CDPS year in review 2021–22: digital leadership


5.3 Activity: Develop digital leadership

We said we’d develop digital leadership in Wales by ensuring that the CDOs and CDPS work together to drive improvements in digital public services

Our co-chief executives, Harriet Green and Myra Hunt, have regular conversations with public sector chief digital officers (CDOs) in Wales. We see these conversations as the nucleus for a potential cross-CDO leadership group. The group would guide the Welsh public services approach to identity, platforms, common components and transformation projects.

We’ve also developed digital leadership by providing dedicated leadership training from some of the most respected educators in the field. (See the next activity, Provide leadership training, below.)

5.4 Activity: Provide leadership training

We said we’d develop and deliver digital leadership training and practical skills

Gary Bennett, Welsh Government User Research Lab manager, on why his CDPS course was the best he’s attended in 2 decades as a public servant

CDPS has held 14 separate courses in 2021-22. We’ve trained more than 600 people from 80 organisations, over more than 50 course sessions, in Agile and user-centred design skills.

More than 200 public service leaders have attended or signed up to courses including:

Courses for public service staff include:

Our popular courses are providing the skills foundation for the digital transformation of public sector services in Wales.

5.4.1 Training: designed through co-creation and consultation

Beginning with leadership training, CDPS built our skills programme in the same way we would any service: with an intensive research phase with potential users. The CDPS skills and capability team held a discovery including 75 interviews with representatives from 9 Welsh public sector organisations.

Through their research, the team identified leadership user needs to write a series of user stories such as this one:

‘As a leader in an organisation delivering Welsh public services I need to understand the transformational potential of digital and the importance of organisational agility, so I’m better equipped to lead the digital agenda’

Staff user stories included:

‘As someone who helps deliver Welsh public services I need to understand the fundamentals of user centred service design and Agile ways of working, so that I can fulfil my role in helping my organisation digitally transform’

5.4.2 Training: apprenticeships

CDPS commissioned a report in 2021 on how well digital apprenticeships in Wales aligned with Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) roles. The report showed strong alignment in areas such as cybersecurity, data and software engineering. There were gaps in user-centred design, product and delivery, quality assurance testing and IT operations.

In response to the report, CDPS has explored with stakeholders including further and higher education providers how to fill the DDaT skills gap the report identified. Digital apprenticeships were one way to provide those skills.

CDPS will raise awareness of the benefits of DDaT skills for people delivering Welsh public services. We will also help to create career pathways for people to join the DDaT professions.

5.4.3 Training: open competition for providers

CDPS held an open competition for training providers to answer the needs we identified in discovery. Among the providers whose services we’ve used are:

5.4.4 Training: a permanent resource in Campws Digidol

The courses CDPS has run so far have started to answer the immediate needs for digital training within the Welsh public sector. A potential next step is to establish a permanent training body. It would have a comprehensive, recurring curriculum covering skills in service development, user-centred design and Agile working for public sector leaders and staff.  

In November 2021, CDPS awarded a contract to the digital design and strategy agency This Is Milk to deliver the alpha – exploratory – phase of this permanent training body. We’re provisionally (for now) calling the training provider Campws Digidol – ‘Digital Campus’.  

The campus would form part of a wider training programme. Coaching and more communities of practice and interest could go with it. 

5.4.5 Training: positive feedback

Our courses have attracted a lot of positive feedback from participants, encouraging us to do more. In feedback forms and on Twitter, people said things such as:

‘I usually hate training courses but with this one I was genuinely excited to join each session’

‘Loved the course… a good balance of practical and theory’

‘I have already started to use this with the wider team’

Watch: Lou Downe, ex-Head of Design for the UK government, describes the courses their (Lou’s preferred pronoun) School of Good Services puts on for CDPS.

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