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Week in the life

A week in the life of a Locality Policy Projects Officer

As a Locality Policy Projects Officer, no one week is the same. Here is a snapshot of my diary to give you an idea of what the role entails.


Monday

AM:

Our team starts the week with a Weekly Planning Meeting every Monday at 9.45am. This includes an opening slot to discuss key external affairs activities for the week with our Chief Executive. Then we get into the detail of the team’s upcoming work, looking at our priorities and capacity, checking in on key project progress, considering any potential tender opportunities we might want to develop, and discussing anything else we need team support with.

After catching up on emails, I join a meeting with Policy teammates and colleagues from our Services team to discuss plans for our upcoming year of work on the government’s VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance (HW Alliance). We’ve been part of the programme since 2021 and have developed some great research-led policy recommendations for the health systems to better integrate and benefit from the work of local community organisations.

PM:

In the afternoon, I join our monthly “All Aboard” meeting for colleagues across our central Policy, Membership, and Communications teams. These are a great opportunity to catch-up, share what we’re working on, find opportunities for collaboration, and tackle any knotty problems that we’ve encountered.

Tuesday

AM:

On Tuesday morning, I join a team meeting for a project we’re running for South Gloucestershire Council. Alongside colleagues from our Services team based in the area, and our commissioner at the council, we are helping local partners to produce a new Asset-Based Community Development framework to guide the way they work together.

This type of project is a key part of our thought leadership and local influencing work. As a leading player in the development of communities policy in England, we work with local public sector partners across the country to turn our recommendations into real-world action.

PM:

I have some solo working time on Tuesday afternoon, and there are two things on my to-do list.

Firstly, I need to plan the upcoming meeting of our Keep it Local Network – this group of 18 trailblazing councils have signed up to the Keep it Local principles to invest in, support, and commission local VCSE organisations to deliver impactful local services. We meet with the Network quarterly – it provides a great space for the councils to share ideas and examples of working this way, and to discuss common obstacles and opportunities.

Secondly, I need to complete the first draft of the HW Alliance research report I’ve been working on with NHS England’s Health Inequalities team. It explores how local health systems can work with local VCSE organisations to produce culturally competent and inclusive services that more effectively tackle health inequalities.

Wednesday

AM:

I’m working in the office today. We’re based in Shoreditch, close to Old Street station, and there’s a great coffee shop next door to get my energy up for the day!

As we head towards a general election, the Policy and Communications team meet every other Wednesday morning to discuss the progress of our influencing plans. We published our manifesto – Building Thriving Neighbourhoods – last November, and since then we’ve been developing a serious of “strategic provocations” to showcase what our policy proposals could mean for communities under the next government.

PM:

In the afternoon, the Policy team meets again to discuss a project we’re developing to research the role of community organisations in tackling racial inequity within neighbourhoods. We need to refine a methodology and produce an initial project proposal this week, so I finish the day by drafting some suggested research activities.

Thursday

AM:

My attention turns back to our health and wellbeing work on Thursday. I start by meeting the policy leads from NHS England for the research report I was finalising on Tuesday. They’re really pleased with the first draft and have some ideas of how we can turn in into other resources that will be as relevant and engaging as possible for those with health inequalities briefs across the NHS.

PM:

In the afternoon, we have our quarterly Steering Group meeting for our HW Alliance work. This is a group of 15 Locality member organisations representing diverse communities across England. It is vital that all our policy development work is driven by the needs and insights of our members on the ground. This Steering Group helps us plan out our work on the HW Alliance, feeds into our research, helps respond to requests for insight from the Department of Health and Social Care, and connects us with their local health systems to test out our policy recommendations.

Friday

AM:

Friday is quieter, meeting-wise. I use the time to get my head down and plan for the upcoming Climate Specialist Group that I run with colleagues in the Membership team.

Specialist Groups are an important part of our member offering. We bring together community organisations who are working on, on just interested in, specific topics. The Climate groups meets quarterly to share ideas for producing successful community-led climate work in local places. One of our members in Bristol, Ambition Lawrence Weston, is building the UK’s first ever community-owned wind turbine!

PM:

I finish off the week by meeting with colleagues from the Comms team to plan the launch of my HW Alliance research report. We have a busy comms calendar and need to make sure we can get all the drafts to our external designer so he can produce the final documents in time for the online launch in three weeks’ time.