Medway Council’s Head of communications and marketing, Simon Wakeman, discusses the challenges of public sector communications

It’s only 9am, yet the day is in full swing. Simon Wakeman, head of communications and marketing at Medway Council, talks us through his schedule.

Medway Council is a large unitary authority serving 253,000 people in north Kent. Its head of communications and marketing, Simon Wakeman, also writes a public sector communications and marketing blog at

My day

6.15am: Alarm goes off if one of our two young boys hasn’t already paid us a visit. Then it’s a speedy shower, breakfast with the family and a check of my BlackBerry before I head off.

7.20am: Out of the house and settle down for a trip up the M2 to the office in Chatham, usually accompanied by Radio 4’s Today programme for the national news and a quick hop across to BBC Radio Kent for the local headlines.

8.00am: Arrive at the office and make the most of the phone not ringing to review some plans for developing our council magazine – an important part of our communications mix. Three mornings out of five it’s also time to flick through the local newspapers to make sure I’m up to speed with local news and our coverage.

9.00am: The day’s well under way by now, so I try to take a few minutes to catch up with members of the team to find out what they’re working on today. One of the real attractions of working in public-sector communications is the range of areas that need communications and marketing support – from adoption and fostering through to promoting cultural festivals and concerts. That variety means that we need to be working across the full range of communications channels equally effectively.

10.30am: Time for a meeting with colleagues from ICT and my team looking at the council’s website. The website was relaunched last year to make it more user-friendly and help more people transact with the council online. The customer research data we have so far is promising, but there’s always more we can do to help provide public services more efficiently.

12.30pm: Before I know it the morning has passed in a haze of phone calls and conversations with colleagues from across the council about the communications needs of their services. Grab a sandwich while scanning through the BBC News website and my RSS feeds.

1.00pm: I need to update our communications strategy so I take my laptop away from my desk and find a quiet corner to work in. It’s important the work we do is anchored in sound evidence and strategy so that we’re really contributing to what the council wants to achieve.

3.00pm: Take some time to meet with my management team – reviewing the big issues from the past week and taking a look at our forward plan for the next month to work out where we need to focus most. There's a couple of things raised I need to brief senior managers on so I pop in to talk them through face-to-face.

5.15pm: Try to make sure I get away and back home in time to see the boys before their bedtime although sometimes I have an evening meeting to attend or an emerging issue needs sorting out before I can leave.

8.00pm: Boys usually in bed and sound asleep so I answer any emails I haven’t had the chance to deal with during the day and make sure I’m properly prepared for tomorrow. Then it’s time to eat, a bit of TV, Twitter and blog multi-tasking and generally relaxing. Then I can’t resist one last glance at my BlackBerry and the news websites before heading to bed.