Strategic Engagement case studies

In this case study, a colleague working in strategic engagement and partnerships tells you more about her work.

Jane Sansbury, Communications Specialist – Land & Water, Environment Agency, Warrington

What do you do?
I’m responsible for a range of JaneSnational and local communications from awareness to action. I often work with technical staff to help communicate issues that can be abstract, theoretical and challenging in a way that is meaningful to the public.

A key focus of my work is local engagement and partnership working – making sure people are involved and have their say on the Environment Agency plans.

One day a week I also work on ministerial engagement – coordinating contributions to Parliamentary Questions; preparing briefings for ministers from our sponsoring department – the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); and organising ministerial visits.

Why do you like working in government communications?
I love the autonomy I get designing and delivering local engagement. I enjoy the dedication and passion of working with other committed communicators within the Agency and across the Government Communication Service. There’s also an excellent framework for professional development so I’m building up the skills I need to do my job today and into the future.

What issues/campaigns do you work on?
I work on the Environment Agency’s Rod Licence campaign so I’m focused on recruiting and retaining customers and also on upselling – encouraging customers who have bought a day licence to buy an annual one. People are often surprised that government communicators often work in a commercial context.

I’m also involved in a range of other campaigns to do with water, river-basin management and the Environment Agency’s flood risk management plan. Anyone who has read or watched the news will know that flooding is a major issue and frequently on the front page.

It’s important that our work helps the public get involved and have their say. We work in a fast-paced environment so I’m constantly thinking on my feet.

What is your greatest achievement within government communications?
Incident management. We’ve had several significant floods in the north of England, such as Carlisle in 2005 and Cockermouth in 2009. As a result, we adapted and developed our communications and have won awards for how we manage crises and our communications response. Our work helps people protect themselves, their homes and their businesses – there can’t be many tasks more important than that.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I took on an allotment that was in a terrible state. It’s on the Mersey flood plain and is now protected because of good work done by the Environment Agency.

It took me nearly two years to get the plot fully safe and useable because of the large amount of broken glass we discovered on the land but I’m now self sufficient in fruit and veg for 10 months of the year: colleagues are partial to my special beetroot and chocolate cake!