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Assistant to Political Group (Labour Group)

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Job Summary

Employment Term:
Full Time, Limited Term
Working Pattern:
Full time
Advert Start Date:
04/07/2019
Advert End Date:
18/07/2019 23:59
Salary:
up to £34,968
Hours per week:
37 hours
Job Category:
Electoral Services
Vacancy ID:
105434
Employment Location:
Council offices, High Street, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 9TR
Post Number:
CR3897/926/SS

Job details 

Closing date:
18 Jul


Further information

Assistant to Political Group (Labour Group)

Summary of Post

South Gloucestershire Council is a Unitary Authority, governed by a leader and cabinet system. The Conservative Party are the majority group. The Labour group in opposition are a proactive and enthusiastic group who robustly challenge the ruling party at every opportunity, politically ambitious and work closely as a team.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with exceptional political and communication skills working directly with the Labour Group on the Council. Your role will primarily involve advising on political issues, and will also include dealing with the media, preparing speeches and briefing notes, researching policy issues, attending meetings and conferences within the area and elsewhere.

You will act as the focus for information gathering and dissemination with community groups, MPs, local authorities, commercial groups and deal with Officers at all levels. Strong networking skills are essential to enable you to play a central part in the effective preparation and delivery of the Group’s future political strategy.

As a member of the Labour Party, you will bring acute political judgement, the ability to analyse data quickly, have excellent written and oral skills and good IT knowledge with real ambition to move the Party to its fullest local potential.

The post is subject to political restriction in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Hours of work will include evenings and possibly weekends.

This post is for a limited term contract ending May 2023.

Main Duties

To provide political and policy advice to the political group, including the facilitation of group budget and other proposals.

To suggest and contribute to changes to Council policies and proposals where appropriate.

To provide a full research and evaluation service to the political group.

To monitor closely national and local political developments and local issues, including changes to government policy, legislation, and Council and external reports and initiatives, and advise the group on issues and implications.

To assist in the identification and development of policy initiatives.

To assist and support the group leader in developing the group’s strategic direction and development as a cohesive and effective political entity playing its full role within the Council.

To assist the group leader in the administration and management of the group.

To mentor and provide advice and support to individual group members to assist in their effective contribution as group members within the Council.

To liaise with community groups, the media, local and national bodies, MPs, local authorities, professional organisations and other networks for the exchange of information, the gathering of ideas and the development of group initiatives.

To provide media-relations support and advice to the group, including the preparation of group press releases.

To liaise and develop constructive relationships with all levels of staff within the Council to acquire information, negotiate with and promote the views and objectives of the group, on any aspect of the Council of interest to the group.

To attend all types of Council meetings and briefings in support of the work of the group or its leader.

To attend internally and externally organised conferences, seminars and meetings, evaluate information gained and report back to the group, with advice on issues arising as appropriate.

To provide any other additional support requirements as determined by the group or the group leader.

Selection Criteria

To enable us to shortlist in a fair and unbiased way it is absolutely vital that you provide us with sufficient information to demonstrate how you meet or exceed the criteria outlined in the vacancy description. Please include this information in the knowledge, skills and experience section of the application form.

Essential

Educated to degree level or equivalent professional qualification.

Political and organisational sensitivity. An understanding of the political environment.

Able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of issues affecting local government and how the Council works.

Proactive; sensitive to emerging issues and their potential significance for the Group.

Excellent communication skills, verbal and written. In particular, able to produce succinct, jargon-free notes, briefings, presentations and reports, articles, letters and press releases.

Highly developed interpersonal skills; able to build up and maintain good working relationships with officers and Members from a wide range of backgrounds.

Diplomatic; able to deal with difficult issues and people with sensitivity and tact, but able also to challenge confidently when required.

Ability to maintain strictest confidentiality.

Exemplify the Council’s values and behaviours.

Desirable

High degree of self-motivation; able to manage own workload effectively, organising and planning tasks, including working to tight deadlines, under pressure, and with minimal supervision.

Able to absorb, summarise, analyse and interpret a wide range of documents and other information sources clearly and analytically.

Self-sufficient with technology – MS Office applications.

Flexible and adaptable; able to offer support across a wide range of areas and to respond quickly to new situations and changing priorities.

Additional Information

For further information, please contact Natalie Carr, Democratic and Member Service Manger on 01454 868198 or email Natalie.carr@southglos.gov.uk.

This post is for a limited term contract ending May 2023.

The Labour Group has 11 members and we shadow the portfolios of the Cabinet working in teams of two under each umbrella service department .We hold Away Days for strategy and policy development and especially now as we have five new members .We know and it has been regularly commented upon, that we ‘punch’ above our weight and actively participate in Cabinet and Council usually with questions to Cabinet members at Council holding them to account .We negotiated a co-chair with the Lib Dems for Scrutiny Commission and raise topics to influence the Council policies wherever possible.

We are a very friendly, hard-working and ambitious group and we put a great deal of emphasis on Group discipline, preparation for all meetings and choreograph our contributions as much as we can. This has been very successful and all members even the new members ,have the confidence to challenge the ruling group as they each know exactly what their role is within meetings. The new members require mentoring just to support them with the Council processes and protocol but of course mostly we need a researcher to help develop our arguments and try and change the direction of policy to help the group reach its potential as a valued, professional and strong opposition.

We hold monthly Group meetings on an evening and we have regular Ward meetings and meetings for each service area. The leadership team currently meet weekly to devise strategy and discuss challenges ahead .The political assistant will take part in all of these meetings to present briefings and outcomes of tasks set by the leader. The political assistant will work closely with the Leader of the Group to discuss tactics, sound out ideas and provide evidence when required. The post holder would also accompany the group leader, attending the confidential 3 Leader meetings and most of the meetings the leader attends.

We would expect the post holder to help draft ward leaflets, collate members reports and draft the annual report for the wider Labour organisation and constituencies, draft weekly press statements , draft speeches where necessary and this post provides an exciting opportunity for the post holder to develop all of these skills as I encourage personal development and hope that the post holder can bring new and exciting ideas to the post to challenge our current way of working . The group leader works with the political assistant in the office most days so that we can move quickly on issues as they arise .The political assistant would be involved with all aspects of the Labour Group and would build strong relationships with all of the group members

This is one of three Political Assistant posts subject to the provisions contained in Section 9 of the Act and Part M of the Council’s Constitution and are filled in accordance with the wishes of the relevant political group (i.e. the one to which the post has been allocated).

By law, appointments to these posts expire at midnight on the day of the Council’s Annual Meeting immediately following full Council elections.

The decision to allocate the posts to qualifying political groups is reviewed by the Council at its Annual Meeting immediately following the full Council elections.

Postholders must be prepared to work at different locations and work irregular hours, as required.

Assistants to political groups must be members of the relevant political party.

Assistants must work within the procedures contained in the Council’s Constitution and associated protocols.

The posts are subject to the limitations set by the Local Government (Assistants to Political Groups) (Remuneration) Order 2006.

Salary: up to £34,968

Hours: 37

Closing Date: 18 July 2019

Vacancy Ref: CR3897/926/SS

Safer Recruitment

South Gloucestershire is committed to safeguarding and promoting the safety and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Our Values

As an employee of South Gloucestershire Council you will be expected to have a ‘can-do’ attitude and adapt to the fast pace of change. You will strive to work well with others to reach a common goal and embrace a partnership and inclusive approach to delivering efficient and effective services. You will use your initiative to deliver and take responsibility for your performance to help the team, department and council to achieve its goals and make the best use of available knowledge, expertise and capacity in order to continuously improve the quality of services.

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