Holly-Marie Draper, Head of Dissemination
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing
I have been involved in transformation programmes for a number of years now. Looking back at the organisations I have worked with, the catalyst to changing working practices has come from having a shortfall in funding, rather than responding to trends or shifts in public needs and requirements.
Both within national government and for local places, our current situation is unprecedented – we haven’t faced anything like this before and as a result we are all having to think differently about how transformation is approached.
My previous work with local authorities proved to me the importance of information sharing in transformation. Yet I feel its true value is still to be recognised – it’s not just about the immediate cost savings it provides through a more efficient joining up of services. Long term, it will support organisations and local places in becoming more responsive – possibly meaning that future transformation will not have to be done on this sort of scale again, as organisations will be more in touch with what service users need and be able to bend and flex accordingly.
I initially thought, coming into this role, we were some way off that. But my first couple of weeks in post has shown me that that end result isn’t too far away at all. There is already some excellent work happening at both a national and local level.
One of my biggest highlights so far has been meeting with representatives from across government departments. I have been absolutely blown away by the support there is for the Centre and for us to work with them to achieve their transformational goals.
We are starting from a good place. We now need to harness the energy there is for our work and channel it in the right direction, which is where I come into the mix.
There are not many times in your career you are given the chance to set up a whole new dissemination function from scratch. This week has been about learning and absorbing – now I need to put some of that into practice! My team starts in a couple of weeks and I am dying to share with them some of what I have been part of already and hope that they find it as exciting as I do.
We have an important job to do, but what I have loved more than anything about this week is realising I am working with a really amazing team. They have been tremendously supportive and have stuck with me when I have asked some pretty obvious questions – I’d like to think the lemon meringue cake I baked on Wednesday went some way to sweetening them up, but the reality is that they are really dedicated and passionate and I feel pretty honoured to be part of them.
Information sharing isn’t just about technology or governance – it’s about culture and creating a culture that makes it easy and safe for people to share what they know. We definitely have that in our team – we now need that to rub off with the people we work with.