In his introductory post, Rob Thompson wrote about what he does as the Home Office’s Chief Technology Officer. Now it's my turn to explain a bit about what I do as the Chief Operating Officer (COO).
I make sure we have the people, processes and working culture we need to be an effective and efficient business.
It’s a broad role. My teams cover several areas, including communications, recruitment, and learning and development. We’re also developing our planning and reporting capabilities, so the senior management team has the information it needs to make good decisions.
Taking a broad view
Problems here can be complex and resolving them is something that brings me great satisfaction. There will always be new challenges, so I’m struggling to see when working here will be boring or I when I’ll be ‘done’.
I spent 10 years at Canon in Australia. The initial impact of digital at Canon was damaging as the launch of the iPhone decimated their sales.
It took time for the company and its competitors to figure out what was going on – when a new piece of digital capability arrives on the scene, the consequences are not always immediately visible. So, I encourage everyone I work with to step back from problems and take a broader view.
Home Office Digital, Data and Technology designs services around users and their needs. Taking this research and service design approach helps us find similarities across the organisation. You can often apply a service pattern to what, on the surface, look like different problems.
I’ve been here for almost a year and what I want to do is make things consistent. So, we’re working a lot on our processes and ways of working. We’re making sure that when we do things, we do them in the same way.
For example, we’re working to manage our projects using exactly the same reporting structures and data, with roles and job descriptions being similar no matter what part of the organisation you work in.
This will help us consolidate a ‘big picture’ view of our project portfolio and understand where we can improve how we work. It will also help our project management professionals move between roles more easily.
Now I’m here, I want to get across what a great place the Home Office it is to work.
We also want to be representative of the people we serve and build more diverse teams. To do this, we’re developing several recruitment initiatives.
We’re expanding our internship programme, from 60 people each year to 200 by the end of 2020. We’re also working with schools and colleges in the Croydon area to explain what we do and help young people better understand the opportunities our apprenticeships provide.
We’re also trying to attract women who’ve had a break from the workplace to have children, and exploring ways to better serve our current staff from other under-represented groups. This includes helping them develop the skills and experiences they may need when applying for internal promotions.
We’re out and about at recruitment events and advertise new opportunities on Civil Service Jobs.
New people bring energy and fresh ideas that we can inject into our business. If, like me, you get excited about working with creative people on complex challenges, come and join us.