Why my new role at Essex County Council ticks all the boxes

We’ve had a few new faces join the Communications and Marketing department lately and it’s been really exciting to welcome new talent to the team.

We sat down for a cup of tea (on Teams) with Jessica Riley, Campaigns Advisor, to learn about her experience at Essex County Council so far.

Hey Jessica, tell us a bit about yourself!

Hi! I joined Essex County Council as a Campaigns Advisor in the middle of September. I come from a marketing, PR and digital communications background, having had roles in education and the private sector.

It’s only been a few months but I’m already loving the variety of working with so many different people. I’m getting to work with lots of public sector partners, other marketing professionals and officers at different levels across the council.

How come you chose to join Essex County Council?

I really wanted to work somewhere I could make a difference, so going back to the public sector was a great next step for me. People need our support and it’s our responsibility to deliver strategic communications and marketing that help them access our services.

I am enjoying the opportunity to bring positive change with the Communications and Marketing team. I feel like the campaign work I’m involved in is bringing awareness to important topics such as children’s mental health and domestic abuse.

I already knew of Essex County Council and being from Colchester, there was the appeal to work locally on issues that may affect me and my communities. I looked up its communications and marketing strategy and what stood out is that everything they do is underpinned by residents’ needs. The level of detail available to understand our audience and how we use that to tailor communications and create positive impacts was definitely attractive.

It ticks all the boxes, really!

How have you found your role in the Campaigns team so far?

I am really enjoying it so far – no two days are the same and I’m involved in lots of different aspects of projects. I get to plan activity and steer campaign development as well as be creative, which is a great balance for me.

I’m looking forward to doing more of the consultancy aspect too. Outside of our department, there are communications and marketing professionals across council services. They might come to us with a query about a campaign or advice on how to reach an audience. It’s rewarding to have the opportunity to support them, share insight and work through the challenges they’re facing together.

What campaigns are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on two major campaigns – children and young people’s mental health and domestic abuse. I was really pleased to be offered the chance to work on these as they’re incredibly important issues.

So far, I’ve been getting up to speed with research and insight, developing our strategies and getting to know a wide range of people involved.

I’m planning for the next year of activity and helping to develop a joined-up approach to tackle these issues across the county. It’s important we tap into the expertise of partners and stakeholders, so I’m working closely with our Mental Health Commissioning Team, the countywide Children’s Mental Health Steering Group, and the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Partnership.

How has Essex County Council been different to your previous workplaces?

I’ve found the way we work in collaboration to be interesting. We work in multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) where we pull members of each sub-team into a campaign. That means on a single campaign, you’ll have someone leading on social media, design, content and external communications, for example.

Every person I’ve met at the council is an expert in their field so MDTs give us the opportunity to share knowledge and learn from each other, but also to trust our own expertise. It’s such a transparent and collaborative way of working. We feedback openly, challenge each other and continually review and develop our campaigns together.

How have you found the culture here at the council?

There’s such a positive culture, particularly within our department but also across the council. Everyone is open and approachable, and I’ve felt welcome and am enjoying getting to know the team.

Thanks Jessica – welcome to the team!

If you’re from Essex County Council, learn more about what Jessica and the Campaigns team do and how they can support you in the Communications and Marketing Toolkit.

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