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Letter to Bird College about the Principal’s demand that staff include their gender pronouns in their email signatures, as well as the Pride and BLM flags

We wrote to the Principal of Birth College, a performing arts college in South London, after an employee tipped us off about an all-staff email demanding they include their gender pronouns in their email signatures, as well as the Pride and BLM flags. In the letter, we pointed out that this was likely to be a breach of the Equality Act 2010 and Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights – and the Principal quickly backtracked. You can read some coverage of the story in the Daily Mail.

Letter-to-Bird-College

Help us make free speech an issue in the Conservative leadership campaign

Apologies for contacting you again a day after sending you our weekly newsletter. However, I wanted to let you know about the results of an independent opinion poll commissioned by the FSU which shows the public strongly support our five-point manifesto. CLICK HERE to read the press release and see the manifesto. The headline finding is that only two per cent of the public strongly agree that the Government is doing a good job of standing up for free speech. Among 25-49 year-olds, that number falls to one per cent.

In light of our poll, we’re asking those members and supporters of ours that are also members of the Conservative Party to write to the five candidates remaining in the leadership race, urging them to do more to protect free speech. If you’re a Conservative Party member, CLICK HERE to use our new campaigning tool to send the candidates an email. We have created a template and you’re welcome to use that, or feel free to adapt it.

The first time we used this tool was on Tuesday, when we urged our members and supporters to write to their MP asking for the Online Safety Bill to be held over until the Autumn when a new Prime Minister is in place. The following day, the Government announced that the Bill would, indeed, be held over – making it one of the most successful campaigns we’ve ever waged.

A big thank you to all of you who wrote to their MP earlier in the week. Let’s hope that if enough Conservative Party members now contact the five leadership candidates and urge them to stand up for free speech, our second campaign will be equally successful.

Kind regards,

Toby Young

General Secretary

The Free Speech Union is Hiring – Legislative Affairs Director

JOB TITLE:                   Legislative Affairs Director

CONTRACT:                 Part-time employee/contractor – Initially 0.5FTE.

SALARY:                      Subject to experience.

DEPARTMENT:            Legislative Affairs

REPORTS TO:             General Secretary

PURPOSE:                   To oversee the FSU’s parliamentary work – finding MPs and peers to sponsor and amend bills, building support for those bills and amendments (e.g. written and oral briefings given to key decision-makers, placing stories in the press, publishing policy papers), creating networks of MPs and peers, as well as their staff (e.g. by organising dinners and larger social events, as well as WhatsApp groups), liaising with the APPG on free speech, select committees and other parliamentary groups, responding to consultations and inquiries, and building relationships with think tanks and other relevant bodies (e.g. political parties, other pro-free speech organisations like Big Brother Watch and Index on Censorship).

Who are we?

The Free Speech Union is a non-partisan, mass-membership public interest body that stands up for the speech rights of its members and campaigns for free speech more widely. Our in-house legal team, working with our casework team, coordinates legal representation for members in difficulty. Our research and briefings arm publishes briefings on where free speech needs to be better protected. Our events arm organises online and in-person events.

In the last year, the FSU has seen sister organisations set up in the US, New Zealand and South Africa, with further expansion is to come. We have an exciting journey ahead and we’re looking for talented individuals to join our organisation.

The role

As we continue to expand our parliamentary work, we are looking for a Legislative Affairs Director. This individual will help to drive our lobbying, campaigning and advocacy work, with a view to strengthening legislative protections of free speech, seeing off legislative challenges to free speech and persuading ministers and senior officials to protect free speech in other ways, e.g. via departmental guidance.

We are looking for an exceptional individual who is committed to free speech and has experience of working with parliamentarians and government officials to influence policy, e.g. by lobbying and campaigning, helping to steer bills through parliament and amending existing bills.

The ideal candidate will have experience of developing and implementing successful campaigns designed to influence policy, producing tangible results. With a good understanding and experience of Westminster’s legislative, regulatory, and governmental framework, as well as a grasp of how the different regional governments of the United Kingdom work, you will understand how to steer parliamentarians and other policy-makers to achieve legislative change. You will also understand how to drive public and media awareness to achieve this.

You will be used to working with a variety of politicians and officials, and will be a confident and effective communicator, whether talking to members of the public, business leaders, senior members of the government, senior officials or the executives of regulatory bodies. Management experience is preferred.

