Head of Policy and External Affairs

The IWA is looking for a dynamic and politically savvy individual Head of Policy and External Affairs who is passionate about strengthening democracy and the economy of Wales.

About the IWA

The Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) is an independent think tank working to improve Wales. Our vision is to help create a Wales where everyone can thrive. We are politically independent and do not represent any particular industry, trade or interest group. We are also a charitable organization, funded by our members, charitable trusts and foundations and our own business activity. We act as a catalyst for change. We stimulate stimulating debate and work with our members and others to spark practical new ideas that can shape the future of Wales. Through our political projects, we develop and secure a commitment to practical ideas that can transform Wales.

About this role

The IWA is renowned for its rigor and independence, for clearly articulating complex policy challenges, for bringing together expertise across sectors and for effectively influencing policy areas that can shape the future of Wales.

If you’re looking for a role that will invigorate and stretch you in ways you wouldn’t expect, and for an opportunity to apply your creative brains, influencing skills and determination to some of the major challenges facing Wales today and in the years to come, then this role could be a good fit for you. We’re also well known as an organization that incubates talent, so we’d like to hear about your particular talents so we can help you play to your strengths.

Purpose of the position

In line with IWA strategy, you will lead the design, funding and implementation of IWA’s policy and research portfolio, ensuring that our agenda setting projects are executed effectively , creatively communicated for maximum impact and ensuring engagement so that our work helps to strengthen Wales’ democracy, public services and economy.

There are two main aspects to this role:

  1. Ensure that IWA’s influencing work is informed, well-resourced, evidenced by high-quality research and practitioner experience and expertise, and leads to maximum impact
  2. To ensure that the IWA maintains its reputation for independence, ensuring effective dialogue and relationships across political parties, sectors, policy areas and with our members, regarding our research and policy priorities.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for someone bright to take on this senior role within our high performing, small and flexible team and drive the execution of our strategy forward. You will have great project management skills, juggling short and long term deadlines, keeping an eye on the price of what we are trying to achieve and why. We are looking for someone who builds diverse alliances to win change, and is full of ideas for new projects to achieve our goals of a stronger economy and stronger democracy in Wales, and has smart ideas on how to fund them and bring them to life.

You will be a proactive entrepreneur with sound judgment, the ability to operate independently with a high level of autonomy, and the confidence to engage effectively with external partners and stakeholders, including at a senior level. It would be ideal if you have experience writing and presenting proposals for funded work, can set a good budget, and know how to monitor it effectively. We’d also love if you’ve served on a board before elsewhere, as we appreciate the added perspective this can bring.

You will work closely with and report to the Director of the IWA, deputizing as necessary and sharing the leadership and management of the organization. You will be responsible for the editor management line of the welsh diary as well as the research, policy and communications team, and will also work collaboratively with the rest of the team.

You will be based in the new IWA hub at sbarc, part of Cardiff University’s Innovation Campus. We work in a hybrid fashion, with team members in the hub, meeting for some face-to-face meetings in sbarc’s co-working spaces, and working remotely too. Occasional travel to the UK may also be required as part of the role.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Research, policy and influence

  1. Lead, coordinate and develop the research and policy work of the IWA, ensuring delivery of agreed priorities in line with IWA strategy
  2. Manage the project portfolio and associated budgets from conception to implementation, ensuring effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting to donors
  3. Manage and further develop the IWA Policy and Projects team
  4. Identify potential funding streams and build relationships with potential trusts, foundations and business partners
  5. Produce and manage successful funding offers to potential donors
  6. Grow our engagement and dialogue on policy issues, proactively seeking out new and potential members who could help advance our policy work
  7. With the IWA Director, develop, coordinate and implement a successful outreach and influencing strategy
  8. Along with other team members, help deliver our much-loved decision-making and influencing training in Wales
  9. Work closely with the Head of Media, Communications and Engagement, design and lead communications in relation to policy outcomes
  10. With the IWA Director and other team members, develop and organize high-impact events to spread the work of the IWA and capitalize on business opportunities
  11. Contribute to the editorial group of our publishing platforms and act as editorial manager for the welsh diary print magazine

External Affairs

  1. Lead continuous monitoring of policy developments relevant to the implementation of our strategy
  2. Proactively identify, develop and maintain productive relationships with politicians and their staff in all parties and with other external partners in government, business, academia and the third sector as well as practitioners
  3. Work with the Director to further develop the IWA’s network of contacts across Wales, so that IWA’s work reflects a diversity of perspectives, places and opinions
  4. Work with the team to develop, update and maintain the IWA website
  5. Contribute to the IWA’s online presence and provide political content for high-impact communications
  6. Contribute to the IWA’s social media production and work with the Director on press and media activity
  7. Undertake other duties related to this position as requested.

Person specification

Essential knowledge and experience

  • Experience leading and managing a team (including setting goals, motivating staff, managing performance) and strong team building skills
  • Experience successfully securing funding from trusts, foundations or other institutional donors
  • Proven track record in managing complex projects that have successfully influenced policy formulation and/or implementation
  • Excellent understanding of Welsh politics and UK political issues relevant to Wales
  • At least 5 years of work experience in a policy development or political influencing role
  • Experience conducting or commissioning research and developing clear policy positions from an evidence base
  • Successful track record in building and growing productive partnerships with diverse stakeholders across various industries
  • Experience engaging on social media on behalf of an organization

Essential Skills

  • Strong financial management skills, including budget management
  • Excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to write strong texts with clarity, precision and style on a range of platforms and for a range of audiences
  • Diplomat with strong interpersonal, listening and influencing skills
  • Ability to analyze data and commission research effectively
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines, meet short-term and strategic priorities, and effectively prioritize and manage own workload
  • Ability to work independently and ready to be flexible within a small team
  • Ability to exercise political judgment and manage risk

Desirable knowledge, experience and skills

  • Relevant university degree
  • Strong written and spoken Welsh
  • Public speaking and media experience
  • Experience contributing to a board of another organization

Terms and conditions

This is a permanent full-time position (37.5 hours per week) and the salary is £36,000 per annum. There is a company pension plan and a work cycle. The job holder will have 25 days annual leave and four additional days over the Christmas/New Year period. We are a living wage employer. We are also a supportive and flexible employer because we care about our team.

Location: The IWA has a hub at sbarc (on Maindy Road, Cardiff), part of Cardiff University’s Innovation Campus, and has access to all of the building’s excellent facilities. The team works in a hybrid way, with key principles agreed between us. We are happy to consider applications from candidates not based in South Wales as long as you are available for meetings/office work on a regular basis. Occasional travel to the UK may also be required as part of the role.

Application process

Please send a CV and a short cover letter (combined into one pdf, max 2 x A4 sides each item) addressed to Rhian Cook, explaining why you want to work for the IWA and why you are suited to the role. Please name your document [your name]_policy manager.pdf

This should be sent to [email protected] by 9 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.

We are committed to improving the diversity of our team, so please note that we will remove all identifying contact details from your application in order for us to blind shortlist. This is to ensure that we assess your application solely on your skills and experience. Please also complete our Equality and Diversity Tracking Form when applying, which can be found here. This is voluntary and anonymous, but helps us ensure that we are inclusive in our recruitment.

Interviews will take place on Thursday 29 September 2022 in person at the IWA hub at sbarc, Maindy Road, Cardiff CF24 4HQ.

If you have any procedural questions, please contact Rhian Cook at 02920 484387 or via [email protected]. For an informal chat with the current holder, please text, WhatsApp or call Will Henson on 07557650386.

Issued August 1, 2022

Shirlene J. Manley