Outside of the gateway building as the sunsets

Senior Communications Manager (845)

Senior Communications Manager (845)

Senior Communications Manager

Full Time - Permanent - High Wycombe

Salary - £40,931- £51,805




Buckinghamshire New University is an ambitious, modern university that is always open to fresh ideas and thinking. We believe in the transformative power of education, and in doing the right thing by our students, people and local community. That’s why our BNU community is a special place to work and study, and where people who want to make a difference can contribute and succeed.  


Our University’s DRIVE values are at the heart of all that we do.  We are united in being dynamic, responsible, inclusive, visionary and empowering to ensure that we provide the best experience to our learners and offer excellent service to our partners and to each other as colleagues.   


BNU continues to experience rapid growth in student numbers, making us one of the fastest-growing higher education providers. This is an exciting time to join the University as we invest significantly in estate developments and welcome Jay Blades MBE as our inaugural Chancellor.  


An exciting opportunity for a professional to take the strategic lead in raising BNU’s profile by creating compelling content to shout about the successes of our people, students, alumni and partners. Demonstrating resilience in challenging, fast-changing and often unpredictable situations, along with the agility and tenacity to navigate shifting priorities and complex projects. The successful candidate will drive the delivery of the University’s external communications strategy, taking a creative and digital-first approach, and support the Director of VCC&CE in ensuring that the University responds swiftly, effectively. This role calls for someone who can quickly establish and maintain effective and mutually beneficial working relationships with key internal and external stakeholders, and confidently provide strategic counsel to senior leadership. 



What we offer:  

  • generous holiday entitlement (30 days p/a, plus bank holidays & closure days)   
  • training & development support opportunities   
  • contributory pension scheme   
  • discounted gym membership for our on-site gym   
  • a range of staff discounts with major retailers.  


Please click here to see our wide range of benefits available for employees.   


If you have the qualities and attributes representative of the University’s values and ambition, we would be delighted to hear from you.    


For further information about this role please contact Louise Harvey at louise.harvey@bucks.ac.uk 


All applications are to be made in full and online.   

Buckinghamshire New University is proud to have a diverse community and a strong track record of inclusion. Our aim is to continue to build an environment where everyone thrives and can be themselves. We therefore ensure that our interview/shortlisting Chairs complete the relevant e-learning and/or inclusive recruitment training. 



Closing Date: 1 February 2023 

Interview Date: 9 February 2023 



If you are successful in securing an interview for the role, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK.   


At Buckinghamshire New University equality of opportunity and diversity is at the heart of all we do and fully integrated into our values. Our aim is to create an inclusive environment where everyone thrives and feels a sense of belonging. We are committed to diversity and welcome applications from different backgrounds and experiences.    


Buckinghamshire New University is a Disability Confident employer and as such you will be given the opportunity to declare a disability as part of the application process.   

The University is also committed to achieving the Race Equality Charter.  



High Wycombe
Contract Type
Salary Range
£42,978 - £54,395
Hours per week
Closing Date
Ref No

Job Description


Job Title:  Senior Communications Manager  

Directorate:  Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Communications & Civic Engagement (VCC&CE) 

Grade:  H  

Location:  High Wycombe  

Hours:  37

Responsible to:  Director of VCC&CE  

Responsible for:  Senior Communications Officer  

Job Purpose:   

To support the Director of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Communications and Civic Engagement (VCC&CE) by working closely with senior leaders across the University to provide strategic counsel, and embed excellent communications across the institution to support the successful delivery of the University’s Thrive 28 strategy.  


Work with the Directorate to implement the University’s new communications strategy, delivering high-quality, trusted and digital-first communications to students, staff, customers, partners, and government. The role encompasses creating proactive and reactive communications strategies, media relations, crisis communication and working closely with senior leaders to provide strategic counsel, project management, and creating engaging content using in-house digital tools. 


A self-starter and committed, creative and experienced communications professional with the tenacity and initiative to deliver on objectives, working alone and collaboratively. Passionate about evaluating activity to drive continuous improvements. Confident in delivering high levels of service to internal and external stakeholders, and demonstrating resilience in challenging, fast-changing and often unpredictable situations. Well-organised with ability to be agile and shift priorities to ensure adlines are met. 


Main Duties & Responsibilities of the role:  

  • Senior lead for raising the University’s profile by sharing compelling stories, and proactively shouting about the successes of our people, students, alumni and partnerships using the appropriate ‘tone of voice’ for each audience.  
  • Lead on identifying newsworthy opportunities and case studies and develop strategies to successfully place these across appropriate channels including social media, through press releases, articles, blogs, podcasts etc. including seeking approvals, checking accuracy and undertaking follow-up liaison with journalists. 
  • Support Director of VCC&CE in proactively horizon scanning for potential issues, and be strategic in ensuring the University responds swiftly and effectively with the right messaging to protect the University’s reputation, including responding to FOIs. 
  • Drive the delivery of the University’s external communications strategy through the utilisation of all communications platforms and channels, taking a creative and digital-first approach.  
  • Take responsibility for University-wide projects from conception, through to implementation and evaluation after completion.  
  • Establish and maintain effective and mutually beneficial working relationships with key internal and external contacts, including students, academics, professional service employees and Bucks Students’ Union.   
  • Lead on collaborating with colleagues in the Marketing, Student Recruitment and Conversion (MSRC) department to develop content that builds the University’s profile and supports strategic business priorities and targets (e.g. student recruitment, retention, progression) and enhances BNU’s reputation with key audiences and stakeholders. 
  • Manage a Senior Communications Officer, and provide coaching and training to further develop their knowledge and skills.  


