My first 2 weeks at Essex County Council

John Newton, Content Designer at Essex County Council Service Design team with James Pallister

“It’s all bins, isn’t it?”

“No, that’s district and borough councils, except, Southend and Thurrock, which are unitary authorities, obviously.”

I give my friends a second to digest this information, they’ve been getting a lot of this recently.

I’m John. I’ve been a content designer at Essex County Council for two weeks. I’ve spent some time finding my feet and learning about what we do, but mostly I’ve been getting lost around County Hall. Luckily, it’s chock full of people always ready to help.

I’ve met social workers, care providers, a lollipop lady, and I think I even spotted the chief exec. All these people spend a lot of time doing good and trying to make where they live better.

As a content designer, my neighbourhood is, and along with the rest of the Service Design team, we’re committed to making it better.

We want to give it a friendly, human voice. We want it to help people get where they’re going, and ultimately, we want it to make it easier to get on with the stuff of everyday life.

We know that almost everyone needs something on our website, but almost no one needs everything. This is where content design comes in. Our services should be easy to access, easy to understand and easy to use.

We find out what our users need to do, and we guide them through doing it. We do the complex work to make their journey as clear and simple as possible.

We talk their language, we listen to what they tell us.

They might never know exactly who collects their bins and who helps their kids get into the right school, as long as they find what they need, we’ve done our job.

Meanwhile, we in the Service Design team have got bag-fulls of stuff to be getting on with. Just not rubbish.

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