2017 review: A year of Burbank

To my brilliant team (and forgive me this indulgence),

A year ago you were not one team – you were disparate parts of the wider DWP picture. Parts of what is now Burbank were already together and some of you were working in completely different parts of the department. Some of you weren’t even working in government.

Since then, you’ve come together and blown me and everyone else away. Two new, operationally critical services have been born and have gone live and our data analytics platform has evolved from being a bit flakey into something hundreds of users and operations managers rely on every day. You’re making a difference to DWP’s bottom line. And more importantly you’re making a real difference to it’s users.

But against this backdrop of hard work, I hope the achievement you’re most proud of is the way you’ve formed and evolved as a team. We use the word “capability” a lot, but it really is a fit term for Burbank. From a standing start you have jelled into a “capability” bringing together people, tools and shared experience in a way that any agency would be proud of (and profitable because of!).

As we head into 2018 there are some big challenges ahead. Universal Credit is more important than ever. So is the need to make judicious use of our people and technology to meaningfully transform how government operates. No one strikes these balances as well as you do.

You stand on the front line, in terms of Digital Group, but more importantly in terms of DWP.

Over the next 12 months there will be forks in the road. Whichever directions you (we) choose, what is most important is that we carry forward the best of what we’ve learned and built over the past year: our respect and support of each other; our openness to share; our humility; and the sense of safety that this all brings. As long as I or any of you are working together, stepping up, sticking your neck out or plainly speaking your mind will be valued. Cherish this and uphold it for others.