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PARKINSONS DISEASE SOCIETY (PDS)

JOB DESCRIPTION
MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

1. MAIN PURPOSE OF THE JOB


Working in the Communications team to promote the Parkinson’s Disease Society and its
activities primarily through national, local and specialist trade media and to support the
work of the charity.

Write clear and concise copy for a range of audiences including the media.

Work sensitively with case studies.

Develop with other team members creative PR and communications campaigns.

Work with the media, the Media Relations Manager and other Media and Communications
Officers on reactive media enquiries.

Assist in the development and implementation of projects and events organised and or
managed by the Communications team.
2. POSITION IN ORGANISATION
Reports to Media Relations Manager
Responsible for N/A
Main relationships Communications Team, Directors, staff in Policy, Campaigns
and Information (PCI), Fundraising, Research and
the Community Services Directorates (CSD)
Direct contacts PDS Branches, PDS members, volunteers, health and social
care professionals, fundraisers, external agencies, celebrities
and the media.
3. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DIRECTORATE
The Communications Department is responsible for the external profile of the
charity; planning and implementing a proactive communications strategy, working across the
organisation with Policy Campaigns & Information (PCI), Fundraising, Research and
Community Services (CSD) Directorates.

This includes media relations, co-ordinating communications activities, developing and


popularising the brand, developing and strengthening our campaigning activities and
advertising. It also includes the development and maintenance of the website and the
responsibility for internal communications.
4. SCOPE OF THE JOB
A. Assist in the development, co-ordination and implementation of an effective public
relations programme to support the Society’s communications objectives.
B. Support the implementation of a proactive and reactive media relations programme.
C. Develop and implement a plan for increasing the charity’s prominence in the
healthcare media and to increase coverage to promote its information and support
services.
D. Work with other members of the communications team and other directorates to
deliver Parkinson’s Awareness Week.

Job Description
E. Encourage excellence in, and support media communications activities at a regional
level.

5. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES


A Assist in the development, co-ordination and implementation of an effective public
relations programme to support the PDS’s communications aims.
• Assist with the development, co-ordination and implementation of an external
publicity programme for PDS initiatives and activities, collaborating with appropriate
colleagues.
• Manage or assist in the management of other key events under the control of the
Communications team e.g. launches, visits etc.
• Ensure the development and maintenance of promotional and exhibition materials
liaising with appropriate colleagues.
• Build an understanding of Parkinson’s disease, the treatments available the
advances made in the area of medical research and the current health and social
care issues.
• Work with the Policy, Campaigns and Information Directorate, the Community
Services Directorate and the media team, assisting in campaigning activities,
providing media and communications expertise and developing materials as
required.
B Support the implementation of a proactive and reactive media relations programme.
• Write high quality news releases, statements, articles and case studies on PDS, the
condition and people with Parkinson’s and copy for promotional materials. These will
be well researched, produced and disseminated to maximise on publicity.
• Deal with day-to-day media enquiries.
• Support the development and maintenance of a database of appropriate case
studies related to living with Parkinson’s.
• Use and maintain all the media management systems including the media database.
• Assist with the collation of news cuttings and evaluation of PR campaigns.
• Assist with the updating of the home page of the website on a weekly basis.
• Assist with the briefing of helpline staff and other staff around news stories which are
expected to prompt enquiries.
• Take part in the out of hours media rota in association with other members of the
communications department, to ensure that the views of the Society are always well
presented to the media.
C Develop and implement a plan for increasing the charity’s prominence in the
healthcare media and to increase coverage to promote its information and support
services.
• Develop and implement a media relations plan to position the charity in the health
and social care media.
• Establish agreed PR plans with fundraising and the Media Relations Manager, and
keep these updated.
• Build and maintain strong healthcare media contacts across trade and national
media.
• Build effective relationships with the Community Services Directorate, Professionals
team and Advisory Services teams.
• Look for and create opportunities for media coverage.
• Develop strong case studies to exemplify the charity’s work.
• Place features in relevant trade or consumer media.

