Head of Strategic Communications

Job Title: Head of Strategic Communications
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: London (Central), London (Greater)
Salary: c. £45,000 per annum (dependent on experience)
Reference: 15630863
Job Published: March 26, 2018 01:00

Job Description

Job title: Head of Strategic Communications

Type: Permanent full-time

Salary: c. £45,000 per annum (dependent on experience)

Location: London, UK Reports to: Director

Application deadline: 22 April 2018

Interviews: 3 May 2018 Organisation


The Human Dignity Trust (HDT) is a legal charity based in London, UK that supports local lawyers and human rights defenders to uphold human rights and constitutional law in countries where private, consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex is criminalised. At present, 75 jurisdictions worldwide maintain these criminal laws, a figure that is gradually decreasing due to a combination of litigation and legislative reform.

Legal provisions that criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people put them beyond the protection of the law, fostering a climate of fear, stigma and violence. These provisions also violate constitutional and international human rights law, including a person’s right to dignity, equality, non-discrimination and privacy.

The HDT provides pro bono technical legal assistance and advisory services at the request of, and in collaboration with, local human rights defenders, their lawyers and other partners who wish to use the courts to challenge these persecutory laws and other repressive governmental actions that are justified on the basis of the criminal law. Since our inception in 2011, we have worked on ongoing, prospective and concluded litigation or general legal analyses with local partners in 21 different countries in all regions of the world. Our work is highly sensitive and is often conducted entirely in confidence and not made public, in order to protect the best interests of our local partners and the wider LGBT community in countries where we work.

Alongside providing technical legal support to our partner organisations, and as a key component of our work, HDT works closely with our local partners to provide specialist strategic media and communications technical assistance, in order to support them to build skills, confidence and capacity in managing local and international communications around any litigation they decide to pursue.

Purpose of the post

Working under the direct supervision of the Director, the Head of Strategic Communications will provide specialist media and communications support to the HDT’s partner organisations around the world, as well as leading on HDT’s own communication strategy. The role’s primary responsibility will be to work with organisations, activists and communities in a range of different geographic and cultural contexts, to give them the skills to develop and deliver sophisticated and contextually-appropriate communications strategies. The Head of Strategic Communications will be expected to deliver media and Job Description - Head of Strategic Communications 2 communications training, work with partners to develop locally-relevant, research-based messaging and assist partners to drive successful communications plans, helping to influence and shape domestic discourse, particularly in support of any existing or contemplated litigation. In close collaboration with the Director, the Head of Strategic Communications will also develop a strategic communications plan for HDT and work with all staff to deliver it.

The Head of Strategic Communications will be highly motivated and excited by the opportunity to be part of a young but influential legal organisation. This is a dynamic and important post, and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to share her/his skills with a wide range of stakeholders, working to shape national conversations to support the cause of LGBT human rights in a variety of geographic and cultural environments. S/he will have an excellent grasp on successful communications strategy development and understand how to deploy that expertise in an array of social and cultural contexts. S/he will have a high level of cultural sensitivity, with the ability to build strong relationships and work closely with stakeholders from a range of backgrounds. The Head of Strategic Communications will be driven and a self-starter, able to work in close collaboration with the Director and other staff, whilst maintaining a high degree of autonomy. S/he will be expected to travel several times per year to work with local partners around the world.

Regrettably, as consequence of the nature of the work that HDT carries out, the Head of Strategic Communications will be subjected to distressing critiques of LGBT people and the successful candidate will have to tolerate this with tact and professionalism.

Duties and responsibilities

1. Working with external partners globally to develop communications capacity (75%)

  • Develop and deliver sophisticated evidence-based communications strategies in a range of geographic and cultural contexts, in conjunction with local partners and other stakeholders and linked to their human rights litigation
  • Build and manage a network of PR/communications firms and/or freelance consultants who can provide pro bono or charitable rate technical support for specific local media strategies
  • Assist local partners in developing evidence-based public awareness campaigns to soften public attitudes towards LGBT people and enhance public support for their human rights litigation
  • Develop and deliver strategic communications training to human rights defenders, activists, plaintiffs and LGBT community members, with a range of experience levels
  • Work closely with local partners to research, develop and test messaging, identify key audiences and build strategies to access all relevant audiences.
  • Provide hands-on support to drive the delivery of communications strategies, including assisting with the drafting, editing and commissioning of press releases and opinion pieces, rolling out of press plans, selling in stories both locally and internationally, and implementing of media campaigns
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders from civil society and from the media.
  • Oversee external contractors and consultants, including research agencies, journalists, focus group moderators etc.

2. Developing, overseeing and implementing HDT’s communications strategy (25%)

  • Develop and deliver HDT’s in-house short- and long-term communications strategy.
  • Work closely with the Director to enhance HDT’s visibility with key audiences including existing and prospective funders and supporters and across sector-specific and international media.
  • Support the effective application of HDT's communications strategy by supporting staff to understand and integrate the strategy in their respective work areas.
  • Build and manage relationships with sector-specific and mainstream press. • Extend the impact and effectiveness of HDT's website, ensuring both content and design are optimised to support HDT's brand and communications strategy.
  • Manage the development and delivery of HDT’s social media strategy, in close collaboration with other staff members.
  • Develop and advance HDT’s branding including in relation to its publications, PR materials, events and other outward-facing products.

3. General

  • Produce activity reports as may be required
  • Report to the Board of Trustees and any committees of the Board from time to time as may be required
  • Any other tasks/duties as required by the Director

Qualifications and experience


  • Demonstrated senior-level experience in a media and communications function
  • Excellent and demonstrable training and capacity building skills in media and communications for people of all skill levels
  • Demonstrated experience in developing, managing and implementing sophisticated media and communications strategies
  • Experience of developing and implementing evidence-based media campaigns
  • Solid understanding of and recent work experience in delivering media and communications strategies and planning successful comms projects for a range of audiences
  • Experience managing communications research
  • Experience of PR and media relations, including writing press releases and liaising with the media (national and international)
  • Strong copy writing skills
  • Advanced degree in a relevant field
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English and strong presentation skills 


  • Professional communications qualification
  • Experience of media and communications in the not-for-profit sector
  • Experience of working in a range of international and/or overseas communications environments
  • Experience of digital monitoring and optimisation tools and techniques  
  • Experience of growing an established online and social media presence
  • Knowledge of and commitment to the global LGBT human rights sector

Personal attributes

  • Ability to understand and quickly adapt to differing ocial and cultural contexts
  • High evel of cultural sensitivity and awareness
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work effectively and in partnership with stakeholders from a range of backgrounds
  • A people-person with excellent relationship building skills
  • Self-starter with an ability to work well as part of a small team and to lead work streams with minimal supervision
  • Ability to work with tact and discretion

Recruitment process

Closing date for applications: 22 April 2018

Interviews to be held: 3 May 2018

All offers of employment will be conditional on the candidate having/securing the right to work in the UK prior to their employment commencing.

To apply please send a CV along with a covering letter of no more than two pages explaining why you are an ideal candidate for this role to: Chris Atkinson at Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive we are only able to contact those candidates who are shortlisted for an interview. Please only apply if you meet the essential criteria.

Equal Opportunities

The Human Dignity Trust is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons. Our aim is to create a safe and secure working environment where a commitment to diversity, opportunity, quality and excellence are our guiding values.

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