Action for M.E. seeks Policy Manager/political lobbyist

Action for M.E. is seeking to recruit a Policy Manager/political lobbyist

Action for M.E. has created a new position for a full-time Policy Manager/political lobbyist and the following vacancy is currently being advertised on its website:


Part time and Full time Vacancies

Policy Manager
2 years fixed term
Based in central Bristol offices (with travel to London and Edinburgh)

Experienced policy officer, policy manager or political researcher required by leading M.E. campaigning charity.

Policy Manager job description:

Policy Manager application form:

Or open document here:  Policy Manager Job Spec

Closing date for applications: 22 May 2009
Interviews: 18 June 2009
Start date: August 2009

Policy Manager

Job description

Base: Bristol with regular travel to London, Edinburgh and elsewhere

Salary: £28,000-£30,000

Term: Full-time, fixed term for two years in the first instance, extension subject to performance and funding

Hours: 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday, although flexibility will be required

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Policy Manager will be part of the Senior Management Team (SMT) which includes the Finance Manager, Communications Manager, Fundraising Manger and Head of Support Services.

Manages: Project Coordinator Scotland (who is home-based in Scotland)

Key ext. contacts: People with M.E. and their representative groups. MPs, MSPs, Lords and parliamentary staff and representatives of:

Government departments eg. Department of Health, Work and Pensions; key NHS contacts eg. Clinical Champions for M.E.;

public agencies eg. Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, Scottish Public Health Network; voluntary sector partners and coalitions eg. Association of Young People with M.E., Disability Alliance, National Voices etc

Role: 1. To create a new dedicated policy function within Action for M.E., which will involve developing Action for M.E.’s policy position and lobbying strategy and being responsible for political lobbying by the charity.

2. To monitor national and regional policy development and implementation and service delivery – particularly in the areas of research, health, welfare, social care, employment, education etc, as they relate to people with M.E. and their carers

3. To provide the Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group at Westminster; to represent Action for M.E. at meetings of the Cross Party Group in Edinburgh; to represent Action for M.E. at meetings which relate to national and regional policies and practices.

4. To be Secretary to the trustees’ new Policy Group, which will develop and update the charity’s policies on M.E.-related issues, monitor and evaluate their effectiveness and conduct regular assessments of the charity’s compliance with key policies.

5. To be an Action for M.E. media spokesperson on policy issues.

6. To develop contacts, links and networks to facilitate partnership working and facilitate change.

7. To be responsible for ensuring that Action for M.E. responds to relevant public consultations.

Tasks: Create a new policy function

1. Undertake desk / online research to monitor information sources produced by government departments, think tanks, non-governmental organisations and other bodies, in order to keep Action for M.E. informed of any developments related to their field of activity.

2. Register with relevant public agencies and service providers to receive updates and keep Action for M.E. informed about new government initiatives, legislation, guideline/procedural/ legislative review and public consultations.

3. Identify and forecast policy developments.

4. Draft briefing papers on policy issues for internal and external use.

5. Report to the CEO/SMT on all relevant developments, flagging up issues which are of both long-term strategic importance to the charity as a whole and immediately relevant to us in terms of policy development, campaigns, information and support services, fundraising, communications including press, public consultations with stakeholders, etc

6. Draft and implement policy and campaign strategies in association with the CEO/SMT. Campaign strategies will include lobbying, for which the Policy Manager is responsible in association with the CEO, and media, for which the Communications team is responsible.

National and regional parliamentary duties

7. Provide the Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) at Westminster, liaising with the office of the Chair of the APPG and others to organise meetings, prepare minutes and agenda and ensure timely posting of information on our website, facilitate actioning of decisions eg. by drafting letters, maintain APPG files.

8. Represent Action for M.E. at meetings of the Cross Party Group (CPG) in Edinburgh. The Policy Manager will line manage Action for M.E.’s Project Co-ordinator for Scotland, who provides secretarial support to the CPG.

Policy and lobbying activities

9. Represent Action for M.E. at meetings in London, Edinburgh or elsewhere organised by public or voluntary agencies which relate to national and regional policies and practices which affect people with M.E. and their carers.

10. Be responsible for responding to government and other consultation documents, following consultation with colleagues, members and others as appropriate

11. Foster good relations with government and with statutory, voluntary and private bodies by maintaining regular contact, in person and in writing, with politicians, civil servants, and/or staff in local authorities and regulatory bodies. Keep MPs, MSPs and other policy decision makers informed about developments which relate to M.E. and to Action for M.E.’s policy-related activity and campaigns.

