Opening in Leeds marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for dxw digital and our clients and I’d like to share the thinking behind the move.
Expanding outside London
dxw digital is here to help public sector teams make good technology decisions and build better services and we can better achieve this with truly national reach. Increasingly we are working on-site with client teams, which is hard to do if you are restricted to London and the South East. In central government, there is also an increased effort to increase its presence outside London.
dxw digital has strong links with Leeds already through our work with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). We’ve visited Leeds many times over the last few years.
There is a massive government presence in and around Leeds. Over 7% of civil servants are located in Yorkshire, with a significant number of these based in Leeds, mainly working at the Department of Health, the Department for Work and Pensions, Home Office, HMRC, Defra and the Highways Agency.
Leeds will be home to a government digital hub which will include NHS Digital, DWP and HMRC among others. The GDS academy is also based in Leeds which demonstrates the vibrancy of the public sector digital scene.
In nearby Sheffield there are around 2,000 civil servants working in the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education and the Home Office.
More broadly, there are around 27 local housing associations responsible for many thousands of homes in Leeds and the surrounding area. Leeds is home to NHS Digital as well as our clients NHS England. Leeds City Council itself, named as local authority of the year (in 2016), has ambitious plans for digital, under chief digital and information officer Dylan Roberts. From Leeds, we will be able to offer services to, among many others, Adult Social Care, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Children’s Services, and other local authorities across the region.
Leeds is home to the Open Data Institute which among other venues hosts a good range of public sector events such as Agile Yorkshire and Leeds GovJam which we were delighted to sponsor earlier this year.
Being in Leeds also connects us with the other cities of the North West, North and Midlands. There are significant public sector presences in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, but also Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham to the south.
Building a team
We are planning to offer clients the same set of services and capabilities that we offer in London which means building a multidisciplinary team in Leeds. There are some incredibly talented people in and around Leeds and we’re excited to be able to have the opportunity to work with them. As well as designers and developers we will be looking to recruit user researchers and product managers.
Recruiting in Leeds will help us bring more diversity to our team and bring in different experiences to having a team drawn entirely from London and the South East.
We’ve made a start already as we just announced Saul Cozens will be heading up our northern operations. We will hopefully be announcing more names very soon. One of our developers, Robbie is already based near Leeds so we have the kernel of the new team in place.
One dxw digital
It’s really important to stress that our office in Leeds will be one and the same with London. We will be offering the same services to our clients from both locations. Depending on our clients’ needs, we will potentially work across both locations as we build our presence in Leeds.
In the coming weeks, we will announce the location of the new office itself and more details of the team we’ll have in place. In the summer of our 10th anniversary, it seems fitting to announce the opening of our second office and the beginning of the dxw digital story in Leeds.