Why value and expertise are more important than ever
The covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the UK's rates of adoption and maturity levels around digital technology. If we take a moment to reflect, we find that there's a lot to be proud of when it comes to digital transformation in the public sector. For a start, the digital capability of the UK’s central government has progressed considerably since GDS came into being nearly ten years ago. Departments now have the choice to work with a much broader range of suppliers to increase their capacity, bring in expertise and help them to develop their in-house skills.
The growing DDaT government workforce also means that buyers are more savvy about best practice and therefore smarter about how they procure, who they buy from and how they work together, often leading to much healthier partnerships between the private and public sectors. This has helped to deliver better outcomes and value for taxpayers.
The way this work is done has also changed. As the government made moves to increase its geographical spread, so did the supplier market. Pre-covid, we were starting to see a considerable shift to much more digital work being delivered outside of London, with key growth in places such as in Leeds, Newcastle, Wales, Manchester and Bristol.
This shift was of course compounded by events in March this year, making the physical location of digital teams largely irrelevant. Not only are people leaving London in their droves, but they are also working more outside of cities and even from their native countries around Europe, proving that remote and flexible working don’t necessarily impact delivery.
It will be really interesting to see, once we’re through the worst of the pandemic, how much of this new, distributed working model sticks, as people start to realise the benefits of commuting less, spending more time out of cities and at home.
What the public sector needs from digital transformation
Clearly the demand for new and improved digital services and technologies isn’t going to diminish any time soon. And, whilst we've come a long way in the past decade, there is still a lot of work to be done to deliver outstanding, digital-first public services across the board.
When I think about what our clients in the public sector need to achieve this aim, it always comes down to capability and capacity. People who can come in, understand their ways of working and become an integral part of their teams, which are often a patchwork of suppliers, contractors and civil servants.
But there is now - and I feel rightly so - greater scrutiny around the use and expense of external consultancies brought in to do this work. This will only be magnified as our government and our economy starts to recover from the unprecedented spending on fighting the pandemic.
Government is already starting to review how it can better work with management consultancies and what can be done in-house, and this year we’ve seen a lot more pressure on suppliers to keep their day rates below certain thresholds.
It’s therefore essential, now more than ever, that departments ensure that they are getting the best possible value from their partnerships with the private sector.
Expertise and value
One of the key reasons I joined Foundry4 is because our model gives public sector institutions the expertise and value they need at a reasonable price point and in a sustainable way.
The collection of capabilities in Foundry4 and the Panoply Group as a whole really responds to what the public sector needs. This starts with world-class talent across strategy and delivery. Our deep technical expertise covers all areas of the digital spectrum, from automation to user centred design, high quality product engineering teams to agile coaching, and extensive sector knowledge to enterprise cloud and data strategy.
We then apply this expertise in a way that provides unparalleled value. Our collection of specialist agencies enables us to maintain the personal touch, working with our clients as trusted partners and colleagues, but delivering at the scale they require. We've got the seniority and experience to address the needs of people at all levels of the organisation, delivering end to end services with a focus on upskilling teams as we go. The strong relationships we are able to build throughout our work are a key factor in helping people change and adapt.
Rising to the challenge
I’ve been working in and with the public sector since 2004. Throughout this time, I've had incredible satisfaction transforming services to improve people’s lives, leading the teams delivering this work by helping them learn and grow.
My decision to become part of Foundry4 was a step further along this journey. By joining Foundry4 I have a fantastic opportunity to work with areas of government I really care about who are looking for a different kind of partner and often can’t justify the expense of working with organisations within the traditional consultancy model. Partnering with Foundry4, on the other hand, ensures that they are getting the best possible outcomes for their teams and the public purse.
Moving jobs during the second lockdown in England has its challenges. Forming teams and building new client relationships remotely is one aspect of our working lives which is definitely not as easy, but the last nine months have demonstrated the resilience and innovation that can be achieved under difficult circumstances. I have no doubts that the digital sector and Foundry4 will continue to rise to the challenge in the months ahead.
Managing Director, Public Sector
Natalie has fifteen years experience in Digital Transformation, including key roles in the transformation of UK government, NHS.UK, GDS, and london.gov.uk.