Collective Voice Campaigns officer — our approach

Oliver Standing

Thanks for your interest in the Campaigns officer position.

We’re a small organisation with a big mission. We want anyone in England with a drug or alcohol problem to be able to access effective, evidence-based and person-centred support.

As Director I try to play to our strengths as much as possible: we are small but that also means we are agile and can move re-actively to seize opportunity. This requires flexibility. Our work covers everything from organising learning events to informal intelligence gathering conversations with local authority commissioners; writing policy briefings to developing new social media approaches.

As a small organisation collaboration is not just an attractive option but a necessary condition of our flourishing. We’re not big enough to do all the heavy lifting ourselves so we work with partners like the NHS Substance Misuse Providers Alliance, Alcohol Change UK and Making Every Adult Matter to line up shared policy and campaigning priorities.

Collaboration of course means relationship building. Whether we’re drafting a finely-crafted policy submission to a Select Committee, bringing together experts in opioid substitute therapy to share good practice, co-facilitating a focus group with an expert with lived experience of multiple disadvantage or building relationships with senior officials at the Home Office, good people skills are a must.

Meeting at Cranstoun’s Pavilions service in Brighton — and Caroline Lucas MP

We think in systems as a way to navigate complexity. Just think about the different agendas which interact to shape our priorities. Funding and commissioning of substance use services moved in 2012/3 from NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to local government public health teams. What does this paradigm shift mean for treatment and recovery? Who are the brokers of power at a local level and what does it mean that some of them are democratically accountable? And in the domain of policy: is it OK to yoke the issue of drug use to offending if it unlocks essential resource for support? Or does that run the risk of entrenching stigma in society against people who use drugs? And how on earth can we line up policy agenda from the worlds of substance use, homelessness, mental health, criminal justice, domestic abuse, social exclusion and trauma to form a complementary whole which makes the world a better place?

As an organisation working to make the world a better place for some of this country’s most vulnerable citizens, everyone working on CV’s small team must be driven by the engine of genuine commitment to social justice.

Lastly, I am keen to cultivate a culture of learning within the organisation which prizes the pursuit of knowledge, learning and discussion. Anyone working for CV would have ample time to develop their knowledge and skills in both formal and informal ways.

So what does that mean for the officer post? Well, whoever is appointed can look forward to a job that’s varied and intellectually challenging. The right person could use it to turbo-charge their career in policy, advocacy, public affairs, communications or campaigns.

Although a small organisation of just these two roles we are highly visible and enjoy access to senior decision-makers in central government as well as other key actors such as local government commissioners, directors of public health and the royal colleges. As Director I invest a lot of energy in outward facing activity — frequently speaking at conferences and building bridges with people across the relevant parts of the system — which means I need a calm and resourceful right-hand to keep everything ticking over.

Meeting Professor Francisco Thoumi from the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board

A typical week could see you:

  • Working on a policy submission to the Home Office or Department of Health and Social Care outlining, detailing our position on some knotty issues
  • Leading on our social media, tweeting a mix of reactive and proactive content
  • Attending a learning event run by another advocacy charity or Public Health England
  • A coffee with a campaigns or policy officer in a partner organisation to get to know them, or perhaps a junior civil servant
  • Organising and administrating a CV event some months in the future
  • Inputting and reviewing some data to support an ongoing project

On a more practical note we are hosted by the national charity for families affected by drugs and alcohol Adfam, so sit in a busy and friendly office full of people committed to positive social change.

If this sounds up your street then please apply! No applicant will possess every single attribute and experience on the JD — if it speak to you then go for it. And feel free to contact me with any questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Oliver

Oliver Standing

Written by

Wandering around the system tapping my compass.

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