Head of Public Affairs

GBP 60,000 - 80,000
Job description

Job Description

Head of Public Affairs – £100,000 (+500 Car allowance PM) – Worthing (Hybrid)

Our utilities client is currently seeking a Head of Public Affairs to join their team in Worthing. Southern Water is at the heart of the transformation of Britain’s water industry. As the company’s most senior public affairs professional you’ll create and deliver the over-arching strategy to influence key policy-makers and political stakeholders, communicating the company’s progress and helping to build and defend its reputation as transparent customer-focused business wholly committed to its turnaround and associated internal cultural change.

You will lead a small team and report to the Director of Corporate Affairs, who is on the Exec Committee. You will be a senior member of the Corporate Affairs leadership team and will work closely with the rest of the function, especially the regional stakeholder engagement team which focuses on Hants/IoW, Sussex and Kent. Your role will require plenty of collaboration with Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, and with our Customer function. You will have a high degree of visibility and frequent interaction with the CEO and members of the Exec Committee, guiding their proactive and reactive engagement with MPs, ministers, opposition parties, policy-makers, government officials, trade bodies, think tanks and political influencers.


  • Set the strategic vision for the Public Affairs team in line with the company’s business plan; shape the business’ policy asks; devise and execute the public affairs strategy, prioritising our engagement with key stakeholders
  • Through structured engagement with key parties in Westminster and Whitehall, land consistent and engaging messaging that is aligned to stakeholder priorities and strengthens of the clients corporate reputation
  • Work especially closely with regional stakeholder managers to ensure that inter-linking local, regional and national issues are approached in a co-ordinated way
  • Advise leadership team on external matters to ensure the company is aware of changing political, regulatory and legislative environments.
  • Contribute to plans to mitigate risks in our operating environment
  • Review and approve key materials: political briefings for the leadership team, letters to key stakeholders and external speeches and presentations.
  • Develop and maintain good working relationships with key ministers, MPs and their offices.
  • Build collaborative relationships among regulators, the third sector, and industry bodies.
  • Manage the PA team by providing leadership and generating a working environment that empowers and upskills staff.
  • Manage agency support including managing a budget and ensuring value for money through the service we receive.
  • Work in partnership with key colleagues in the business and function to support the development of proactive public affairs strategies and plans that are integrated with the broader external affairs strategy, driving improvement in the company’s reputation, and helping embed effective stakeholder engagement across the business.

About you:

  • Knowledge of UK Government and regulatory / political landscape, policy and regulatory processes
  • Knowledge of the water industry or other regulated business sectors
  • Driving licence
  • Degree or equivalent in Politics, Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Journalism, or a related field.
  • Public Affairs CPD or qualification
  • Demonstrable expertise in managing public affairs at national and regional level
  • Experience and knowledge of working with government bodies and similar, managing senior relationships – ideally with DEFRA, Ofwat, the Environment Agency, CCW, DWI; well-developed networks
  • Experience of delivering integrated communications plans to foster positive stakeholder relationships
  • Experience of working in energy, water or another regulated sector
  • Knowledge and understanding of policy focuses and familiarity with major political parties’ view of the water industry at a national level
  • Strong leadership skills with the ability to inspire and motivate team members; accustomed to running a small proactive team and working within a large and complex business
  • Experience in issues and crisis management, with the ability to remain calm in a crisis and deliver sound actionable judgement

Does this opportunity excite you? Please do send me your CV today! All roles are subject to a DBS and credit check.

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