Our Advisory Panel: One Year On

Twelve months ago, we appointed an advisory panel. The eleven-person panel was put in place to help steer the direction of the CDPS, to share their experience and knowledge, and to be a supportive public voice on digital transformation working closely with our CEO, Sally Meecham.

Initially, an apprentice panel was also created to support our remit of building capability and supporting the growth of the next generation of digital leaders. The six apprentices were each paired with an advisory panel member as their mentor. We have since merged both panels, while keeping the mentoring arrangements in place.

Now the outgoing CEO, Sally Meecham reflects on their involvement and the role they have played in the success of the CDPS.

‘Having this exceptional panel in place has made such a difference to our work and our growth. They all have a real passion for public service delivery and their support has been invaluable over the last year.

We share our thinking with them at an early stage, and work together, using our collective knowledge and experience to make sure that user needs remain at the forefront of what we do.

I am also grateful to the advisory panel members on an individual basis as they have given their time so generously on a broad range of activity, including supporting the development of our skills and capability programme, Welsh language service delivery and support with our recruitment of permanent staff.

It has been great to see less experienced members of the panel grow in confidence with the support of their mentors.

Heledd Evans, Digital Services Manager at Natural Resources Wales was paired with Ross Ferguson, Deputy Director with the UK Government’s Digital Service.

I asked both what they have gained from this:

Heledd said: “Getting to be part of the advisory panel for CDPS, first as an apprentice member, then as a member has been a great opportunity.
In one of my first chats with Ross, I realised I’d read several of his blog posts on digital transformation over the years and it was great to meet and quiz him in person.

Ross has been open and generous with his advice, and I always look forward to our sessions where I can share some challenges, and test ideas and plans with him.
One of his first pieces of advice to me was to start writing blog posts and working in the open – something I did take on (although I need to keep working on!). It’s been valuable for me and it’s given me more confidence in what I’m trying to do.

Ross is also finding the experience beneficial: “Being part of the advisory panel has been a great all-round experience. One of the most enjoyable aspects has been working with the apprentice panel members. I was paired up with Heledd, who is fantastic and generously shared her knowledge of the workings of the Welsh public sector.

We had great discussions comparing notes on digital transformation at the strategic and operational levels. I was then able to draw on these insights to inform my contributions to the advisory panel. I really appreciated that opportunity to learn as well as advise.”

Two original advisory panel members: Jessica Leigh Jones (now Chair at the CDPS) and Darius Pocha have since been appointed by the Deputy Minister, Lee Waters as our interim non-executive directors and we have said goodbye to Eddie Copland, Sabrina Robinson, Andrea Williams, and Karen Jones (replaced by Chris Owen at Neath Port Talbot), who have stepped down from the panel in recent months.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the Advisory Panel, we couldn’t have got this far without your challenge, support, commitment and guidance.

Sally

Current advisory panel members can be viewed here.

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