Tag Archives: digital transformation

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Thoughts on Housing Camp Cymru

Neil Prior, Account Director at Northgate Public Services

Hosted in Cardiff, Housing Camp Cymru, is an 'Unconference' that has just run for the second time. For the uninitiated, an Unconference follows a loose format where delegates pitch an idea, which then gets added to the agenda. The law of two feet applies: if the session you’re attending isn’t working for you, get up and go to a different one.

This event draws interest from housing professionals (leaders and practitioners), local government, governing bodies, tenants and other interested parties. As the event is held on a weekend, it's fair to say that those who go are committed to and passionate about their work.

Two topics of note particularly interested me.

Digital Transformation

Every organisation across the land is wrestling with this one, and it’s no different in the housing sector. The challenges are familiar: culture change, leadership buy-in, integrating with legacy IT systems. For many, this is being exacerbated by austerity budgets which are causing organisations to look at economical ways to provide better services, in addition to putting the user (or customer) at the centre of what they do.

Value for Money

Another fascinating debate, this centred on value for money in a cost justification sense, and also in delivering social value, which is much more difficult to quantify (The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act springs to mind). A few suggestions were offered, but what struck me is that there is still a need to construct compelling business cases that protect the budget and attract greater senior support. It also highlighted the silo mentality of public sector budgeting when several organisations are involved. This is a particularly difficult question to answer, brought into sharper focus by the fact that there will need to be greater regional and collaborative working across all public sector bodies in Wales.

Housing Camp Cymru will not answer the questions overnight, but it is clear that there is a hardcore of innovators and leaders who care passionately about the services they provide and want to answer these questions. My challenge is to become a trusted advisor to the Housing Sector in Wales, and this event was a first step on that journey.

Click here to find out more about our social housing solutions. 

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Mind the GaaP: research report

What civil servants think about government as a platform and digital transformation 

The last Spending Review heralded a digital revolution, with £450m set aside to help develop Government as a Platform, or GaaP for short.

The concept is simple. Where departments are doing the same things, why not do them in the same way? It would make government services easier to use and cheaper to run. 

GOV.UK came first followed by the identity service ‘Verify’, but how far and how fast can GaaP transform government? 

We asked Dods Research to take a snapshot of how civil servants felt about digital transformation. 

Download the report 

Read Sue Holloway's thoughts on putting people first. 

The survey was carried out by Dods Research during February 2016 and was completed by 2,101 respondents.



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Digital changes everything, but do we know how?

Sue Holloway, Director of Services Strategy

Technology is making huge improvements to our working lives, but judging by the 2,000+ responses to our survey the journey feels bumpier for some civil servants than others.

Bitter experience with government IT hiccups is behind some of the concern, but for me the biggest worry was that many don’t feel they’re on the journey at all. There was a real unease about the impact of new technologies and a feeling that the ‘user needs’ mantra had passed them by.

It might be why 74% of respondents said they didn’t understand Government as a Platform, a major programme that will overhaul how government works as well as the kit it uses. Directly or indirectly it will change people’s working lives – it’s sort of the point – but what we don’t know yet is how.

If you take your eye off the people affected by a change you won’t achieve the outcome you want, whatever type of change it is. You have to understand the immediate impacts and at least attempt to predict others, getting strategies in place to mitigate any unwanted effects.

Keeping people engaged works wonders, and this came through in the survey, with the work of the digital champions highly valued.  

Digital disruption is all the rage, but government is not a machine; it’s a collection of individuals and teams that won’t work tomorrow like they do today. That’s always personal. And remembering that will help government to smooth out the bumps and get greater value from the change.

Download our Mind the Gaap report