Job Description (Roles and Responsibilities)

This role is suitable as a job-share opportunity and could be undertaken by, for example, 2 individuals working an aggregate of 3 days per week each.

The Community Liaison Officer role plays a crucial role supporting the morale and well being of British High Commission staff in South Africa. The role provides high quality support, service and advice in respect of British diplomatic staff, their families, where they live, the schools and health facilities they use and the community in which they live.

The CLO also helps with wider work that supports overall staff wellbeing, healthcare and welfare; that helps deliver social, community and charitable events with staff; and that promotes effective communications on all these topics to staff across the British High Commission Offices.

The CLO plays a particularly important role supporting the smooth arrival of Diplomatic staff and their preparations for arriving, as well as helping staff who are departing. The CLO will also support staff through times of difficulty, e.g., to access effectively healthcare or wider support when they need it.

The jobholder will work closely with other senior managers, especially on support for British diplomatic staff and their families, as well as wider staff wellbeing. The CLO will also develop a strong network of important contacts across a wide range of organisations including: other Diplomatic Missions; healthcare establishments; schools; community groups and forums; charities; Expat communities; and other contacts in organisations that work in areas of employee support, wellbeing and advice.

The CLO is responsible for researching, preparing, updating and completing key returns that go to Headquarters offices in the UK and which relate to Education, Employment, Healthcare, Diplomatic Staff, Welfare and other related issues. The CLO is also responsible for updating key information sources and documents for British Diplomatic staff, often ‘holding-the-pen’ on editorial changes and making these efficiently and to a high standard of accuracy.

The CLO builds the trust and confidence of staff across the Mission. Their position is integral within the Corporate Services team and works closely with senior managers. It means that the role is an advocate of the organisation, its policies, and principles and values. The jobholder needs to be able to communicate, explain and promote sometimes challenging policies or decisions that relate to staff, including when staff disagree with a policy.

The jobholder will need to be willing to occasionally work flexibly to support staff in emergencies and/ or events in the evenings, and occasional weekends as well. Overtime is payable. The CLO is expected to travel periodically to the High Commission’s other offices in South Africa, which are in Johannesburg and Cape Town.” Full travel expenses are covered.

The role is a full one with many competing priorities, including supporting others through emotional, health or other difficulties. The jobholder therefore needs exceptional self-management and organisational skills to manage the workload and competing demands; very strong resilience; and the ability to communicate with colleagues in challenging situations, demonstrating skill in empathy.

The CLO also needs to have very strong administrative skills given the essential paperwork that needs completing continuously, and the sometimes large information documents that need updating regularly too.

In light of the competing demands the British High Commission is keeping the question of additional support to the role under review and that support may be supplemented in future.

The CLO will work under the supervision of the Counsellor for Corporate Services and the Deputy High Commissioner, depending on specific tasks.

Roles and Responsibilities:

The crux of the role is supporting the morale and well-being of staff in UK in South Africa, with particular regard to the effective arrival and integration of UK based staff. The job holder will have some leeway in how to achieve this, but it is

likely to include much of the following:

  • Supporting delivery of social, community, charitable and other team events for staff, for example potentially around: Easter, Christmas, Women’s Day, Youth Day, Heritage Day, Mandela Day, Halloween, Pride Marches/ Celebrations; among other possibilities.
  • Advice, assistance and support to British diplomatic staff and their families considering postings to South Africa and when they arrive and depart the country, especially ensuring their arrival and settling-in is managed well and supported fully.
  • Gathering/ developing and disseminating information and guidance to British diplomatic staff and their families about living in South Africa.
  • Researching, updating, editing and maintaining multiple information documents and sources for British Diplomatic staff.
  • Provide a welfare, liaison and engagement role for diplomatic staff and their families.
  • Gather information, produce guidance and provide returns to London on living costs in South Africa for diplomats, and on a broad range of other areas including, for example, education/ schooling, healthcare, local employment and housing; among others.
  • Provide information, support and advice to managers and decision-making committees on diplomatic housing, support to diplomatic staff and their families, and on welfare issues (including welfare matters in crisis planning).
  • Develop and help deliver regular events, initiatives and activities that help new arrivals settle, build the community sense, promote social opportunities and support staff & family engagement.
  • Help deliver effective internal comms to staff, and where applicable, their spouses or partners, through a mix of in-person engagement – eg, all staff meetings, social engagements, meetings with diplomatic families etc. – and written comms – eg, newsletters, fact sheets & reports, social media comms, e-mails to staff etc. – which cover living in South Africa, social and community opportunities, education/ schooling, health/ medical etc.
  • Ensure staff guidance, information and advice is readily available to staff and their spouses/ partners, and is updated regularly and remains accurate.
  • Help contribute to coordination of staff and corporate comms across the British Offices in South Africa, eg, regular notices on staff initiatives, contributing to newsletters or similar publications.

    There are also potential opportunities to work on other initiatives in the Mission, some of which involve training, learning modules and other development support that is provided in full, related to:

  • Diversity & Inclusion, and workplace culture;
  • Mental Health support and Wellbeing initiatives;
  • Learning & Development support to staff;
  • Championing fairness, respect and the Mission’s values, and being available to discuss these with staff;
  • Championing work to promote a workplace that has a zero tolerance towards and tackles proactively bullying, harassment including sexual harassment, and discrimination including gender discrimination.

    Essential qualifications, skills and experience

  • Experience carrying out roles that have required personal resilience and demonstrating empathy / emotional intelligence.
  • Excellence in customer service, support, advice and assistance, including communicating with customers and stakeholders.
  • The highest standards possible of integrity and confidentiality.
  • Multi-tasking, dealing with conflicting priorities, and exceptional time-management and organisational skills.
  • Strong administration skills.
  • Valid Driver’s licence. The jobholder must be able to drive.
  • Language requirements: Must be fully fluent in English, with exceptional written & verbal English.

    Desirable qualifications, skills and experience

  • Experience in working with Diplomats or Expat communities.
  • Experience of financial processes.
  • Experience of working in staff support, welfare or other related areas, or past work in HR.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; British High Commission Jobs in Pretoria Community Liaison Officer Vacancies