Policy Officer

Policy officers contribute to the effective management of a council by helping to develop and implement strategies, objectives, and council-wide policies and procedures. They also review and monitor existing strategies and procedures to ensure consistency across the council.

Work Environment
Work is mostly undertaken in an office environment. Some travel to attend meetings within the authority is required.

Daily Activities
Policy officers usually work closely with the chief executive, senior officers and elected members on specific projects. Duties vary dependent upon style of the council, and/or size of the policy unit. Tasks may include all or some of the following:

  • conducting detailed investigations into the council, its policies, practices and procedures, recommending changes or improvements to elected members and/or the chief executive on key issues and problem areas;
  • researching and evaluating the corporate impact of proposed/new legislation (both UK and European) and advising chief officers and/or elected members on requirements and strategies for implementation;
  • working jointly with other professional staff within the council in the strategic planning processes and in the development of systems for effective control etc.;
  • providing direct support to elected members, initiating effective training programmes and ensuring liaison through the relevant committees/working groups;
  • ensuring that the councils' services are responsive to community needs and that equal opportunity issues are identified;
  • developing and maintaining effective external working relationships with such organisations and agencies as regional development agencies, regional chambers of commerce, housing associations;
  • co-ordinating and facilitating a corporate strategy for community consultation and partnership and ensuring that policies and services are researched, developed and reviewed in consultation with service users and community organisations;
  • policy officers may also have direct responsibility for specific strategies of the authority such as health and safety.

Skills & Interests
Ability to communicate with staff at all levels, organisation skills and analytical skills are all essential.

Entry Requirements
Although there are no statutory entry requirements, most policy officers hold a degree or equivalent level qualification. Degrees in Public Administration and Social and Economic Research are particularly relevant.  They require a good understanding of local government - its structure, how local authorities operate in practice, and the political process.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
In recent years there has been an increase in policy officers working in councils.

Further Information & Services
Chartered Association of Business Administrators www.charteredaba.org

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales (www.careerswales.com/) or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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