomes applications from everyone. We value diversity in all its forms and the difference it makes to our organisation. By removing barriers and creating an inclusive culture all our people have the opportunity to develop and maximise their full potential. As members of the Business Disability Forum and Disability Confident Scheme we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria.

The NAO supports flexible working and is happy to discuss this with you at application stage.



This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.