The Quiet Revolution in the Department for Work and Pensions

The last two years have seen incredible changes in one of the largest Government Departments.

Two years ago, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) unknowingly found itself on the cusp of something huge.

We were delivering one of the largest programmes of reform across Government. The pressure for us to be more efficient was increasing. And we all knew that our services were lagging behind citizen expectations, and we hadn’t taken advantage of proven, modern process and technology transformations.

So DWP established what would become the Business Transformation Group to take radical steps to create the modern business we needed to become.

Almost two years in, nobody would say that we’ve cracked all of it yet, but when we are struggling to take the next step, it’s important to keep all the progress we’ve made in mind.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the future of “digital” and business transformation in Government. It’s been great to see so many people respond to some concerns and come forward to reiterate their commitment to what’s going on. A lot of these people have been newer team members, digital professionals brought in for expertise we haven’t traditionally built in Government.

There are so many different people on this journey, and we need to celebrate them all. For the last two years, my role in the Business Transformation Group has been about supporting and enabling our Director General, my colleagues, and the work of the Group. I need to really understand and closely interrogate our digital projects, but I could not step into a user researcher or product owner role without a lot of help and training. But despite not being a “digital person”, I am on the journey.

I have seen the start of an incredible change in my Department. We talk about users and understand we don’t have the answers. We focus on services and understand we don’t mean websites.

Through our Digital Academies we’re building in house capability. You will see teams working out loud. We use new tools (for us) to collaborate. We make videos. We tweet. And it is better.

The last two years have seen DWP change. And it has been a quiet revolution which has caught some by surprise. We’re on our journey. And you have to think, given all we have achieved so far, what will the next two years hold for us?

We'll all find out together. We're not done.