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A week in the life of the SCOAF Business Team

People in a team

SCOAF as an organisation is small – only 25 posts, of which eight form the business team. The team is led by the Head of Office and supported by a Communications Officer, Statistician, Business Manager, Policy Manager, Executive Assistant and an Admin Support role. With such a variety of roles within the business team, it is never dull!

So what is a standard week like for each member of the business team? It can be frustrating, challenging, exhausting, fun but also rewarding.

The Communications Officer’s role can vary week on week, depending on the task. You never quite know when SCOAF will be featured in the press, which can impact the organisation’s reputation, so they constantly monitor information and prepare lines to take. The Ombudsman’s outreach work is an integral part of her role that requires a lot of forward planning by communications – determining where visits have been planned, what promotional material is needed, and how to advertise for maximum impact. Similarly, SCOAF’s social media presence is key to raising awareness of the Ombudsman and her powers, so planning content is essential to ensure that posts are interesting and relevant. A lot of work also goes into designing promotional material, drafting presentations, maintaining the website and raising awareness of the office. In addition, communications monitor all feedback received – whether on the website, social media or the application forms – every comment or suggestion you make is read and assessed. Then changes are made, where possible, to improve the overall experience we provide to you.

The Executive Assistant has the task of supporting the Ombudsman. It involves ensuring meetings and visits are meticulously planned and that briefing packs are produced in a timely manner, so the Ombudsman has everything she needs to carry out her job effectively. But as you can imagine, when dealing with senior officials across Defence and wider, there will often be last-minute changes, so no two days are the same, and you never quite know what’s in store when you log in, in the morning. The Executive Assistant also supports the wider team by circulating important memos, taking meeting notes, arranging internal catch-ups, and booking essential training to ensure maximum attendance.

The Business Manager does a range of tasks. They check our invoices, pay the bills, monitor expenditure, act as our security point of contact, purchase & procure items, manage our IT infrastructure and accommodation, organise business continuity, and acts as the Secretary at SCOAF’s management boards. The list goes on, but this provides a window into their type of work day in and day out. While it can be frustrating to deliver some big projects in accommodation and IT, it is rewarding when everything comes together.

The Statistics Manager constantly analyses numbers and produces charts and tables. They are responsible for capturing data and identifying trends and themes to understand how SCOAF and the Service Complaints system are working. It adds up to a drumbeat of regular outputs. Each month, the statistician produces performance figures shared with the Ombudsman and her senior management team. Quarterly and annual statistics are also shared with the Armed Forces Principal Personnel Officers and Chief Defence People published on the website. The data captured is only possible with quality record-keeping and surveys, including regular meetings with the Services to better understand what data they hold and what the statistics tell us. Working in the statistician function can be satisfying as it allows them to identify trends that can inform positive change.

The Policy Manager has responsibility for drafting and issuing all SCOAF policies. They also monitor recommendations made both in the Annual report and SCOAF investigations. In addition, they act as a conduit for legal issues between SCOAF and the Government Legal Department.

The Head of Office maintains oversight of everything within the team to ensure everyone works together to meet the in-year priorities listed in the Business Plan and support the Ombudsman in meeting the strategic objectives.

The above is a small “snapshot” of the work that the business team does weekly. While it may be a busy team with several challenging priorities, it’s an excellent team to be part of.