While we are initially looking for someone to work for two-and-a-half days a week, this will probably increase quite quickly as the FSU grows.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Developing strategies for influencing the government and government officials;
  • Overseeing the amendment of bills going through Parliament from start to finish (involves a detailed understanding of the parliamentary process);
  • Writing briefing materials, including briefing papers, and making sure they reach the right people;
  • Preparing witnesses called to give evidence by parliamentary bodies, e.g. a Public Bill Committee;
  • Being an advocate for bills and amendments the FSU is backing;
  • Overseeing submissions to public consultations and inquiries, e.g. by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Joint Committee on Human Rights;
  • Building a network of pro-free speech parliamentarians and their staff;
  • Helping to put together social events for key government decision-makers;
  • Liaising with think tanks, pro-free speech groups and other relevant bodies seeking to influence public policy;

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Essential
Network of contacts in and around Westminster.
At least two years’ experience of lobbying or similar.
Good writing skills, with an emphasis on correct English spelling, grammar and punctuation, clarity and concision.
Detailed understanding of how the legislative process works in Westminster and the regional governments of the United Kingdom.
Good Microsoft Word and Excel skills.
Agreeable – good interpersonal skills with people at all levels, with a professional and courteous manner.
The ability to work flexible hours which may include weekends or evenings.
Homeworking – must have premises, equipment and systems to enable productive working from home.
Desirable
Post-graduate degree.
Experience of working in government.
Experience in the use of case management systems, e.g. Sales Force.
Knowledge and experience of compliance with all the relevant regulations.

Applicants should send a CV and introductory letter to [email protected]. The FSU is actively recruiting for this role and may withdraw it at its discretion.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Benefits

  • Employer pension contribution of eight percent.
  • The autonomy and flexibility of working from home (we don’t have a permanent office although we do have access to office spaces when needed).
  • Full access to our learning and development programme.
  • 28 paid holidays per calendar year (pro rata) including public holidays (annual allotment increases with tenure).
  • The chance to get together with the entire FSU team face-to-face, at our away days and events.

Probationary Period

This post is subject to the requirements of a three-month probationary scheme for new staff only.

Review of this Job Description

This job description is intended as an outline of the general areas of activity and will be amended in the light of the changing needs of the organisation. To be reviewed in conjunction with the post holder.

The FSU values diversity. We are an equal opportunity employer and consider qualified applicants without regard to Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage or Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex.

The Free Speech Union is Hiring – Director of Data and Impact

JOB TITLE: Director of Data and Impact

CONTRACT: Up to 0.5 FTE initially

SALARY: Up to £51,000 pro rated

DEPARTMENT: Operations

REPORTS TO: Chief Operating Officer

PURPOSE: We are looking for an innovative and proactive Director of Data and Impact to lead and oversee the development and management of SalesForce and our other data systems and take on responsibility for ensuring SalesForce is properly integrated with our other systems and is accessible to our employees and contractors. The work will also include analysing membership and case data with a view to recruiting more members, e.g. via social media, and to inform our research and lobbying work. This is a great opportunity to join a small and young organisation and make the role your own.

LOCATION: Home-based with ability to travel.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Develop, implement and maintain our SalesForce databases and collect accurate data about our members and cases;
  • Produce reports about our members and cases based on accurate data;
  • Ensure data is clean, secure and GDPR compliant;
  • Work with external SalesForce developers to manage and develop SalesForce, making sure it is fully integrated with our website, and keep up to date with developments of SalesForce;
  • Provide SalesForce support and training as needed to staff, including induction for new staff and managing our user accounts and licenses;
  • Work closely with the Director of Digital Content on campaigns and marketing;
  • Collect, analyse and report using data obtained via our campaigns;
  • Identify how to refine and improve the internal management and navigation of our data systems;
  • Other reasonable duties that may be required;
  • Benchmark our services to members against similar membership organisations.

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Essential

  • Must be able to work flexible hours as we are not a typical 9-5 organisation;
  • Educated to degree level or above;
  • Excellent analytical and numerical skills with the ability to analyse and interpret data in accurate and concise ways, including ways that inform the organisation’s overall strategy;
  • Good overall IT skills;
  • Excellent communication skills which will enable you to collate, analyse and communicate data-based information;
  • Experience in operating and developing SalesForce:
  • Experience in conducting research, producing data-rich reports and interpreting data;
  • Good understanding of the importance of managing and processing data in a secure, compliant and accurate way;
  • A practical and methodical approach to solving problems;
  • Well organised with good attention to detail;
  • Passionate about free speech;
  • A can-do attitude; and
  • Mastery of spelling, punctuation and grammar in written work.


Desirable

  • Experience of website building, including a working knowledge of WordPress and WooCommerce;
  • Familiarity with digital advertising; and
  • Ability to code (PhP).

APPLICATION PROCESS

Please submit your application including your CV and a cover letter of no more than 750 words that answers the following questions:

• Why do you want to work for the FSU?

• When can you start?

• What is your salary expectation?

We’re keen to fill the position quickly so will begin the interview process on a rolling basis.

Applicants should send a CV and introductory letter to [email protected].

The Free Speech Union is Hiring – Communications Officer

JOB TITLE: Communications Officer

CONTRACT: Up to 0.4 FTE initially to full time

SALARY: Up to £30,000 pro rated

DEPARTMENT: Communications

REPORTS TO: General Secretary

PURPOSE: We are looking for a person with a broad set of communication skills who can oversee our written output. Responsibilities will include writing, commissioning and editing research papers, as well as FAQs and briefing documents. The research papers and FAQs will be published on our website, but the briefing papers will be circulated to key decision-makers. In addition, you will be responsible for writing FSU responses to government consultations and writing weekly and monthly newsletters for our members and supporters, as well as writing articles promoting our research papers. This is a great opportunity to join a small and young organisation and make the role your own.

