The culture of CDPS
4 August 2021
The permanent CEO role for CDPS went live last week. Since then, I’ve been having chats with people interested in the role. One of the key questions that keeps coming up is, “What is the culture of CDPS”?
I thought it would be good to write down my thoughts on this and share it more widely.
Our Digital Service Standards are at the very core of who we are as an organisation, particularly the first two.
We are focussed on the citizens of Wales who will use digital services. The Well-being of Future Generations Act is our first standard. Whatever we do must meet the needs of future generations from a social, economic, environmental and cultural point of view.
Services in Wales should meet the needs of people who use the Welsh language in their everyday lives. Our second standard states that teams should design and build services that promote and facilitate the Welsh language, and treat users who speak it equally with those who prefer English.
Empowered, diverse and inclusive teams
We’re a small team at the moment; a mixture of permanent staff and interims. Everyone is an expert at what they do. Our whole team is empowered to work with our partner organisations – to build relationships, lead projects and deliver citizen-focused outcomes.
We’re putting a lot of work to ensure the way we hire our people and procure the services we need is diverse and inclusive. We have an open, transparent and collaborative relationship with our suppliers, we are all part of one team. “Badges” get left at the door.
We know we aren’t the experts at knowing how all the parts of the Welsh public sector work, so we work hand in hand with people in those organisations to deliver together.
The work we’re doing with Sport Wales shows how we come together to form one team to work on a problem and to build capability.
We brought together Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Neath Port Talbot councils to work on a common shared problem – how to make it easier for residents to access adult social care.
The three Chief Digital Officers (local government, Welsh Government, Health) and the CEO of CDPS get together every week to discuss and plan how to deliver the digital strategy for Wales together. In all of my experience of digital transformation, this is really quite unique and brilliant.
We also work closely with our advisory panel, sponsor branch and Minister, Lee Waters MS and we are looking forward to working with our new board.
We were set up to support the design and delivery of good public services in Wales.
There’s a lot of really good work happening now, but there is so much more to be done. We need to get leaders on board (elected and officials) and help them to build the financial case for user-centred digital transformation. We need to build skills and capability at scale and grow a pipeline of talent.
We know we can’t do all of this on our own. And we know we can’t do this all at once – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
We’re here to help create digital organisations – not just organisations with digital teams (a quote ‘borrowed’ from Dyfed Alsop at the Welsh Revenue Authority).
We don’t just want to see well designed front end digital services, where staff still struggle to deliver the operational end. We want to help organisations change the way they work to deliver good joined-up, end to end services. Operations, finance, procurement, HR, policy all need to be part of the change.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
We want to draw on good work that has already been done elsewhere. What lessons can we learn from what is already happening in Wales and also other countries who have started this journey before us? Where can we reuse platforms, code, components to save time, money and effort?
Working in the open
We are open and transparent about what we do. We publish blog posts about our work regularly. We publish week notes to a now very long list of stakeholders. We’re about to start sharing some of our show and tells publicly.
Use evidence and data to make decisions
It is critical that we use evidence and data to make decisions. We have kicked off a landscape review of all public sector services delivered in Wales to help us understand the wider landscape so that we can prioritise our pipeline of work, ensure value for money on digital spend and join up and collaborate on delivery of public services.
We have made a good start but there is a long way to go. If you’re interested in applying for our permanent CEO role at CDPS, I can guarantee that this will be a brilliant, challenging and exciting journey. You will get to work with the people of Wales, who really are supportive and amazing.