12. Work to place questions to Ministers and to encourage MPs, MSPs and members of the Lords to debate issues which relate to M.E.

Communicating policy

13. Work with the Communications team, to ensure that policy information on the charity’s website is up-to-date and to produce fact sheets, articles and e-communications for external use.

14. Liaise with the Communications team and IT manager when Action for M.E. consults with members and other stakeholders on policy-related issues.

15. Operate as an Action for M.E. media spokesperson on policy issues

16. Give presentations on policy/practice and/or Action for M.E. activities or strategy as they relate to policy/practice as required.

17. Liaise with the Fundraising team on submissions to statutory bodies and trusts which relate to policy issues.

Staff and work management

18. Line manage the Project Co-ordinator for Scotland, who is part-time and home based in Scotland, agreeing action dependent upon projects planned or underway.

Line management responsibility may increase if funding is obtained for additional posts

19. Recruit and line manage an intern or volunteers to support the policy function.

Person specification

The role will require the post-holder to have or to develop comprehensive knowledge and understanding of all the policy issues which affect the lives of people with M.E. and their carers and to be able to communicate Action for M.E.’s stance on these issues clearly and effectively to a variety of audiences.


1. At least three years’ previous experience as a policy officer or policy manager or as a political researcher.

2. Ability to assimilate and understand complex information and issues, including legislation and other policy documents, research findings and guidelines for healthcare professionals and other public service providers. This would include the ability to understand and interpret basic medical research.

3. Ability to communicate information and issues well, to people at all levels, face to face, by telephone and in writing.

4. Excellent diplomatic, networking and persuasion skills, including consensus building skills.

5. Excellent presentation skills: ability to think clearly, deliver a presentation or key point credibly, fluently and effectively whether as a participant in a high-level meeting, conference speaker or speaker at a local support group gathering.

6. Sensitivity in working with people of all ages who are very ill and often highly informed about and frustrated by their illness and others’ perceptions and misconceptions of it. Ability to respect absolute confidentiality when required.

7. Broad understanding of M.E. and genuine desire to improve the lives of people with M.E.

8. Willingness and ability to travel to London, Edinburgh and elsewhere as often as required. This could occasionally imply an overnight stay away from home.

9. Willingness and ability to undertake online research and to communicate extensively by e-mail and telephone will be required.

10. Experience of line-managing one or more colleagues.


1. A degree or equivalent, relevant experience eg. in a health, welfare or social policy setting. A relevant degree / demonstrable interest in politics would be an advantage.

2. Experience of working in the voluntary sector, with the public sector.

3. Experience of working with people at all levels, including MPs, MSPs or other elected members, government Ministers, their staff and officials.

4. Experience of working with different agencies across the country.

5. Experience as a spokesperson would be an advantage.

Terms & conditions

Full terms and conditions are available in the Staff handbook, which is available from on request. The following summary has been compiled in anticipation of frequently asked questions. Applicants who have additional questions should feel free to ask them at interview.


The salary for this post is £28,000-£30,000. Salaries are paid on the last day of each month by direct transfer into bank accounts.

Hours of work

Regular hours of work* will be agreed with the CEO but flexibility will be essential. (*The standard working day for full-time employees is 7 hours excluding lunch breaks and “normal hours” are 9am to 5pm). Overtime is not paid. Reasonable time off in lieu will be awarded if staff are required to work exceptional hours.

Probationary period

This is a fixed term 2 year post, subject to satisfactory performance during the initial three-month probationary period and subsequently, through six-monthly appraisals by the CEO. The charity aims to develop a permanent policy function, subject to the availability of funding.

Notice period

One month’s notice will be given by the employee or employer if the contract is to be terminated.

Public holidays

Staff are entitled to paid leave during bank holidays and public holidays.

Annual leave

Full-time staff are entitled to 26 days’ leave per calendar year. All time off must be agreed in advance with the line manger.


Action for M.E. has instituted a Group Personal Pension Scheme, administered by Foster Denovo, on behalf of Friends Provident. New employees may join this scheme after three months’ service. It is a joint contributory scheme, with a minimum three percent employee contribution. Action for M.E. will match contributions up to a maximum of three percent of the employee’s basic salary.

How to apply

It is important that your application describes how your skills and experience match the role and requirements of this post. Please send your application form, completed Equal Opportunities Form and a covering letter explaining why you are best suited to the post, to: Sara Brooks, Action for  M.E., 38 Victoria St., Bristol BS1 6BY. Tel: 0117 927 9551. E-mail:

Closing date for applications: 22 May 2009

Interviews: 18 June 2009 (tbc)

Start date: 3 August 2009 (negotiable)