Senior Policy Adviser, Education

Public First

Westminster, London

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Public First is a public policy consultancy who offer solutions to complex policy problems faced by clients. We are a boutique, high end organisation that works in a few distinct areas of specialism and offers unparalleled expertise within these areas.

Across our business, we focus on four main areas of work, each headed up by a highly experienced Head of Practice:

  • Education
  • Technology
  • Energy, Infrastructure and Urban Planning
  • Health

Within each area of work, and more generally, we offer a range of services. We are, in effect, part think tank, part strategic advisory consultancy, part polling company, and part communications and public affairs agency:

  • Policy and research – we offer services including research and analysis, economic modelling, writing of publications, thought leadership, and strategic counsel on public policy and public affairs issues.
  • Opinion research – we offer accredited British Polling Council quantitative research including opinion polls, and a wide range of qualitative opinion research methods including focus groups and cognitive interviews.
  • Communications and campaigns – we offer a full service of campaign work including grass roots campaigning execution for clients, as well as more traditional media and communications support including press releases, op-ed drafting and placement, select committee training and media training, and event / launch management.

Our team comes from the most senior levels of government, the civil service, political campaigns, think thanks, opinion research and the media. We are united by a belief in the power of understanding, shaping and using public opinion to influence public policy.

Put simply, we put intellectual energy behind solving some of the trickiest economic and social problems in the UK today. And we want your help.

Education

Education is one of the major areas of specialism for Public First. Many of the most senior team at the company – including three Partners Rachel Wolf, James Frayne, Gabriel Milland, and the Head of Education Practice Jonathan Simons, have all worked in and around government in education policy for the last fifteen years. Between us, we have worked with and for or advised the last three Prime Ministers, seven Education Secretaries, and numerous junior Ministers.

Our present and past client list includes some of the biggest and most prestigious organisations in education. It includes Pearson, Oxford University, the Sutton Trust, Ofsted, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, the UPP Foundation, Cranfield University, the Confederation of School Trusts, Impetus PEF, London Interdisciplinary School, and QA.

As the practice continues to expand, we are looking to hire two senior consultant advisers to help support and further increase the impact of our work.

The roles

We are looking for up to two Policy Consultants. The consultant role is the most senior role in the organisation below the Senior Management Team (Partners and Directors).

It is likely that one of the roles will focus particularly on Higher Education and one on schools and other education issues, but this can be flexed around the successful candidates. It is also likely that these roles will particularly suit people with an expertise in policy but who have interest and potential to grow expertise more widely in communications and campaigns; but again, we would be willing to flex this around a candidate who for example had experiences in the latter and wished to develop in the former.

Both roles will include the following key responsibilities:

  • Leading individual projects within the education practice under the supervision of the Head of Practice, but with significant day to day autonomy and responsibility for execution and delivery of work. This will include policy writing (internally and for publication), data analysis (via Excel), and meetings and discussions with external stakeholders in Westminster and elsewhere.
  • Contributing to broader projects within the practice and across different practices – for example, on a piece of work around child health, or on a campaign or media relations piece of work which will include collaboration with specialists in these areas across Public First.
  • Maintaining client relationships, including ongoing broader support, advice and counsel on developments in Westminster, and politics and policy more broadly.
  • Scoping of and developing future project work and engaging with potential clients. Although this is not a business development role, and there is no ‘sales target’, the postholders will have scope to develop new areas of policy which they want to work in and have opportunities to engage with new clients.
  • Maintaining and further building strong networks across the education sector in the UK – in government, educational institutions, think tanks and policy organisations, corporations and third sector organisations, media, and others. We strongly encourage all senior staff to build and maintain their own profile and brand including by speaking at events, writing for publications, and offering thought leadership more broadly.
  • Working alongside colleagues who offer specialisms in policy, communications, and campaigns and who can contribute to education projects. There will be significant opportunities to grow expertise across all these domains.

Both roles will require the following skills and experience:

  • Experience within the education field from a policy or communications perspective. This could have been gained by working as a professional educator in a school or university, or through time in government, in a think tank, or in a policy or communications role in an organisation working in education. Although every role is different and expertise is gained at different rates, we are looking for someone who on average will have gained the type of experience through a minimum of five years working in education. This should also come with a deep love of the subject area. We are unashamed about being wonks and we want someone to help contribute to this mission!
  • Deep familiarity with government, Westminster and policymaking and politics. This could similarly have been gained through direct experience in politics and government or through working alongside them; regardless of the route, successful candidates will need to demonstrate above all that they understand how government and policymaking works.
  • Ability to write clearly, incisively and precisely about policy issues – including the ability to translate complex policy topics into language accessible to educated laypeople.
  • Ability to handle quantitative data – Public First employs economists and expert data modellers but all senior staff are required to be able to conduct, for example, data analysis functions in Excel up to publishable standard and to be comfortable working with large datasets and raw numbers and to be able to draw conclusions from them.
  • The ability to be able to present, verbally, conclusions from our work. This could be to clients (including very senior individuals), or to prospective clients, or to MPs and policymakers, or to an expert education audience. We are looking for someone who is comfortable and enthusiastic about discussing education policy and what it means.
  • A willingness to work flexibly across a small organisation – including getting involved in different types of role within a project (for example, running focus groups, helping out on polling questions or psychological profiling for marketing work, helping craft press releases, or managing events in Westminster) as well as policy analysis, and, where needed, contributing to projects running in other subject areas.
  • Ideally, a strong degree in a relevant subject area. However, we are very willing to consider candidates who come from a non-graduate background who can demonstrate the skills and experiences required to fulfil the job description.

These roles are London based (Westminster) and international travel, though possible for future projects, is not likely to be required as a core part of the roles.

Salary is competitive and dependent on skills and experience. These will be permanent, full time roles.

Closing date: 30 Aug 2019


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