 External communications 

  • Work flexibly across the organisation to enable the University to respond to issues at short notice, advising on strategy and appropriate responses to protect the University’s reputation.  
  • Proactively seek and promote colleagues for expert comment, including advising and preparing spokespeople for interviews through the provision of material such as briefing notes and Q&As.  
  • Develop a reputation of integrity and trust with media contacts and journalists across national, regional, HE and global outlets. Utilise these relationships to highlight the work of the University to stakeholders and the public and build the reputation of the institution. 
  • Work with senior leadership and their teams to drive and facilitate thought leadership around areas of University expertise (institutional and course-specific) to build reputation and raise profile of the University’s brand. 


Internal / student communications 

  • Provide strategic communications advice and support to senior leaders as part of BNU’s ongoing efforts to drive staff and student engagement in the pursuit of ensuring BNU is a great place to both work and study. Create and project-manage initiatives and events to facilitate positive communication and engagement with students and staff, from developing ideas to successful completion.  
  • Champion, encourage and support regular, accurate, timely and relevant communications for staff and students, ensuring clear and consistent messaging through the intranet (BEN), MyBNU (student portal), staff briefings, and by crafting messages from senior management. 
  • Define and deliver plans for communicating and engaging with students, working closely with Bucks Students’ Union and relevant University departments and colleagues.  
  • Work with colleagues in UET, UMG, and HR to develop creative, digital-first internal communications and staff engagement plans to support Thrive 2028. Play a key role in improving digital competencies and empowering colleagues to create clear and concise communications with a consistent tone of voice.  
  • Proactively contribute to progress the University’s strategic priorities around digital literacy, and take an active, and strategic senior role in the development and management of BEN and MyBNU. 



  • Contribute to the development and implementation of all communications policies, protocols and processes, promoting these to ensure successful adoption, promoting these to ensure successful adoption.  
  • Proactively contribute to the achievement of the Directorate’s wider objectives and business targets. 
  • Represent the University at events with external stakeholders and customers, media and across government. 
  • Contribute to the production of corporate information to promote the institution’s achievements, including website pages and publications including the Financial Statements. 



  • Support the training and development of junior team members through mentoring, work shadowing and support/supervision of strategic tasks. 
  • Ensure all communications produced by the role-holder conform to the University’s house style and brand guidelines, and to conform to other relevant policies and procedures, including the CIPR Code of Conduct and Consumer Markets Authority legislation. 
  • To undertake any other reasonable duties required by the Director of VCC&CE and commensurate with the grade of the post. 




E – Essential     D = Desirable     A = Application     T = Test     I = Interview  

Education, Qualifications & Training 

E / D 

Means of Testing 

Degree Qualification or equivalent professional qualification in public relations/communications   

Knowledge & Experience 

E / D 



More than 5 years’ experience working in corporate communications. 


Experience of successfully handling crisis communications to protect and guard reputation. 


Track record of successfully creating opportunities for coverage to boost an organisation’s profile across national, local and specialist media including print, digital and broadcast. 


Providing strategic counsel at Executive Board level, and working with senior leadership teams to identify issues and create communications solutions. 


Experience of successful project and event management, and of creating engaging written and visual content for all audiences. 


Experience of dealing with the UK (local, regional, national and trade) and global media. 


Appreciation and experience of communications within a higher education context, or similar complex environment. 


Understanding of higher education and the competitive issues facing universities. 


In-depth knowledge of best practice communications activities and processes. 


Proven track record of developing, implementing and evaluating digital and social media campaigns. 



E / D 



Excellent communication, interpersonal, organisational and project management skills. 

Strong news sense and understanding of how to unearth good news stories.  


Experienced in working on thought leadership activity. 

Create and implement media relations strategies to raise the profile of the institution, its academics and Schools/courses through thought leadership and story placement. 


Able to convey complex information by writing/editing copy so that is easy to understand, well-structured and appropriate to its audience. Confident and proficient in MS Office suite; Photoshop; CMS activity; design and video editing software. 


Experience of working on the front and back end of a staff intranet/portal. 


Honed analytical skills to interpret data and statistics to extrapolate positive messages for use in proactive communications, and to rebut issues 


Adept in using intranet and website analytics; media monitoring report data; and survey feedback to draw insights from which to improve the quality and performance of the Communications team. Proactively use evaluation tools and metrics to assess the value, reach and impact of communications activity and campaigns. 

Proven leadership skills to manage, develop and motivate team members by providing coaching, shadowing and ‘live’ training. 

Excellent communication, interpersonal and organisation skills, with the ability to manage multiple priorities and lead a team and manage its workload. Adept in collaborative working and providing first class customer service to the Directorate’s customers. 

Confidence to provide strategic counsel to senior leadership, and to provide clear and honest advice and recommended approaches for both proactive and reactive communications. 






Delivering excellent service 

Providing the best quality service to external and internal customers/students/stakeholders. Building genuine and open long-term relationships in order to drive up customer service standards. 


Embracing change  

Being open to and engaging with new ideas and ways of working. Adjusting to unfamiliar situations, shifting demands and changing roles. Using resources effectively Identifying and making the most productive use of resources including people, time, information, networks and budgets. 


Working together  
Working collaboratively and across boundaries with others in order to achieve objectives. Recognising and valuing the different contributions people bring to this process.