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A day in the life of an Communications and Consultation Support Officer

Jane Voller

My name is Jane Voller. I am a Communications and Consultation Support Officer and work in the Central Services department at East Devon District Council. I have worked for the Council in this role for two years.

My first job, many years ago, was as a secretary in an advertising agency in London’s West End. It was fast-moving, fun and gave me an insight into how major companies succeed by investing in their brand with good marketing and communications. My interest in public relations and communications developed from there. I have had no specific training in this area but have worked with people who have taught me a great deal.

Following that role I worked for Midland Bank for 17 years, assisting with the running of their major sponsorship programme and then spent three years at Surrey Police as an internal communications officer which gave me the opportunity to learn more about the importance of good internal communication.

When I decided to move from Surrey to the West Country, the role at EDDC seemed an ideal one for me as it encompassed all the roles I had undertaken to date and gave me the opportunity to broaden my experience with the media.

In my role at EDDC I read the daily papers and highlight any comments made about the Council, which are then forwarded to the department concerned. I write press releases which may be about a new exhibition opening at the Council-owned Thelma Hulbert Gallery, drop-in surgeries for tenants or the announcement of funding for a countryside project. My role is to promote the Council as positively as possible in all situations.

I prepare a monthly bulletin which goes to all members of staff, updating them on important issues they need to know about and bringing items of interest to their attention.

I update the news items on the Council’s internet home page. These are based on press releases that we have issued and are always accompanied by a suitable image. This is often the first contact someone will have with EDDC, so it is important to have the information clearly laid out, and easy to find.

The other main aspect of my role is assisting the Engagement and Funding Officer in her work. Different parts of the Council, at various times, need to find out if the service they are giving is working or if there are things they could be doing better. We do our best to seek the views of the people most affected by a particular service. Consultation is also about communication so the two roles are inextricably linked. We need to talk to people to get their views and we need to feed back to them once we have made changes to let them know what we have done and why.

My working day is very varied. I have to be creative, finding images for the website, getting involved in promotional material for the Council and thinking of innovative ways to involve residents in consultation activities. I love writing and feel strongly that the basis of a successful organisation is good communication – both external and internal.

My day starts at around 9.00 am and finishes at around 5.30 pm but, sometimes, given the nature of the role, I will still be in the office at 6.00 pm. The Communications and Improvement team is a small one so career opportunities in my given areas of work are few. However, the experience of dealing with members of the public, of working to tight deadlines, of communicating clearly at all levels would stand you in good stead for a number of other roles within the Council.

Good Luck in your chosen career!!

Page last updated on 28 January 2015