Job Description
D Work with other members of the communications team and other directorates to
deliver Parkinson’s Awareness Week.
Working with other directorates as appropriate, and reporting to the Media Relations
Manager, you will be involved with, and take responsibility for a number of the following:
• Developing an appropriate theme or focus.
• Putting together a project timeline and monitoring progress against objectives,
timings and budget.
• Communicating with branches and field staff at all stages in the run up to the
week.
• Commissioning appropriate research.
• Liaising with external suppliers to produce publicity materials and to mail key
audiences (as required)
• Ensuring media case studies are collated through all available channels and
through requests in PDS publications.
• Putting together media briefings for staff and media volunteers within branches.
• Producing appropriate media materials, including press releases and articles.
• Identifying target audiences and ‘selling in’ appropriately.
• Ensuring monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are in place.
E Encourage excellence in communications and promotional activities at a regional
level.
• Give information to staff, branches and special interest groups on promotional
campaigns as appropriate.
• Advise staff, branches, volunteers and special interest groups on PR issues.
• Attend branch forums and branch meetings to advice on PR issues in agreement
with the Media Relations Manager.
• Develop, implement and disseminate the production of agreed PR materials for
branches, special interest groups and staff, including posters, media guides and
Parkinson’s Awareness Week materials.
6. GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES
• Contribute positively to the department and team meetings, team working and
implementing organisational priorities.
• Be flexible within the broad remit of the post.
• Take direction on projects and priorities, which may vary from time to time.
• Abide by organisational policies and practices, including the equal opportunities
policy and code of conduct.
• Be self servicing and able to act on own initiative where necessary.
• Assist in administrative and promotional support at PDS fundraising events outside
normal working hours e.g. Christmas Carol Concert, London Marathon.

7. DIMENSIONS AND LIMITS OF AUTHORITY


Disciplinary Action: None.
Budgetary Limits: N/A
Authorises expenditure within a budget to a limit of: N/A
Signs contracts and contractual matters on behalf of PDS: N/A

Job Description
This job description does not form part of your contract of employment. The duties laid down in
this job description may change from time to time following a review and in consultation between
post holder and line manager/Director.

Updated: February 2010

Signed by post holder: Date:

Agreed Correct and


signed by Line Manager: Date:

Agreed Correct and


Signed by Director: Date:

Job Description
PERSON SPECIFICATION
Media and Communications Officer

Essential Desirable
Experience Proven experience of working in a busy 
communications environment, including
working with or in the national and online
media
Proven experience of managing own 
workload effectively, planning and organising
a number of projects at one time to set
timescales
Proven experience of managing and 
implementing media and communications
projects from start to finish, including
evaluating their impact
Proven experience of working effectively 
without close supervision, dealing with
problems as they arise
Proven experience of managing databases 
Proven experience of working with the 
healthcare trade media
Skills and Abilities Ability to write high quality press releases, 
media statements, case studies and articles
for a variety of audiences
Able to produce correspondence and written 
reports in plain English and produce accurate
work to a high standard at all times
Ability to subedit copy and to proof-read 
accurately
Ability to work with colleagues at all levels to 
achieve communications objectives
Able to communicate clearly and assertively 
with a wide range of people at all levels of
seniority
Ability to prioritise and work to tight deadlines 
Ability to work sensitively with case studies, 
including people with Parkinson’s and their
carers
Ability to work flexibly as part of a team 
Ability to use media contact databases, such 
as Gorkana

Job Description
Knowledge Knowledge of Microsoft Office software, in 
particular Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook
Strong working knowledge of broadcast, print 
and online media
Knowledge of corporate identity issues. 
Education/Training Educated to A level, or equivalent standard 
including English
Other Willing and able to work flexibly – working 
Requirements evenings and weekends as required, taking
part in an on-call rota and travel around the
UK with occasional overnight stays
Willingness to develop an understanding of 
disability issues
Commitment to working within the principles 
of equal opportunities
Empathy with the aims, goals and values of 
the Society, and a commitment to support
delivery to meet these

Job Description