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Digital in Wales – something’s changing!

Over the last nine months, there’s been a fundamental shift in digital in the public sector in Wales. Not everyone will have seen it yet, but those involved will be starting to sense a change, a momentum, a gear change in ambition, focus and pace.

As a company, our roots are in public service delivery in Wales. Back in 2017, we were told there wasn’t a market for what we do, that there was no desire in Wales to take a user-centred approach to deliver services and that we’d be better off working in England or further afield if we wanted to build a business that could grow and thrive.

That wasn’t for us. Four years on and not only are we still here working in Wales, but we’ve also grown year on year. We’ve moved from a solely associate model to creating jobs, jobs in Wales, jobs in digital in Wales. And we’re continuing to grow and we have more ambition than ever before. So what’s changed?

Leadership and focus

Three years ago, Lee Waters talked about digital in Wales on Twitter, we got in touch, shared our vision and offered any support we could to make change happen. It felt like there was a long way to go, things hadn’t started and there was no real appetite for things to change, but Lee made it clear he was going to give it his best shot. Today we have Chief Digital Officers for Welsh Government, Local Government and soon to be Health and a new Centre for Digital Public Services. We were part of the expert digital panel that produced the Systems Reboot report and have championed the need for digital transformation. A focus from the Welsh Government and the Office of the Chief Digital Officer and things have started to happen. We’re glad we had that initial conversation and it’s been brilliant to see the appetite for change grow and visions transform into action.

Demonstrating what can be different

In the meantime, we haven’t sat by the wayside waiting for change to happen. We’ve been working with clients across Wales to deliver change and share our passion and commitment to user-centred service design. It’s been a winding path, from delivering GDPR and customer transformation at Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (and winning an award along the way!) and working with YLab on their Innovate to Save programme, to supporting local authorities to develop their digital services and delivering technology change into government departments. We’ve kept on keeping on. There’s no better way to demonstrate how digital can support service delivery than to get on and do it. And we’ve continued to promote and champion the digital transformation of public services in Wales. Offering our input and advice and supporting those with a desire to see things done differently helping where we can to push things forward.

A coalition of the willing

We’ve seen a coalition of the willing come together and build momentum over recent years. From link-ups on social media to face-to-face events (remember them?), we’ve chatted to so many brilliant people. People-based in Wales, people who believe in Wales and what’s more believe in delivering public services in Wales and want them to improve. They get that we have a massive opportunity to not only deliver better services but improve lives for the people of Wales and build the local economy at a time when this is more important than ever.  This group is growing all the time and the communities of practice being developed by the Centre for Digital Public Services will help these conversations flourish.

Sticking to our values

At Perago we have five values that shape our way of working and being.  We believe these make us who we are and will be what supports our success. Like every business it’s not all sweetness and light, we have tough times, we sometimes have tough decisions to make and we sometimes have to go off in directions we’re not expecting, but by sticking to our values we know we’re going to be focused on the right approach.  We know we’re going to be doing the things that will make us better and put us at the heart of supporting digital in Wales.  Our values are simple:

Know your stuff – use your full knowledge and experience to excel in your role. Take responsibility for your professional development and seek out opportunities to improve.

Put others first – demonstrate energy and enthusiasm about your work and encourage others to do the same. Always keep the customer (internal and external) at the forefront of your mind.

Speak openly – actively seek feedback from others to improve self-awareness. Give your views and opinions freely whilst being considerate of how others may take these.

Focus on delivery – regularly review procedures and systems to identify improvements and simplify processes. Take ownership of your targets and deadlines and always try to exceed expectations.

Be part of the team  – lookout for the rest of the team and provide support and expertise whenever you can. Recognise that we can do better things together. Work alongside our client teams, coaching and advising. Bring a sense of fun to what we do and be the people clients want to work with.

The Centre for Digital Public Services

In June the Centre for Digital Public Services was created in Wales and we were delighted to win the contract to support its initial delivery phase. The pace and focus of the Centre have been a brilliant thing to be part of. We’ve led on the delivery of the three initial outputs of the Centre and have also been delivering their communications and engagement. It’s been an opportunity to demonstrate pace and working in the open with blogs, knowledge-sharing events and building communities. The Centre has now been awarded funding for the next 12 months and we can’t wait to see delivery, skills and capability grow across the public sector in Wales. We’re determined to play our part and we’re excited about the opportunity it brings, not just for us as a company, but for those companies with their roots in Wales who want to make Wales a better place for everyone who has their home here.

What’s next?

It’s brilliant to see the market start to open up. We want to be at the forefront of that change and as a company, we’re determined to keep our focus on delivery, users and value. We’ve recently recruited 3 new roles to the team and we’re continuing to look for people with experience in delivering better public services based on the needs of users and with a passion for change here in Wales. There’s a long way to go, and there’s a lot to do. But things are changing. Our vision is to be at the forefront of that change, building capability here in Wales and growing our business to deliver better services. If you think you’d be interested in either joining our team or bringing Perago on board to help your teams, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at contact@perago-wales.com We’d love to chat.

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