Parliamentary Assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury
This is an exciting 12 month training opportunity for someone interested in both religion and politics to learn and develop skills in Parliamentary procedure and gain broad experience in a range of areas relating to Parliament and the Public Affairs work of the Church of England.
Fixed term training contract for 12 Months, 30 hours per week. The work pattern will be arranged after discussion with the Head of Parliamentary Affairs and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is a member of the House of Lords. In order to assist him with his responsibilities in the House, he wishes to appoint a Parliamentary Assistant. The appointee will be based at Church House, Westminster, and will operate as part of the Church’s Parliamentary Experience Programme, managed by the Head of Parliamentary Affairs.
In this role, you will support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Parliamentary duties, keeping abreast of relevant Parliamentary developments and undertaking research. You will assist with the Church’s responses to specific issues or bills working closely with others in the Parliamentary Unit and will support the Head and Deputy Head of Parliamentary Affairs in their responsibilities.
Interviews will be held on Friday 15th December 2017
The Parliamentary Experience Programme
Under this twelve month programme you will receive experience and training in a range of areas relating to Parliament and the Public Affairs work of the Church of England, including:
- Hands-on experience of working alongside parliamentarians on legislative issues (including briefing, research, speech writing, event organisation).
- Training in Parliamentary procedure by an established external training organisation.
- Professional guidance and support from the Parliamentary Unit and MPA teams.
- Opportunity to focus on one or two specific policy areas in depth.
- Introductions to wide networks of contacts in other churches and stakeholder organisations.
- Opportunity to attend autumn Party Conferences and other stakeholder events.
- Access to the Parliamentary estate through provision of a sponsored pass.
The Church of England Parliamentary Unit works alongside all the National Church Institutions (‘NCIs’ -the Archbishops’ Council the Church Commissioners, Lambeth Palace and Bishopthorpe) to help them engage more effectively with the Parliamentary process and to build and maintain links with Parliament. The Unit is based within the Mission and Public Affairs (MPA) Division of the Archbishops’ Council, which has a leading role in shaping Church engagement with society and issues of public concern. The staff of the Unit work with MPA and the other parts of the NCIs to enable policy issues to be followed through the political process.
The purpose of the role is to support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Parliamentary duties and to add additional capacity to the wider work of the Parliamentary Unit. These two aspects of the role are complementary: the Archbishop of Canterbury is one of the 26 Lords Spiritual whose support requires careful coordination with that of the other Lords Spiritual, the Church’s wider public policy agenda and the Parliamentary process.
The support of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the wider duties within the Unit include: research and information gathering, managing appointments and other events on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Unit, use and development of the Unit’s database, and such other work as the Archbishop of Canterbury and Unit may require from time to time.
The Parliamentary Assistant will work, in the first instance, at the direction of the Head of Parliamentary Affairs and Lambeth Palace Chief of Staff. He or she will ensure that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s support is well coordinated with the wider activities of the Parliamentary Unit and will devote a proportion of his or her time to the generic work of the Unit.
Main Duties and Responsibilities :
- Assisting the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Parliamentary duties; keeping him informed about Parliamentary timetables and developments; researching materials for his speeches, questions and meetings; liaising with others in Parliament and the Church on his behalf.
- Working with the Parliamentary Unit to ensure that the Archbishop of Canterbury is kept abreast of the wider activities of the Lords Spiritual and the Parliamentary Unit.
- Organising and staffing meetings in Parliament with the Archbishop. Liaising with other Parliamentarians and their staff on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- Assisting with disseminating the Church’s Parliamentary responses to specific issues or bills, as agreed with the Head or Deputy Head of Parliamentary Affairs.
- Supporting the Head or Deputy Head of Parliamentary Affairs in their responsibilities and deputising for them as necessary.
The Ideal Candidate
- Excellent ICT skills
- Excellent communication skills, verbally and in writing
- Excellent organisation skills, including time management, diary management etc.
- Research skills. The ability to gather information quickly and accurately
- Aptitude for team working
Knowledge / Experience:
- Knowledge of Parliamentary processes
- Some knowledge of the structures of the Church of England
- Proven ability in presenting complex data in manageable and informative ways
- Some experience of organising events (receptions, seminars, small and large meetings etc.)
- Degree level (or equivalent qualification that includes a significant independent research project).
- An open and collaborative working style
- Discretion and judgement in handling confidential or sensitive material
- Willingness to work creatively with people of differing political; and theological persuasions
- Willingness and ability to work some unsocial hours when required.
- A Level (or equivalent) or degree in a relevant subject, such as politics, theology etc.
- Database management
- Ability to discern the impact of policies, legislation etc. on the Church of England, other churches, and other faith communities
Knowledge / Experience:
- Proven ability in drafting briefing papers, bulletins and other accessible modes of communication
- Experience of Parliamentary processes, political parties, think tanks, lobby groups etc.
- A grasp of the key issues facing the Church of England in its public role today
- Ability to manage his/her own work programme with minimal direct management
- Ability to deliver outcomes to deadlines and to work under pressure
We in the National Church Institutions support the mission and ministries of the Church all over England. We work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.
Excellence, Respect, Integrity
We follow these three values in everything we do, whether we are of Christian faith, another faith or no faith.
Benefits- We offer a competitive salary package, a flexible* 35-hour working week for work-life balance and a minimum 25 days holiday plus 3 defined organisational days leave and an attractive defined pension scheme.
We are committed to building a culturally diverse workforce and strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups. We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from people, regardless of their background.
*Where applicable depending on post requirements.