Vacancy -- Senior Press Officer for the First Minister of Wales

Recruitment Principles

The Welsh Government's recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

Vacancy Details

Office of the First Minister and Brexit Group
SEO - £38,355 - £45,850
Full time (applications are welcome from people who work part time, as part of a job share or who work full time)

Purpose of Post:

Welsh Government Communications Service

The Welsh Government Communications Service supports Ministers in delivering effective public sector communications.

The service supports the Government by informing people of legislation and polices that affect them, and delivering responsive and informative communications 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Working in the Welsh Government press office

Welsh Government press office is a key part of the Welsh Government Communications Service, delivering a 24/7 news service.

The press office is a busy and interesting place to work, which handles lots of media enquiries, while also developing proactive, creative opportunities to promote the Government. 

As the First Minister’s press officer, you would lead on communicating some of the most important and high profile issues facing Wales today. You would work alongside our digital media team to develop creative and effective digital content on behalf of the First Minister and the wider Welsh Government.

Working with policy, marketing and digital colleagues, you’ll lead on communicating our messages through the media, engaging with different audiences and developing exciting campaigns.  

You will provide media advice and support to the First Minister, Welsh Ministers and senior officials.  Through monitoring and evaluating your media work, you will ensure objectives are being met.

Developing strong and constructive working relationships with journalists is key to the role, as well as reaching out to key external influencers and experts.

Delivering positive coverage in the media is a central part of the job, so a good news sense, creativity and enthusiasm is essential. A big part of this is successfully selling-in stories to news editors and journalists – so, we’re looking for someone with a positive, resilient, can-do attitude.

Responding swiftly and accurately to breaking news, you must be able to effectively horizon scan to spot potential problems. You will also be responsible for implementing crisis management strategies if they arise.

You will also be responsible for providing leadership and development to a small press team.

As a member of our press office you will be expected to take part on the out-of-hours duty rota, for which overtime is paid.

The Role

This is an exciting opportunity for a talented, enthusiastic and creative communicator to work in a very high profile role at the heart of government communications.

While this appointment is to fill a current vacancy on the First Minister’s press desk, press officers are required to work on different press desks, and for other Ministers, based on business need.

Key tasks:

Working to the Deputy Head of News, you will:

  • Work closely with  Ministers, senior policy officials and communication teams to develop and deliver creative and imaginative media campaigns;
  • Cultivate strong relations with UK, Welsh, regional and specialist media, as well as key digital platforms;
  • Respond swiftly and accurately to reactive media queries and breaking news stories, ensuring that horizon scanning processes are in place to spot issues;
  • Use excellent judgement to become a trusted adviser to Ministers and senior policy colleagues;
  • Build good working relationships with journalists and other partners, providing advice and guidance when required;
  • The opportunity to manage a team of press officers, setting priorities and managing workflow, providing leadership and guidance and supporting their development;
  • Use a full range of insight and evaluation tools to target communications and assess their impact, using the information to continuously improve;
  • Adhere to high professional standards, including very good writing skills;
  • Keep abreast of developments in the communications landscape, in particular how best to incorporate digital and social media into integrated communications plans and share learning with colleagues;
  • Work with communications colleagues in other disciplines to deliver cross-cutting strategic communications activity and develop wider knowledge of all communications activity;
  • Be part of the press office duty rota, providing 24/7 media cover for Welsh Government.

Development opportunities:

This is a demanding, rewarding role in a key communication area. The post offers the opportunity to develop skills in the areas of press and digital media and wider communication disciplines.

Closing Date:

18/03/2020, 16:00

Disability Confident

Welsh Government accepts the social definition of disability, in which it is recognised that barriers in society act to disable people who have impairments or health conditions or who use British Sign Language. We are committed to removing barriers so that all (or potential new staff) can perform at their best. The Equality Act 2010 uses the medical definition of disability (“a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term impact on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities”).

We guarantee to interview anyone who is disabled whose application meets the minimum criteria for the post. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide us with evidence in your application which demonstrates that you generally meet the level of competence for the role and any qualifications, skills or experience defined as essential. We are committed to the employment and career development of disabled people.

If you have an impairment or health condition, or use British Sign Language and need to discuss reasonable adjustments for any part of this recruitment process, or wish to discuss how we will support you if you were to be successful, please email as soon as possible and a member of the team will contact you to discuss your requirements and any questions you may have.

Welsh Language Requirements

The Welsh Government is a bilingual organisation and Welsh language skills are considered an asset to the organisation. We encourage and support staff to learn, develop and use their Welsh language skills in the workplace. 

The following list of language requirements represents an objective assessment by the line manager on behalf of the Welsh Government of the Welsh language skills required to undertake the duties of this particular post.

Can read some routine work-related material with support e.g. dictionary
Can hold some work-related conversations
Can understand routine work-related conversations
Can prepare routine work-related material with checking

Competencies / Job Specific Criteria


  • Setting Direction (Seeing the Big Picture) - Be alert to emerging issues and trends which might impact or benefit own and team’s work.
  • Engaging People (Leading and Communicating)Communicate in a straightforward, honest and engaging manner with all stakeholders and stand ground when needed.
  • Ideas (GCS) – Demonstrate flexible, creative thinking. Test and refine ideas to develop innovative solutions.
  • Implementation (GCS) – Demonstrate strong written communication skills. Provide advice and guidance to colleagues on writing clearly for target audiences.

Job Specific Criteria

  1. Ability to plan targeted and innovative media strategies and campaigns.
  2. Ability to cultivate strong relationships with journalists and influential internal/external stakeholders.
  3. Experience of working to tight deadlines to provide appropriate communications handling advice on high profile or breaking issues to senior figures.

Assessment Process

Shortlisting of applications

Once your application is received there will be an initial sift against the evidence that you have provided for the Job Specific Criteria. If you are successful at the initial sift the remainder of your application will be assessed. This will determine if you are to be invited to interview.


The interview will consist of two elements, a written exercise and a panel interview. Further details of the written exercise will be made available to you prior to your interview.

Feedback on your application will only be provided if you attend an interview.

Other Information

If you would like to discuss this role in advance of submitting an application please contact Jo Sabin or Simon Jenkins as follows;

Between 26 Feb and 27 Feb: Jo Sabin, Deputy Head of News, Welsh Government – email: phone: 03000 25 1870 / 07815 699 699

Between 28 Feb and 11 Mar: Simon Jenkins, Head of News, Welsh Government – email:  phone:  03000258786

Jo Sabin - - 03000 251870 / Simon Jenkins - - 03000 258786

How to apply

All applications for this vacancy should be made online via the Welsh Government's online application system.  If you have a disability which would prevent you from applying on-line, please e-mail to request an application pack in an alternative format, or to request a reasonable adjustment related to a disability in order to submit your application.

To apply, you'll need to have an account on our online application system.  Click the 'Apply' button below, and you'll be asked to 'Log in' if you already have an account, or 'Register' if you don't yet have an account.  Registration takes just a few minutes to complete.  You'll need an e-mail address to be able to register.  Once you've registered for an account and logged in, you'll be taken to the online application form, which you'll need to fully complete and submit before the deadline on the closing date.  

If you’d like to apply for this vacancy in Welsh, please use the ‘Newid Iaith / Change Language’ link at the top of this page, to take you to the Welsh version of this advert, from which you can apply in Welsh.

For further information regarding the Welsh Government recruitment process, please see the Recruitment Guidance for External Candidates (link).

When evidencing your suitability for the post, it is recommended that you refer to the Civil Service Competency Framework (link)

This vacancy is closed to applications.