LOCATION: Home-based with ability to travel.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Write, commission, edit and, if necessary, rewrite research papers on free speech issues for publication on our website;
  • Write articles for newspapers, magazines and periodicals to promote our research papers;
  • Help the General Secretary write articles and come up with quotes for newspapers, etc. and brief the General Secretary before media appearances when requested;
  • Write FAQs on free speech issues of interest to our members, e.g. how to find out if a ‘non-crime hate incident’ has been recorded against your name and, if it has, how to get it expunged;
  • Write briefing papers on legal and policy areas with a free speech dimension for circulation to key decision-makers, e.g. the Online Safety Bill;
  • Write the FSU’s responses to government consultations on proposed changes to the law that will affect free speech, e.g. banning conversion therapy;
  • Keep abreast of all the free speech news and suggest social media posts to the Director of Digital Content and Marketing;
  • Write the weekly email newsletter, which is a round-up of that week’s free speech news, for distribution to members;
  • Write the monthly email newsletter, which is a round-up of the FSU’s activity in the past month, for distribution to members and supporters;
  • Other reasonable duties that may be required.

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Essential

  • Must be okay to work flexible hours as we are not your typical 9-5 organisation;
  • Excellent communication skills with superb knowledge of the English language, including taking pride in accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar;
  • Familiarity with the lingua franca of academia, e.g. able to read a research paper in a social science journal, and the ability to translate research findings into plain English;
  • A passion for free speech and a broad understanding of the complexities of free speech issues, including the point of view of those who don’t value free speech as highly as us or don’t believe it is in peril;
  • Experience in writing polemically about complex issues across a range of different publications, from periodicals to tabloids;
  • Keen interest in free speech stories in the mainstream media and social media;
  • Ability to work quickly to deadline and at a moment’s notice without a significant decline in quality of written work;
  • Broad knowledge of social media;
  • A can-do attitude; and
  • Excellent attention to detail in written work, e.g. could be employed as a copy editor.


Desirable

  • Experience of working in the Communications Department of a similar organisation;
  • Front-of-house broadcast media experience; and
  • Some understanding of public policy/legislative affairs.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Please submit your application including your CV and a cover letter of no more than 750 words that answers the following questions:

• Why do you want to work for the FSU?

• When can you start?

• What is your salary expectation?

We’re keen to fill the position quickly so will begin the interview process on a rolling basis.

Applicants should send a CV and introductory letter to [email protected].

The Free Speech Union is Hiring – Director of Digital Content and Marketing

JOB TITLE: Director of Digital Content and Marketing

CONTRACT: Up to 0.8 FTE initially to full time

SALARY: Up to £51,000 pro rated

DEPARTMENT: Communications

REPORTS TO: General Secretary

PURPOSE: We are looking for a proactive, hands-on person with a broad set of digital communication skills who can take ownership of the strategy, execution and delivery of all our digital content and marketing. That includes our website (WordPress and WooCommerce) and newsletters (Mailgun), as well as looking after our social media channels. This is a key role in ensuring successful outreach to both existing members as well as potential new members. This is a great opportunity to join a small and young organisation and make the role your own.

LOCATION: Home-based with ability to travel.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Review, plan and deliver our digital content and marketing strategy for our communication content in order to engage potential members and recruit new ones;
  • Lead content creation in-house as well as commission external content, including videos and graphics;
  • Manage external content producers to deliver to briefs, budget and deadlines;
  • Extend and amplify the reach of content by approaching, cultivating and formalising relationships with content producers;
  • Oversee the re-development of our website and its integration with Salesforce;
  • Work closely with our Director of Data and Impact to monitor, manage and measure the impact of our digital campaigns;
  • Manage our relationships with our Website tech support team;
  • Keep up to date with current digital developments and trends and implement where applicable;
  • Proactively drive social media initiatives and content across all our digital channels;
  • Post several times a day on all our social media channels; and
  • Other reasonable duties that may be required.

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Essential

  • Must be okay to work flexible hours as we are not your typical 9-5 organisation;
  • Significant experience in planning, creating and developing content for websites and social media;
  • Excellent understanding of the principles of storytelling through digital outlets including social media;
  • Ability to turn complex ideas into compelling content;
  • Familiarity with Salesforce, WordPress, WooCommerce, Mailgun, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office;
  • Excellent communication skills with superb knowledge of the English language, including taking pride in accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar;
  • Broad knowledge of social media;
  • Project management experience, including the ability to set priorities and work to tight deadlines;
  • A can-do entrepreneurial attitude;
  • Excellent attention to detail and great organisational skills; and
  • Up-to-date knowledge of digital best practices across different platforms.


Desirable

  • Experience with digital marketing, e.g. Facebook advertising;
  • Ability to code; and
  • Experience designing websites.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Please submit your application including your CV and a cover letter of no more than 750 words that answers the following questions:

• Why do you want to work for the FSU?

• When can you start?

• What is your salary expectation?

We’re keen to fill the position quickly so will begin the interview process on a rolling basis.

Applicants should send a CV and introductory letter to [email protected].