Senior Policy Officer/Partnerships Development Officer

Policy and project officers undertake a range of strategic duties.  Most will have particular specialisms such as the development and implementation of social inclusion and partnerships policies.  In essence, this means working to ensure that the council is involved with the public and that all its services are freely available to them in an open and accountable way.  The post exists in all types of authority.

Work Environment
This is mainly office-based and may include attendance at council meetings.  Local and regional travel may be necessary.  There is considerable use of a computer.  The contractual hours are varied and may include some evening and weekend work to allow for meetings with internal and external partners in their time.

Daily Activities
Working with the Chief Executive and the Deputy on high policy matters means dealing with complex and sensitive issues on their behalf.  This might include ensuring that complaints are properly dealt with - where equality commitments are being violated or community safety is endangered, for example - which involves working with customer services and the quality and business service and other managers in order to uphold the council's democratic principles.  Central to this relationship between the authority and the public is the partnerships development officer whose remit is to develop partnerships with the police, health providers, community groups, social service agencies and the like.  This entails extensive liaison with other departments, external agencies and community groups, translating policy into action with programmes for bringing communities together: helping them with housing, benefit entitlements, employment, care issues, discrimination and so on.  There will be daily contact with the voluntary sector and community activists. It will involve research and writing reports and policy documents, evaluating and monitoring schemes in consultation with policy projects officers and managing funding needs.  There is considerable talking and negotiation, writing and thinking attached to this post.  Making presentations to various groups inside and outside the council is a continuing activity and is designed to give them accessible information and guidance.  The overall aim is to ensure that the work of the authority and its partners succeeds in giving equal treatment to everybody, no matter what class, status or ethnic group they come from - to reduce social exclusion - through co-operative and collaborative working.  In this way the partnerships development officer determines that the council meets its statutory obligations to provide best practice based upon best principles. Officers will work mainly on their own initiative but in close collaboration with others and be bound by deadlines, though they do not have to complete certain duties every day or each week.  The work also includes special project management of, for example:

  • quality and performance initiatives; 
  • neighbourhood partnerships and renewal strategies; 
  • social clauses in contract procurement; 
  • services for refugees, including helping with access to council facilities; 
  • purchasing arrangements, for example for special needs housing; 
  • local government modernisation.

Skills & Abilities
You would need to have:

  • analytical skills; 
  • communication skills, written and spoken; 
  • understanding of and respect for others; 
  • understanding of local government, local needs and political awareness; 
  • presentation skills; 
  • project management ability; 
  • confidence; 
  • numeracy skills; 
  • interpersonal skills.

Entry Requirements
These are not specific but would require a good standard of education, preferably to degree level or the equivalent.  Experience of working in this area of social/community work and management, especially in local government, is essential.  A candidate would need to show a commitment to continuing professional development to keep abreast of national and European Union policy changes and developments but there is no vocational qualification.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
Promotion prospects are limited but the skills required to do the job are transferable to many other areas of senior management work.  A natural next step upwards would be to chief service manager of one of the directorates.  It may mean that you have to move councils or departments to get ahead, though advancement to assistant chief executive is possible and there are senior posts in central policy units.  The can be many opportunities outside of local authorities in central government, or strategic management posts in the private sector.

Further Information & Services
Local Government Association
Welsh Local Government Association

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

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