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Week in the life

A week in the life of a Senior Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer

As a Senior Campaigns and Public Affairs 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:

Every Monday I start by checking the action plan for We’re Right Here and making sure colleagues from the campaign and the supporting national organisations know what they’re supposed to be doing that week.

On Monday morning I have a virtual call with a backbench Labour MP interested in supporting the campaign. We’re joined by one of the community leaders from We’re Right Here. Last week I worked with the Community Builder on the campaign to brief and prep the community leader for this call, so they’re ready to tell their story and land the asks of the campaign. My role is to introduce the discussion and reiterate the points made so that the MP knows clearly what is being asked of them, and then to follow up the call with an email to put that ask in writing. I make a note of the meeting in the campaign’s engagement spreadsheet so I know when to follow up.

PM:

In the afternoon we have our monthly We’re Right Here working group meeting. This is my chance to bring together colleagues from across the national organisations, hold them to account on actions and commitments over the previous month, and facilitate a forward-looking agenda which generates new actions for the month ahead. Last week I worked with the campaign’s co-founder and strategic adviser to devise this agenda and make sure it aligns with the campaign’s chosen direction. The meeting throws up all sorts of new ideas about what we can do to deliver on the campaign’s goals. I make sure the conversation alights on tangible and deliverable actions which individuals across the team know they’re accountable for.

Locality is one of the founding partners and current host organisation of We’re Right Here, the campaign for community power. Over the last two years, the campaign has successfully brought together community leaders around the country to call for a big change in where power lies, via a Community Power Act.

Director of Policy and Engagement

Tuesday

AM:

Today We’re Right Here is putting the finishing touches to a press release which presents new analysis that shows how over-centralised UK government is compared to other countries. I speak to one of the campaign’s newly recruited Community Champions on the team – the leader of an inspiring community organisation in Plymouth – in order to source a quote from them to go on the press release. I then contact the office of one of the MPs who support our campaign and source a quote from them. I then work with colleagues in the campaign Working Group to finalise the release, contributing to their discussions about what press outlets to target with the work and how to present the work on our own digital platforms.

PM:

Later in the day I go through the campaign’s inbox and look for opportunities to increase our impact. I find that a senior council officer from a Midlands district council has signed our community pledge, and get in touch with the officer to see if we can explore ways of working together. They reply immediately, asking how they can support the campaign. I arrange a call with them so we can explore options together.

Wednesday

AM:

Today I’m focused on Locality’s plans for influencing around the general election. We published Building Thriving Neighbourhoods, our election “manifesto”, at our national Convention in November last year. This set out our vision for what a better, more hopeful future could look like with communities in charge – and 5 big policy reforms to help make that happen.

We are now developing these policy proposals with a series of “strategic provocations”. This means thinking of ways to both provide more policy detail and get the ideas talked about in political debates in the run up to the election. So the morning is spent thinking through what further research might need to be done for each of our “big reforms” and what the potential media hooks are to frame a punchy political intervention.

PM:

In the afternoon I join the rest of the Locality Policy and Communications team for a wider conversation to review and keep on track our election influencing plans. This is an opportunity to think about any emerging, reactive opportunities to support our manifesto, whether that’s a news story or upcoming political set piece moment we might be able to frame something around. Today we think through what might be in the upcoming budget and how it might relate to our manifesto asks. After the discussion I go away and work up three ideas for commentary and short research pieces we might develop.

Thursday

AM:

On Thursday morning we have a planning and development session for one of the We’re Right Here campaign’s key activations around the general election. We want to organise a series of ‘in conversation’ events throughout the six-week election period. These would pair community leaders/champions who support the campaign with local political candidates for discussions about what matters to the community and how politicians can work together with local people to make their places better. Local press will be invited and we want to create lots of our own content and stories from these events. The planning session involves colleagues from national organisations who look after We’re Right Here’s communications channels; the Community Builder who holds the relationships with community champions/leaders; the campaign’s strategic adviser who oversees the direction of the effort; and the community leaders who will be taking part in the action. I facilitate the conversation, making sure we cover all necessary points and there are clear actions with people responsible to deliver them.

PM:

Later that day, I head to Parliament for a meeting with the adviser of a key shadow minister who supports our campaign. I update them on what we’re planning in the run up to the election, and ask if the shadow minister is able to take part in a visit to a community organisation to promote the campaign. The adviser is non-committal and lets me know some of the internal political reasons why it is proving hard to commit to the meeting. I promise to follow up with an updated ask of the shadow minister that takes these barriers into account.

Friday

A key part of Locality’s election influencing plans is to work closely with Locality members to build political relationships. We’ve been working to map some key political stakeholders who might be supporters of community power, with where we have Locality members in their constituencies. So today I’m travelling to the south west to join a meeting with a senior MP we’ve organised, hosted by a Locality member. I’ve worked with our members to develop an agenda for the meeting, which showcases both the huge challenges currently facing community organisations and the huge potential for our neighbourhoods if the next government really gets behind community power.

The MP already knows the organisations well, but hasn’t particularly joined the dots between the work they do and their party’s developing policy agenda. So the meeting is successful in strengthening the relationship and gives us some tangible areas to follow up on.