Thank you!

This month marks a year since Georgia and I launched Change Network (I know, we can’t believe it either!) so it feels timely to firstly say a huge thank you to our team, partners and clients for their support and trust in us during our first 12 months, to celebrate our shared impact so far and to explain a bit about why we do what we do.  As this is my blog, I also want to say thank you to Georgia – to work with someone who has similar values, and who plugs my (many) gaps is a real privilege.

Those of you who have worked with us will know that our whole team is driven by a desire to make a positive difference – and we aim to go the extra mile to do so.  So why do we do it? For many of us this ‘striving for better’ is rooted in our own personal experiences, including in some cases early life experiences of inequality, poverty, not quite ‘fitting in’ or either having, or not having certain types of support when we’ve needed it most.

For me, ‘young Kate’ was a ‘bright but poor’ kid, from a working family whose parents sometimes struggled.  At times back then I genuinely felt ashamed of how, and where, I lived.

Now a mum of three, I’m determined that my own children have a better foundation for the future – and I want others to know that change is possible.  I was fortunate to be helped by public services, including a brilliant primary school headteacher (thank you John Glynn!), and some timely support along the way, but have been hindered by services too – where in some cases data not being joined up has led to a detrimental impact for example.

Local public services matter. A safe, secure place to call home, where you are respected by your landlord, have access to responsive services, and live in a place that you are proud, rather than ashamed of, is a key foundation for a good life, as is wider, enabling support, in whatever form that needs to take.

Why am I telling you this?  Because reflecting on our first year, understanding what makes people tick has been a huge part of our success so far, whether that’s recruiting for our own team, or delivering change elsewhere – very simply understanding ‘the people bit’ and motivations and mental models that inform people’s behaviour is critical to transforming services.

Making transactional services slicker and digitally enabled or enhanced so the ‘people effort’ can be put where it makes the biggest difference is one thing, but changing mindsets and behaviours is the far bigger ask, and both are needed to be truly transformational.

Together Change Network’s mission is to make a positive difference to essential services by helping our clients to deliver smarter transformation that sticks.  People are critical to that, which is why, although many of the Change Network team are technology, data, process or change specialists, we never talk about the ‘tech’ or ‘process’ in isolation of the people bit (it’s the people who do most of the important stuff after all).

A year in, Georgia and I are incredibly proud of the work we’ve been involved in and that  the wider team has done – from working with the LGA and the Transformation Network to co-design the first phase of the Local Authority Transformation Capability Framework, through to the development of new service models to improve customer service for councils, to the provision of leadership support, the co-design of Customer, Digital, Data and Technology strategies, and  work to support business cases, specification, selection, design and implementation of new digital solutions for councils and housing providers – it’s been varied, and thoroughly enjoyable. All in all, a great start, but we have a lot more that we want to do!

At the heart of everything we do is a deep love, care and respect for the people that we work for, and with, and a belief in the difference we can make together.  

So, this is a rambling way of saying thank you to everyone who’s been part of our first year – your support is hugely appreciated, and we couldn’t do what we do without every single one of you.  Here’s to making even more of a difference in year 2!

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