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Head of Campaigns & Advocacy


Job Title: Head of Campaigns & Advocacy

Location: London or another SMF city (please see our website for a list of our locations)

Contract Type: Permanent

Closing Date: 12pm, 22nd July 2020

Virtual Interviews: Week commencing 27th July 2020

About the Social Mobility Foundation

The Social Mobility Foundation is a small, high profile national charity with offices across the UK. We help thousands of young people from low income backgrounds enter universities and professions through programmes of mentoring, internships, university application support and skills development.  We run the Social Mobility Employers Index, which ranks UK employers on how open they are to talent from all social backgrounds and showcases progress towards social mobility.

Building on the knowledge we have gained from 15 years of delivering programmes and working with young people we now want to build our influence and campaign more widely to improve social mobility across the UK. Through our new campaign arm, the Department for Opportunities, we will conduct research, make policy recommendations, identify best practice and influence organisations and decision makers with the aim of reversing the declining levels of social mobility in the UK.

About the Department for Opportunities

The Department for Opportunities will campaign to open up opportunities for young people. We will identify the opportunities that accelerate the path to increased social mobility, the barriers that stand in people’s way and work with the organisations and people best placed to change things. We will bring together other organisations working to promote social mobility and raise the profile of Social Mobility as a cause with the public.

That will mean pointing out the big structural things which governments, mayors and local councils can do. But also the smaller, practical decisions that employers, charities, schools, universities or individuals can make to challenge the assumptions that entrench disadvantage.


About the role

Reporting line: CEO

Management responsibility: Communications Manager, Research Manager

Salary band: £38,000 – £44,000 per annum plus £2,000 London weighting (if applicable).

Benefits: 25 days annual leave; bonus annual leave days between Christmas and New Year; time off in lieu for work outside contractual hours; 5% employer pension contribution after a satisfactory completion of a four month probation period, flexible working hours.

Working hours: Full time (37.5 hours) 9am-5.30pm (flexible working hours available)

We are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced Head of Campaigns and Advocacy to lead the work of the Department for Opportunities. As a new brand attached to an established charity, the Department for Opportunities offers the successful applicant the opportunity to shape and develop the priorities of a new function while benefiting from the expertise and reputation of the SMF. The SMF itself is at an exciting point in its development with funding secured for its advocacy work, a newly appointed CEO and the Rt Hon Alan Milburn, a long time advocate and high profile champion of social mobility, as chair of the Board.

Covid-19 has shone a spotlight on the huge inequalities in our country and all the research suggests the recession will hit young people from disadvantaged backgrounds hardest. Combined with the new government’s interest in ‘levelling up’ we think the right candidate can quickly position the Department for Opportunities as an energising movement in the UK, make social mobility a cause people understand and want to take action on and shift the dial on improving access to opportunities for young people.

The Head of Campaigns and Advocacy will report to the CEO of the SMF but they will have a significant degree of autonomy and a relatively free hand in shaping the priorities and direction of the Department for Opportunities. This role is therefore suited to someone who is a self-starter, a creative thinker and able to think strategically about what they want to achieve with campaigns, advocacy and interventions.

Person Specification

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Self-starter with ability to prioritise tasks
  • Creative and imaginative – able to identify and build campaigns which gain traction, attract broad support and the attention of decision makers
  • Able to quickly digest research and media reports and identify the salient issues
  • Confident in meetings with senior stakeholders and persuasive in making a case for change
  • A good networker and able to identify the people and organisations that DO needs to lobby or partner with to effect change
  • Committed to the aims of the Social Mobility Foundation


  • You will have a track-record of developing and delivering impactful campaigns and a strong understanding of different influencing methods, such as public affairs, coalition building, and digital campaigns.
  • You will have a good knowledge of Westminster and devolved politics. A good understanding of local government would be a bonus.
  • You will have experience in stakeholder management and will have organised successful events.
  • You may have policy development experience. An understanding of policy issues in one of the sectors related to social mobility – education, apprenticeships, higher education, employment, inequality – would be an advantage but is not essential.


  • Agree the priority campaigns for the Department for Opportunities with the CEO and Chair and develop a clear strategy to deliver on agreed campaign objectives.
  • Identify the issues and stakeholders that the Department for Opportunities needs to target.
  • Build relationships with external stakeholders and alliances.
  • Initiate, manage and deliver high profile influencing events.
  • Integrate the work of the Department for Opportunities into the SMF and play an active role in the senior management team
  • Work with the Research Manager to identify original research which will build our evidence base, persuade decision makers and build the case for change.
  • Work with the Communications Manager to monitor the media and the sectors we are seeking to influence with a view to making timely interventions and promoting the work of the Department for Opportunities.
  • Contribute to the wider fundraising efforts of the Social Mobility Foundation and contribute to grant applications and employer partnerships where there is a Department for Opportunities interest.
  • Line management and budget management.

Application Process

PLEASE NOTE, we do not accept CVs.

Interested candidates should apply by sending the following information to by 12pm, 22nd July 2020:

  • A letter outlining your suitability for the post along with specific examples from past experience.
  • A short statement answering the question: Beyond the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments please identify another sector where the Department for Opportunities should target its campaigning work. Who are the priority stakeholders in this area and what issues would you raise with them? (Maximum 500 words).

Please note that generic applications will not be considered. If you have any questions about the role, please contact Kirsty O’Brien at

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