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Rising to the communications challenges

Rising to the communications challenges: from cybersecurity to gender pay; crises to casual employment is UCEA’s annual conference which brings together the sector’s HR and communications specialists to examine shared communications challenges surrounding sector-specific issues.

This year’s conference takes place against a background of ongoing change. From an HR perspective these range from changes to pensions contributions and benefits to pay, reward and employment issues. Not least is the challenge of managing an institution’s reputation against current employment hot topics such as the gender pay gap and casual employment contracts. 

The conference focusses on wider reputational management and staff student and stakeholder welfare. It also considers brand trust issues that are easily disrupted in the 24/7 online world.

The conference will be chaired by Professor Nick Petford, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Northampton and Chair of UCEA’s Communications Strategy Working Group.

Confirmed presentations to date are: 

  • Abi Kelly, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs, Newcastle University on Cybersecurity – protecting your brand when a phishing website pretends to be you
  • Rob Gower, Head HR Services and Steve Thompson, Interim Deputy Director of Corporate Communications and Head of Digital, University of Sheffield on Contracts in HE: Are fair front page comparisons being made?
  • Dr Duncan Brown, Head of HR Consultancy, Institute of Employment Studies (IES) on Communicating pay gaps
  • Amy Causley, Head of HR Policy and Employee Engagement, and Sally Middleton, Gender Equality Officer, University of Liverpool on Exploring, explaining and eliminating the Gender Pay Gap - a work in progress
  • Hannah Burchell, Associate Director of Marketing & Communications, University of Salford on Crisis communications – putting student and staff welfare first
  • A senior speaker from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

The conference will run between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm (registration from 10 am). A fully timed programme can be found below:

Rising to the communications challenges - programme

Prices and booking processes:

Delegates from UCEA member institutions

book one place for £275 or two for £499

If you work at a UCEA member institution and wish to attend this meeting please book places by using the online booking form.

If two or more colleagues from an institution are attending, separate booking forms will need to be completed. Please use the 'comments' field on the booking form to advise us of the name of the 'linked' attendee.

Delegates from other HEIs and HE sector agencies

If you work for an HEI not in UCEA membership or another HE sector agency please email for more details about attending.