Athena Swan in IHW

Professional services staff career journeys

Gillian Bell, Engagement and Communications Manager in the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, reflects on the experience of successfully applying for a regrading of her post.

Photo of person completing an application form

I joined the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit as a grade 6 Engagement and Communications Officer in 2018, where my job was to develop and support public engagement and communications activities to help deliver the unit’s Public Engagement and Communications Strategy.

I was initially based in a small team which was led by a Knowledge Transfer and Communications Manager (grade 8). However, this post was vacated just as I took up the role and was never replaced. As a result, I found myself increasingly operating at a more strategic level than outlined in my original job description.

I was leading on (not just assisting with) the planning, coordination, delivery and evaluation of a range of creative external engagement initiatives. I was now responsible for the development of a Public Engagement and Communications (PEC) strategy to support the Unit’s research, and for the coordination of a PEC report for submission to our funders - the MRC - as part of the Unit’s quinquennial review. This was a major piece of work which also involved me giving a presentation to the MRC sub-committee during their site visit. The report received an excellent score of 9.5/10 and positive feedback from the MRC reviewers.

I was also leading on (rather than supporting) the production and dissemination of content such as newsletters, blogs and briefings, tailored to the needs of the unit’s public, policy, practice and research audiences. Our small team took on the management of external engagement and communications for new networks and consortia based in the Unit. My role also involves identifying opportunities to strengthen the unit’s reputation with key decision makers by responding to consultations and participating in Cross Party Groups and other Parliamentary events.

Within the wider Institute of Health and Wellbeing I took an active role in the institute's Public Engagement/Knowledge Exchange group and have been involved in planning the public engagement space for the new Clarice Pears building.

All of these changes meant I felt there was now a mismatch between my job description and the actual job I was doing. I was also aware that similar posts to mine elsewhere in the university were grade 7 rather than grade 6. I discussed the regrading process with my line manager who was very supportive of my submitting an application. Together we drafted a revised job description which better reflects my current role and the additional responsibilities I’ve taken on since I was appointed. MVLS College HR offered helpful advice throughout the process including identifying which duties and responsibilities would be at grade 7 and how these were assessed.

I was delighted to hear two months after submitting the application that I had been successful.

Gillian Bell 
Engagement and Communications Manager
MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit