Open broadcasting unit

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Vacancy 3840
Part-time (25 hours)

Based in Milton Keynes

The Open University transforms lives through education. It has become by far the largest university in the UK, now teaching well over 200,000 people every year. We have expanded our activities throughout Europe and our highly rated teaching materials are used by other institutions in many parts of the world. We are consistently achieving high rankings both in research and teaching quality assessments.

Teaching is through the provision of specially designed, high quality, materials encompassing traditional print texts, television, video, CD-ROM, internet and electronic conferencing together with first class personalised tuition, learning feedback and support.
The success of The Open University is due to our outstanding staff. There are around 4,500 staff plus over 7,000 Associate Lecturers. Staff and potential staff are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, regardless of gender, colour, ethnic or national origin, age, socio-economic background, disability, religious or political beliefs, family circumstances, sexual orientation or other irrelevant distinction.
We are also committed to the development of our staff to their full potential through lifelong learning, offering a range of formal and informal training and development activities to ensure that staff are able to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities and to help meet individual and University objectives. Our objective is that all staff undertake a minimum of 5 days' development activity in each year.
The Open Broadcasting Unit (OBU)
For over 35 years The Open University and the BBC have collaborated to produce influential, educational broadcasting. In May 2001, the BBC and The Open University unveiled the future direction of their partnership.
The partnership is now designed to bring high quality programmes made for The Open University to a wider general audience. It aims also to combine the power of broadcasting with the educational potential of new technologies, to encourage greater participation in lifelong learning. Our aim is to make a full contribution to a learning society, building on our past successes to create a modern educational broadcasting partnership that reaches the widest possible audience in the UK and elsewhere. The OBU was established to deliver the University’s part of this vision.
The role of the OBU is:

  • To develop and implement a broadcast strategy and plan future Open University broadcast output;

  • To lead The Open University’s involvement in the BBC/Open University Joint Education Strategy;

  • To work closely with the BBC’s Open University and Partnerships Unit within BBC Learning and with Open University academic units in developing new broadcast and related ideas and opportunities for the University;

  • To support the University’s management of its Broadcasting Strategy, through the Broadcast Planning and Management Committee and other means;

  • To develop and manage the University’s broadcast-related activities, including the website,, and other learning and programme support activity;

  • To manage the University’s broadcasting budget and spend;

  • To work with The Open University Rights Office on contractual arrangements for broadcast activities;

  • To work with Open University Worldwide (OUW) on maximising exploitation potential of broadcast projects wherever strategically appropriate;

  • To manage the contractual and operational arrangements for independent productions of Open University broadcast material;

  • To manage and catalogue broadcast master tapes, original location recordings and paperwork of all the University’s programmes and provide research and access to this and other BBC archives;

  • To undertake market research/audience research and evaluation and other marketing activities, liaising with Open University and BBC marketing to ensure that Open University performance indicators are agreed and met;

  • To liaise with The Open University’s Communications Group on public relations activity relating to broadcast projects;

  • To provide a Viewer and Listener response service.

The Unit is made up of a mixture of Open University and BBC staff.

Manager (Broadcast Project Impact)
Core Duties:
The role of the Manager (Broadcast Project Impact) is to manage those aspects of the relationship with the BBC that relate to performance monitoring and delivery of targets set with regard to Open University brand, reputation, print items and contact arising from broadcasts and related projects.
The post reports to the Head of the Open Broadcasting Unit. It is offered on a part time (25 hours per week) basis. Full Terms and Conditions for academic-related staff will be sent to you with any offer of appointment.
Detailed description
In particular the Manager (Broadcast Project Impact) is required to:

  • Be instrumental in the negotiation of targets between the BBC and The Open University.

  • Provide programme research which measures programme quality and learning effectiveness. To benchmark results and ensure standards are met.

  • Measure programme ratings against slot ratings. To benchmark results and ensure ratings are achieved by providing audience research and slot profiles to aid programme development.

  • Provide maximum brand exposure to the University through programme credits, use of promotions, voice-overs, and other on-screen branding and awareness techniques and use of related websites. To achieve an acceptable level of audience awareness of Open University programme ownership.

  • Achieve improved University image and reputation though programmes, promotions and use of new media (including

  • Ensure OBU supported projects reflect University brand values and communicate these effectively to viewers encouraging positive Open University brand value beliefs.

  • Generate interest in The Open University as an institution through OBU supported projects, encouraging viewers to embark on learning journeys which lead to contact with The Open University and ultimately student registration.

  • Undertake any other duties from time to time agreed with the Head of The OBU.

Key Responsibilities

  • To work with The Open University and the BBC to set challenging but achievable targets which will give The Open University excellent value from its broadcast spend and which fit well within the University’s overall marketing aims.

  • To monitor performance of OBU output against those targets using a variety of measures, identifying statistical data available and analysing appropriately to report on results.

  • To reassess targets annually and adjust where necessary.

  • To be responsible for the annual BBC/Open University trail.

