Working for us
To find out what it is like working in a council, we think the best people to tell you are those already doing the job:
Marc - Environmental Health Officer
I deal with businesses to ensure their food is safe and hygienic, and investigate complaints about food poisoning and poor hygiene. I also deal with health and safety issues at commercial premises, including complaints and accident investigations, as well as public health issues including nuisance complaints, dirty premises and the regulation of cosmetic piercing and tattooing businesses.
I usually arrive at about 8.30am, check to see what complaints and advice requests I have received. I plan my day, deciding the best order to carry out any inspections and complaint visits. Visits usually involve travelling in my car, and stopping for lunch while I'm out. If I get back to the office before the end of the day I again check for phone messages and emails and catch up on paperwork.
To do the job you need a BSc or MSc in Environmental Health and knowledge of food hygiene and health and safety law and best practice. You also need inspection and risk assessment skills, and people skills (like communication and influencing) to deal with businesses and members of the public to get the best resolution of problems without the need to use our ‘enforcement powers’.
Challenges of the job include ensuring food businesses provide safe food even if their profit margins are tight or inspecting and advising food manufacturers who have unusual or complex processes.
Best parts of the job are helping businesses to produce safe, high quality food, and providing cost effective solutions to problems.
Sarah - Senior Democratic Services Officer
I work in a small team supporting 60 councillors for both Christchurch and East Dorset Councils. What I enjoy most about my job is the variety of work and being at the heart of the decision making process which drives the council forward.
Day to day my work includes organising meetings, putting together reports for committees, and minuting meetings. I also deal with queries from the public about the democratic process of either council. Supporting councillors is key to my role. I help them with things from day to day queries to arranging their training and making improvements to the support service we provide. It is very important that my team has excellent working relationships with the members.
I also help the Elections Team during elections. This helps me with my usual job as I get to see the entire democratic process.
Chris - Internal Auditor and Value for Money Officer
I initially joined Purbeck District Council in 2010 through the Dorset County Council Apprenticeship Scheme. Finding that few of the skills I had developed in my previous job were transferable to auditing I hit a pretty steep learning curve.
As part of the Audit Team, I contribute towards the completion of Purbeck District Council’s 4 Year Audit Plan. The Audit Partnership Manager produces this plan using a risk-based approach and ensures the whole council is subject to appropriate audit review during the 4 year period. This means my job extremely varied as I audit most operations from key financial systems to the council’s environmental impact.
My role involves discussions with members of staff, interrogating systems, sample testing data, looking for opportunities for improvement and making recommendations based on audit findings. Through the Internal Audit Partnership, I also occasionally carry out audits at other councils. Purbeck District Council is also currently supporting my studies to become a chartered accountant with CIPFA.