Interview with Christina Hammond-Aziz
Ahead of our Client and Partner day, we spoke with Christina Hammond-Aziz one of our brilliant speakers.
Christina has worked in many parts of the UK Government, including the Prime Minister’s Office. She is a true digital enthusiast and a rising star. Christina currently heads up digital in the Food Standards Agency, where she is transforming digital services and delivering a critical programme of work to place the FSA at the forefront of innovation in food and in Government. She is a strong advocate of women in technology and has a keen eye on building capability and digital maturity of organisations.
Last year you wrote about why faceless civil servant is never a good look. How has technology enabled the Food Standards Agency to move away from this image?
I did indeed and it’s still very important to me. We have incredible talent in the Civil Service and work extremely hard to deliver ever better public services, where possible we should be open about the work we do. Tech offers us great opportunities to do this, but this post was specifically about civil servants using social media to be part of the conversation, build engaged communities around them, and listen. We now have a huge amount of FSA people using social media to do just this. Check out a few of them on Twitter.
The Food Standard Agency has recently started buying more through G-Cloud, almost 50% of the total spend being made in 2017. What would you say was the trigger?
While I’m not a fan of the term ‘digital transformation’, there is no doubt that digital is transforming the world we live in. At the FSA we have huge ambitions for how we leverage this to help how our people work, to help businesses comply and deliver food we can trust, and to support the vast amount of innovation happening in food. Some of what we are trying to achieve has never been done before and we need to be able to bring good suppliers to the table to help us get there. Why G-cloud and the Digital Marketplace? Because it’s a transparent platform and gives us access to some fantastic suppliers who we might never have heard of before. The Digital Marketplace is responsible for introducing me to all of the suppliers I currently have working on our various digital projects.
You are a big advocate for women in tech. What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of digital?
Go for it! There is no other industry quite like digital where you get to go out and build the future every day. There is still some way to go for women in tech, but there are now hundreds of role models paving the path for you. Digital offers a world of opportunities and we need you. My general advice to anyone looking to break into digital? Never be afraid to ask questions, embrace failure – it’s the fastest way to find out what doesn’t work, and be ready to learn something new every day. Curiosity is your friend!
With special thanks to Christina for her time and we can’t wait to hear more of what she has to say!