The day starts with my morning commute. Usually this would not be worth mentioning, but being based in Whitehall means that you spend most days pushing past crowds of tourists in the impressive shadow of Big Ben. Even as I dodge the selfie sticks, I know I am lucky to work here!
When I get in to the office, there is nearly always an ongoing policy issue to attend to. Maybe a briefing needs to be redrafted, a submission needs to be put together, or the Minister’s Private Office has requested information. The policy will relate to a political decision that needs to be made with respect to the programme we work on- anything from funding to strategy. In many cases, we research options that are never chosen, but this is all part of the process.
Then we have the day to day programme management. This includes performance evaluation, risk and issue management, and stakeholder engagement. The delivery on the ground is done entirely by external providers, so we spend time analysing performance against public targets to which our Ministers are being held to account, and supporting as best we can.
A key stakeholder for our work is the general public. We often have letters or Freedom of Information requests to answer, and Parliamentary Questions give MPs the chance to quiz Ministers on their departments, so we supply lines for this. We support some external comms activity, and I like to get involved with the social media engagement, composing content for the official Twitter accounts. This is all part of the way Government is held to account, and is taken very seriously, with strict deadlines.
Then there are the unusual days when I am not in the office! I may be visiting the programme, attending other events such as workshops or conferences, or accompanying the Minister on visits of his own. Often, the goal is not just to see the programme in action, but to engage with the public. We may also be meeting with officials from other government departments, to ensure effective and co-ordinated policy.
Between all these different areas of work, I have plenty of scope to take on a wide variety of responsibilities. I am part of a small team, and, particularly when a crisis of some sort occurs, we all pitch in where we can. Certainly I feel that I am constantly challenged, and every day is different! I am doing this role as a secondment from the CDC, and it has been quite different to my other consulting placements, but it has given me a level of insight into the public sector which will serve me well in future.
Charlotte Roberts is on the CDC graduate scheme as part of the Strategy and Operating Model team. She is currently on secondment to the Cabinet Office.