My first 6 months in Companies House have been excellent. There's such a lot going on, with many exciting projects and initiatives underway. One thing I'm particularly excited about, is our newly-launched transformation programme.
As the UK’s registry of limited companies, we're responsible for incorporating and dissolving limited companies, registering company information and making that information available to the public. The fundamentals of what we do are not going to change, but how we do it will change as part of this programme.
To become a truly digital organisation, our aim is transform all our systems and services to be digital first, easy to use and developed entirely around our users’ needs. We also want to make sure our own people have rich and rewarding jobs.
Transformation can mean different things to different organisations. But, for us, it can be summarised using our vision of:
Brilliant people using brilliant systems to deliver brilliant services.
So, what does this really mean and what do we want to achieve?
You'll notice people are first in my list of the 3 ‘brilliants’. This is because we won't be successful if we do not have brilliant people.
This is not to say that we do not already have brilliant people, because we do. Many of our staff will spend their entire career with us, meaning we have a strong sense of community and commitment. Working together to provide an excellent service for our customers is something we already do well, but there's always room for growth and improvement.
Our aim is to create an environment where all employees feel inspired to better themselves. We'll make a commitment to personal development and career progression; as well as supporting a culture that encourages people to be inquisitive, challenging and not to accept second best. We'll also be making sure our internal systems are fit for purpose, so that our staff can do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
We've already made some great digital advances in terms of our systems. The Companies House Service which provides company data for free is a shining example. But we'll now be looking at all our processes, to make sure they meet the needs of today's customer and the digital environment we operate in. We'll not continue to do things just because it's the way we've always done them.
As we develop our digital services, we'll challenge the way we work and look to streamline our processes, to make them as efficient as they can be. We'll be starting with a clean sheet, and designing our processes as if we were designing a whole new Companies House.
Providing customers with seamless digital services is central to this transformation programme. With 99.99% availability, our digital services are already well-regarded by our customers, but we recognise the need to improve the consistency across our search and filing services.
At present, we've got numerous platforms supporting a wide variety of services - but the quality of these services varies. Some are now looking quite outdated, and the log-ins needed for the different services can cause confusion. In addition, there are several areas where we've been unable to provide a fully-digital service, meaning customers are required to file on paper. A form filed on paper is more likely to contain errors or omissions, is more likely to be rejected causing inefficiencies for customers, and does not provide the full data availability our search customers need.
These issues will all be addressed as part of our transformation programme. And, if we achieve everything we set out to, we'll provide brilliant services for our customers. Many of the services will be the ones we provide now, but perhaps delivered in a different way. We'll also be developing and offering a number of new services.
The important thing for me is that we develop such brilliant digital services, our customers won’t want to file on paper, and that we develop and maintain a great reputation for all our services, our processes and our people. If we achieve this, we'll fulfil our vision of ‘brilliant people, using brilliant systems to deliver brilliant services’.
Companies House transformation is not going to be easy or simple, and the process will be filled with challenges. But, we’re up for it!