This week marks the end of an era for me as a Public Rights of Way Officer for a Local Highway Authority. I began my job as a fresh graduate back in January 2018 and have learnt a great deal in the last 2 and a bit years, I have loved this role and will miss many aspects of it.
I’ve made some great friends along the way as well, having much fun in the office and when getting together with the team as a whole for volunteering.
The Rights of Way Team, which included 2 Area Offices, managers and definitive map team, joined together to complete a corporate volunteering day at Minsmere to clear invasive vegetation species. We had great fun getting the hand saws into action cutting down silver birch saplings and clearing large patches of gorse, I managed to skive out of the hard work as I had my pesticide licences so was able to assist the RSPB staff and volunteers in treating stumps. Volunteering with a smashing bunch of people had me reminiscing over my internship with the RSPB and we achieved a great deal more as a large team than we expected when arriving on site to a wall of overgrowth.
Have a look at the RSPB wardens blog about our day here: RSPB Minsmere Blog
I have covered so many areas of work through this role but my favourite part has definitively been the community engagement part, getting out and training volunteers in small practical tasks and completing condition survey training has been very entertaining.
I have attended many parish council meetings to educate the public about rights of way in general and to generate volunteer work party groups. These have be amazing groups to work with including parish councils, walking groups and outdoor groups. I have met people from all walks of life, each and every one of them has been passionate about protecting and maintaining their local rights of way network.
If any of you are interested in exactly what a Rights of Way Officer does on a day to day basis check out my previous blog ‘a day in the life of a prow officer‘ or have a read of my daily tasks below:
- Protecting, maintaining, promoting and developing public rights of way and access in accordance with relevant strategies, initiatives, policies and procedures.
- Managing myself and allocated personnel by taking responsibility for my own and their personal development, motivation, performance, behaviour, health, safety and general well being.
- Planning and creating through meaningful application of technology, systems thinking, smarter ways of working, time management and project management tools and techniques.
- Developing and promoting improvements and use of the rights of way and access network.
- Dealing effectively with all delegated rights of way correspondence, complaints and administration.
- Responding to and implementing Public Path Orders and other changes to the rights of way network.
- Attending meetings and liaising with local councils, landowners, user groups, statutory bodies and the general public, providing advice and information.
- Managing allocated work load and determining cases with organisational framework. Working collaboratively with others to build relationships and a network of contacts that delivered the best outcomes for people and places in Suffolk, whilst accounting for and responding to customer satisfaction and future needs.
- Responding to increasing financial pressure by being creative, innovative and cost-focused, exercising strong financial judgement and risk management to secure optimum efficiency savings, cost reductions and profitability without sacrificing service quality.
- Reviewing and responding to local plans, responding to planning applications and submitting section 106 responses, dealing with legal orders for changes to the rights of way network.
- Working with developers to deliver large section 106 schemes and to protect and maintain routes through development sites.
Where to next?
Although I’m sad to see the end of my job as a Rights of Way Officer, I’m now off to pastures new to work for a charity as an Access Field Officer focusing more on the equestrian side of things so mixing my two passions in life!