A day in the life of CAP’s Social Policy Manager

Social Policy Manager at CAP celebrates a policy win with the Policy and Research team outside the Houses of Parliament.
Kiri Adams

Social Policy Manager

What our Social Policy Manager does in a day to fight poverty! 

What do you do?’ is a question we humans love to ask one another. I’ve recently moved to a new city and so I’ve been asked this question a lot more than usual. When I tell people I’m a Social Policy Manager at a national debt advice charity I’m often met with blank stares. Not many people know what a Social Policy Manager does. 

In a nutshell, CAP’s Social Policy Manager engages with government and external organisations to represent CAP and its clients, advocating for better policies and outcomes for those in poverty and debt. As well as building relationships, communicating through media and reports, and coordinating CAP’s policy positions on current topics. But what does that look like day to day? 

8:30 am

Cup of tea? Check. Laptop? Check. Notepad and pen? Check check.

I am a remote worker, which means I don’t work from CAP’s lovely head office in Bradford. So a usual day sees me making the long commute to my office, also known as the spare room. Most weeks I will spend a day or two travelling the country, often to the head office in Bradford or to Westminster in London. Today I’m at home and quite enjoying the fact my alarm didn’t wake me up at 5:30 to be in London by 9.

8:45 am — Live Worship

A day working at CAP always starts in prayer and worship. It is such a privilege to spend time together each day, reminding ourselves why we work here and giving God the glory.

9 am- External Affairs team stand-up

The Policy and Public Affairs section are a part of CAP’s External Affairs team, and on a Monday morning we will meet together to talk through what we’re working on that week. This week most of our team are on the road, some meeting with banks, others presenting to energy firms and my section has a meeting with an MP.

9:30 am — Checking the to-do list

Looking at my to-do list there’s a few things I want to cross off today, one being Ofgem’s latest call for input seeking views on Affordability and debt in the domestic retail market’. One of my jobs is making sure CAP is adding its voice into relevant Government policy, providing evidence from our client base and trying to shape changes in a favourable way. It sounds boring, but I promise you, it’s not. 

I’ve also got to plan CAP’s latest campaign action coming out this summer. We are so blessed to have thousands of supporters across the country who want to see an end to UK poverty. There is power in numbers, so if you want to use your voice and help bring an end to the grip of poverty in the UK, you can join our campaigning community here.

10:30 am — Debt advice sector conference call

I log into my first external call of the day (removing my dressing gown to give myself a more professional look). I regularly meet with others in the debt advice sector, where we can share intel and work together on things. 

Today’s call is about Council Tax debt collection, which is sadly some of the worst we see. Our latest research showed that those falling behind on household bills are very likely to be struggling to survive on a low income. The ways councils collect debt is harsh and doesn’t take this into account. 

For example, did you know that if you miss one Council Tax payment you suddenly owe the full year’s payment in one go? Also did you know that in England you can be put in prison if you don’t pay your Council Tax (though it’s worth noting this is a very rare outcome)? We are working hard to change some of these policy decisions to help those who simply can’t afford to pay.

12:00 pm — Write to an MP

I log off the call to hear that our CEO has made a connection with a key MP, and so we want to jump on this opportunity to make a connection. (Ofgem’s call for input will have to wait!) I quickly scrabble together a letter to the MP, raising the issue of Government debt collection and requesting a meeting to talk further. Exciting! Join me in praying that they reply.

13:15 pm — Lunch

A quick bite to eat and a walk around the block, and then I’m back to my desk!

14:00 pm — Webinar

I hop onto a useful training webinar, exploring how to engage with Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs). I’m sure it’s not escaped your notice that we’re soon due a General Election. As a new Government forms, my team’s job is to build strong connections with relevant Ministers and influential MPs, but we also have hundreds of CAP services based in constituencies and supporters across the UK who can join us in calling for political parties to put ending poverty on their agenda. I make some notes and ping them off to my team.

15:00 pm — Media interview…?

Whilst I was on the webinar an interview request came in from a large radio station on the latest employment figures that came out at lunchtime. I scrabble together CAP’s thoughts, stats and policy asks only to find out the radio station dropped the story. This happens a lot in the media, most requests are last minute and often cancelled — but we want to remain ready in case there’s an opportunity to get CAP’s name out and forward our calls for change.

16:00 pm — Wrapping up the day

Final hour of the day and I’ve neglected my emails and instant messages. I’m off to London tomorrow for a couple of meetings and so I’ve got to make sure I’ve got my tickets and packed my bag too. A day in the life of a Social Policy Manager is never boring and is never the same, and you always need to be ready to flex and change plans. 

But I think I have the best job at CAP, and here’s why. I get to speak to people who experience debt and poverty, to magnify their voices where I can and advocate on their behalf. I get to present evidence and ideas to some of the UK’s most influential people, to influence them to change things to make life better for households on low incomes across the country. Change comes slowly, but let me tell you, when it does it’s the best feeling ever! So why not join us in our mission to end UK poverty? Campaign with us today.