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From private to public sector: Making the move to a digital role at Companies House

I've spent the last 20 years working in the private sector at BT where I led multi-skilled technical teams delivering a range of technology. My last job was leading a large Big Data Software Engineering team, building and running our Cyber Security and IT Ops big data platforms. I'm really proud of the agile transformation we achieved in that team. I learned a lot about managing change and inclusivity during the course of that work.

I decided I wanted a change and a new challenge because I'd become too comfortable. I felt I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of heading out into the world and scoring a new job. I'm really proud of myself for doing that after so long at BT. But it was important to me to go somewhere that felt right.

After scouting around I hit upon the Companies House digital open days. After talking to the Heads of Professions, getting the tour and feel for the culture, I knew I had to work there. I waited nearly a year for the right role to come up then took the plunge. That was in October 2019. After working my 3-months notice I arrived. Now it's been 5 weeks. Everyone was so welcoming that I quickly lost that 'new person' feeling.

Si Robins, Head of Agile Delivery Profession at Companies House.

What's on offer at Companies House

I love working here already. Not because everything is perfect. It's not, and I do not think anywhere is. But there's a real sense of community, purpose and a fantastic strategy that I believe strongly in, and I want to do my part.

On a more practical note, I've been to the gym most days, I've walked more steps because we're all in the same building and I've had maybe one phone call a week on average. I've been pleasantly surprised by the culture, which feels more like a successful start-up than a government department. We must strive to keep that alive.

Working at BT was very different. Being such a large organisation meant geographic diversity and working with teams around the world. This led to most of my meetings being at my desk on the phone. They were the kind of challenges that make me cherish what we have here at Companies House. I’m able to have face to face meetings, and ideas and collaborations can happen at any time – while grabbing a sandwich at lunch, or having an impromptu catch up with colleagues.

Shareprice is another thing. Everyday at BT, everyone would comment on the state of the share price. 120,000 people had that one thing in common. It's very unifying and something I've not yet experienced at Companies House, but it does not mean it's not there. We do not have a share price as such. But there is GDP and a thriving marketplace underpinned by slick Companies House services, that let businesses focus on what they do best while abiding by UK legislation.

My role

As Head of Agile Delivery Profession my goals are three-fold. Firstly it's making sure our Scrum Masters have the support they need to lead and coach their teams to success in delivering digital services. Secondly it's breathing life into our digital strategy along with my peer group. And finally, helping Companies House become an agile organisation. Thankfully I have lots of support in doing that!

I'm still getting my head around all the wonderful work we do. We just released phase one of a project which aims to cut the time it takes to validate a newly incorporated company and free up our ace operations teams to focus on higher value work. We've got a new wave of work around filing company information coming through shortly as well. And I'm also going to be working with our Executive Board to help them adopt agile ways of working - that's really exciting!

The work-life balance is mind-blowing to me. Even when I'm maxed out with so much to do, it's like a mental safety net that looks out for me. I'm taking flexi this afternoon and heading away with my wife, Jody, for a long weekend. That does not exist, to this degree, in the private sector. Cherish it.

I'm most excited by the energy in the organisation for agility and having the honour of being a part of that. I love my team, they're so diverse, knowledgable, professional and fun. They'll all be critical to supporting Companies House in transforming, challenging the way things are done and using their knowledge and skills to change things for the better - for us and for our customers.

At Companies House, we use a different digital language. If you want to find out more about working in digital at Companies House, visit our recruitment pages. 

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