Parliamentary Campaigner, Adfree Cities (London-based)

Contract: Fixed term contract up to 12 months
Hours: Part time, 2 – 4 days per week (negotiable)
Salary: £33,000-£35,000 pro rata (depending on experience)
Location: London
Deadline for applications: Thursday 23rd March 2023, 11.59pm Extended to Friday 24 March, 2pm.
Start date: April – May 2023 (depending on availability)

Are you concerned about how the pressures of corporate advertising and consumerism are impacting our mental health, wellbeing, climate and urban spaces? Do you want to empower local communities to improve their neighbourhoods in line with climate and public health goals? 

We’re looking for a dynamic campaigner who knows how to shape national policy, work in coalitions and build support among MPs. This role offers an opportunity to work with Adfree Cities and like-minded partner organisations as we take the campaigning of our local city groups to Westminster and seek national policy change.

How to apply

  • Send your CV and a covering letter or email, describing why you want this role and outlining how your skills and experience match the job description to hello [at] adfreecities.org.uk.
  • Please also complete the equal opportunities monitoring form. This is anonymous and will not be linked to your application.
  • Interviews will be held online within two weeks of receiving your application.

Adfree Cities

Adfree Cities is a network of network ‘Adblock’ groups in UK cities. We build grassroots power to showcase community arts, nature and ad-free space as alternatives to corporate outdoor advertising. We lobby for policy change at a local and national level, support local groups to oppose planning applications for new advertising screens in their communities and work with allies to raise awareness and reduce the social and environmental harms caused by advertising. In cities such as Bristol we have actively prevented planning permission for over 40 large new digital ad screens and engaged the local council to ban adverts for junk food advertising, gambling and payday loans. Our work is about changing the the public conversation and government polices regarding the role of advertising and consumerism in public space. Other policy wins have been secured in Liverpool, Norwich, Lambeth, Cambridgeshire and North Somerset as well as changes to the ASA’s guidance around misleading environmental claims. See our recent BBC coverage.

We are currently a team of six part-time staff based in Bristol. Read more About Us.

Badvertising is a campaign to stop advertising fuelling the climate emergency. This includes, amongst others, ads and sponsorships for cars, airline flights and fossil fuels. It is a project run by the New Weather Institute and climate charity Possible in partnership with Adfree Cities.

Background to the Role 

While our Adblock groups successfully ‘hold the line’ by blocking new applications for billboards in their local areas, more and more outdoor advertising sites are being built across the UK – in particular, digital ad screens. Digital billboards are not only more intrusive, but have specific impacts relating to human wellbeing, nature and the climate: local residents describe them as ‘dystopian’, they are far more distracting for road users1, cause significant light pollution that harms people’s health and wildlife2, and require an extraordinary use of energy that is incompatible with climate policy goals (one large digital billboard requires as much electricity as 11 average UK homes per year3). The disproportionate placement of outdoor advertising in low income areas of towns and cities also entrenches existing social inequalities. However, current planning legislation governing advertising infrastructure predates digital advertising screens – which has led to their unchecked spread across the UK. National policy change in this area is now long overdue.

Adfree Cities are seeking a dedicated Parliamentary Campaigner with familiarity with the UK’s political landscape who can push for change in national planning legislation, including securing manifesto commitments from political parties in the run up to 2024 General Election. We are seeking change in two areas: tobacco-style legislation to restrict advertising for high carbon products and reforms to planning law regarding how new digital screens are granted planning consent.

Primary responsibilities

  • To lead on national lobbying work to strengthen planning policies regarding the control of outdoor advertisements, particularly digital screens and securing tobacco-style legislation to end advertising for high carbon products.
  • Support local lobbying efforts at a council or London Borough level to implement ethical and low carbon advertising and sponsorship policies and influence local planning guidance.
  • Coordinate political engagement opportunities such party conferences, online public consultations and other relevant events.
  • Targetted engagement regarding the regulation of advertisement content, such as through the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Build relationships and partnerships with allies in political and campaigning spheres.
  • Attend regular Adfree Cities staff meetings and Badvertising project meetings (both remotely) and occasional in-person meetings in Bristol or London, and report back on progress.

Skills and experience required

Recent experience of political campaigning, ideally with experience of successfully implementing policy change.Essential
A desire to work proactively towards positive solutions for climate breakdown and the impact of consumerism.Essential
Confidence in building relationships and networks, both in person and online.Essential
Commitment to the vision and values of Adfree Cities.Essential
Experience of working with MPs in the Houses of Parliament, Select Committees and national lobbying.Desirable
An active knowledge of the UK planning system and related policy.Desirable

What we can offer

  • An opportunity to take the demands of grassroots campaigners and local residents to the corridors of Westminster power to create national change. 
  • Being part of an active Adfree Cities staff team of six people and working with a wider network of close partner organisations such as New Weather Institute, Badvertising and climate charity Possible. Where relevant you will also have the opportunity to connect and learn from like-minded counter-advertising organisations internationally such as Reclame Fossielvrij (Netherlands) and Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire (France).
  • Regular online and in-person support from the Adfree Cities staff team.
  • Flexible remote working. The 2 – 4  days per week can be distributed to suit you. 

Numbered citations above:

  1. Oviedo-Trespalacios et al. (2019): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.01.012
  2. https://adfreecities.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Advertising-and-Light-Pollution-Adfree-Cities-Briefing.pdf
  3. https://adfreecities.org.uk/2019/11/the-electricity-cost-of-digital-adverts/