As the new Strategic Relationship and Programmes Manager at Hounslow, I have had a fantastic time in my first three months and have really got a good flavour of how we connect our communities in order to design consistent services across the authority. Currently, I manage the strategic and support teams within Digital & IT and as part of that work I lead the teams delivering the range of different programmes ensuring that everything we do aligns with the overall Digital Strategy and the portfolio roadmap.
Joining the family
Starting a new role during a world pandemic is never easy as I didn’t have the opportunity to meet my colleagues face-to-face and especially when we look around the world and notice that so many organisations are down-sizing, making redundancies and even shutting multi-billion pound companies down as they are not able to survive, but Hounslow has done quite the opposite actually. I have been made to feel extremely welcomed by Simon Klee (Head of Digital Transformation) and furthermore, he has made it seamlessly possible in getting me really involved across all the teams in their delivery of work and to drive change in order to better the lives of Hounslow residents. Simon was absolutely right when he told me on my first day that he will ensure I fit into the Digital & IT family and that is exactly how I feel, a part of the family.
Building my team
I have had the opportunity to really influence the recruitment drive across the Digital & IT team and have worked closely with my colleagues to make this happen. Hannah Rixon (Programme Lead) and Shireen Green (PMO Team Lead) have been a pleasure to work with and have really supported me in decision making processes and across the organisation with the day to day activities that I have been tasked with during my first three months here. This has really assisted me in focussing on what needs to be delivered as part of the overall Digital Strategy. So far, I have managed to recruit a handful of Project Delivery Managers, a PMO Team Lead, a Programme Lead and also a Strategic Lead who will be responsible for line managing the Business Relationship Managers (who form such a fundamental part of my overall team). I am continuing the recruitment drive with Alison Venning (Digital Transformation Consultant) and Alison Bellamy (Digital Consultant) who have been vital in making sure we follow the correct processes in our campaigns.
The One Hounslow approach
As part of the One Hounslow Framework that forms part of the Digital Strategy, I have worked closely with Claire Brookes-Daniels (One Hounslow Programme Director) in determining the processes of how the workstream should operate and although I have been in the role for only three months, I have had the opportunity to help shape the process-flow from an early stage. This really showcases how the Digital and IT team like to have new, fresh and innovative ideas to help map a process going forward and really engage staff across the whole team when communicating changes.
Local Government Strategy Forum
As we see the government guidelines towards lockdown and social distancing easing and events opening up, it was an absolute delight to meet Mark Lumley (Director of Digital and IT) in person at the Local Government Strategy Forum that took place at the stunning venue of Heythrop Park and Resorts Hotel in Oxfordshire.
Mark was a guest speaker and spoke about how we engage with our communities to understand our user needs and journeys. He delivered a presentation on how we have evolved the Community Hub into our Community Solutions model, aiming to be more preventative in our approach that is delivered by us alongside the voluntary sector, local charities, and public sector partners.
I personally learnt a lot from having the chance to attend this event and it was a great networking opportunity for me at such an early stage of my role, which additionally demonstrates the upskilling of the workforce that makes Hounslow proud.
Exciting times ahead for Hounslow
At Hounslow, we all thrive to discuss solutions rather than the problems. If this has been my experience working remotely, I can’t wait to work with my whole team in person. It will be phenomenal and I look forward to ensuring that I embrace and lead on the responsibilities involved in driving the change in order to put the residents at the heart of all the decisions I make for the exciting time ahead.