  • To provide slot profiles and audience research to the BBC Learning Executives (OU), and Head of OBU and Open University Marketing and others in both organisations to aid broadcast strategy commissioning and programme development in order to achieve viewer ratings.

  • To provide Quest and Barb programme research. To manage this research (through freelance researchers and associated budgets) and provide regular reports and presentations.

  • To manage Open University end credits and on-screen branding opportunities.

  • To review and assess the potential for BBC radio to achieve Open University broadcast aims.

  • To assess print and other materials linked to Open University programmes, making recommendations for future development, to track progress and success.

  • To provide annual reviews to BBC and Open University staff to assess the success of the broadcast year.

  • To report to the University’s Broadcasting Committee as necessary.

  • To be involved in the commissioning process to assess proposals and make recommendations as necessary.

Person Specification
Please see the attached person specification.

The appointment will be made on the Grade 8 scale for Academic Related Staff (currently £33,779 to £40,335 per annum, pro rata as applicable) depending on qualifications and experience.

Selection process

The selection process will consist of an interview and an activity. References will be taken up. Interviews are expected to be held in the week beginning 8th October 2007.

How to apply

Please include with your application form a short covering letter explaining how you meet the person specification and what you would bring to this role.

Completed application forms and letters should be returned to Chris Ryan, Open Broadcasting Unit, Room 075 Block B, Wilson Building, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA by 20th September 2007
Candidates will be required to provide proof of their eligibility to work in the UK by producing verifiable documents. Details of the required documents will be sent to the successful candidate at the written offer of employment stage
Normally the Open University expects its academic-related staff to retire at the end the September following their 65th birthday. For this reason, applications can only be accepted from people up to the age of 64 years and 6 months at the date of their application. This is line with the Employment Equality (age) regulations 2006.
Internal applicants only - information about references

When completing the ‘Referees’ section of the application form please ensure you specify your Head of Unit as your ‘current employer’, as s/he is responsible for providing this reference or nominating an appropriate alternative referee.

Please be advised that the employing Unit is responsible for requesting references from your referees.
Feedback on recruitment process

If you have any comments or concerns about any stage of the recruitment process, please write to the Human Resources Officer, HR Services, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, who will look into the matter.


This sheet provides a flavour of staff benefits and facilities. Full details will be available when you join us.


We have a strong commitment to providing training and development in and beyond your current role. This includes thorough induction into the organisation and regular reviews of your training and development needs. The objective is that all staff should undertake at least five days’ development activity in each year – this may include attendance at formal courses or other learning e.g. use of self-study material. We invest substantial time and money in our staff development provisions and we waive fees for staff wishing to study our own courses.


The annual leave entitlement is 30 days (33 days for academic, academic-related or research staff) in addition to all bank and other public holidays and an additional 3 days at Christmas when the University is closed.


Staff have the option of contributing to a Final Salary pension scheme and the University contributes around 14% of salary. Full details will be sent with any offer of employment but any preliminary enquiries should be addressed to the Pensions Section, Human Resources (01908) 652431 or 652957.


Staff are normally expected to live within a reasonable travelling distance of their place of work. The University will make a grant for expenses necessarily incurred for removals and disturbance, within certain rules and subject to a maximum payment. Full details will be sent with any offer of employment. The removal grant does not apply on appointments of less than two years duration.


  • Female staff are entitled to maternity/adoption leave for a period of 26 weeks, with full pay for the first 18 weeks, subject to minimum service conditions. Female staff have the right to return to work at any time within 52 weeks of the maternity leave start date, again subject to certain conditions.

  • Male staff are entitled to a maximum of 10 days paid paternity leave in connection with their wife’s/partner’s confinement in any one leave year in addition to normal leave entitlement, again subject to certain conditions.

  • Pre-School Childcare Subsidy: We have a means-tested childcare subsidy scheme. Those eligible are provided with a Childcare Voucher that can be used as part payment for the care of children under 5 years of age. For further information about the scheme contact the Human Resources on (01908) 655050.


  • Nurseries: The Mulberry Bear Day Nursery & Pre-School is a purpose-built nursery on the Walton Hall campus. It is an independent charity supported by The Open University and managed by parents. Open University staff applications are given priority and whilst there are full and part-time places are available now, there may be a waiting list in some age groups. For further information, please telephone Milton Keynes (01908) 653867, email or see their website at

  • There is also a Borough of Milton Keynes nursery at nearby Kingston where The Open University has reserved places. There are a number of other nurseries in the Milton Keynes area.

  • Local Education: Information on local schools can be obtained from the Learning and Development Directorate, Milton Keynes Borough Council on (01908) 253489.


  • Catering facilities providing meals, snacks and drinks

  • Open University Club (offering a number of club and society events, sports and social outlets).

  • Occupational Health Department (located on site at Walton Hall) provides professional advice to individuals and managers on all work related health issues.

  • Natwest: Bank sub branch on site at Walton Hall

  • Shop selling general provision on site at Walton Hall


Smoking is only permitted outside buildings and only then in designated areas. Staff wishing to smoke are expected to do so in their own time.

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