Skip to main content

My first 100 days as Head of Product for Westminster City Council, part 1

Hello, World

My name’s Scott Colfer and I’ve joined Westminster City Council as their first Head of Product. I asked what would be interesting to share from my first 100-days on Twitter and got some great suggestions, thanks folks. Here’s Part 1 – who I am and why I’m here. 

Who I am...

‘What’s it like to work in Local Government?’ was a theme behind many of the questions I received. My personal experience in my first 100 days is: it’s been a breath of fresh air. 

I worked as a Head of Product in Central Government Digital team from 2016 to 2022. For most of that time I focused on building up the product management profession from 10 plus people in one business unit to 70 plus people across 5 to 6 business units across the justice system.

For much of that time I led our use of the Service Standard and Assessment. And in my final year I acted as Head of User-Centred Design and Product, helping join-up 350 plus people across six digital professions, working in multidisciplinary teams on 50 to 60 products across several areas of the justice system. This meant I got to learn a lot from a lot of people across a massive scale of work.

Working in Central Government in a huge, operational Department gave me a unique opportunity to work at a massive scale and focus on a specific, important aspect of our society: the justice system. And after 6 or 7 years, I was ready for a new context.

...and why I’m here 

A few years ago I had a coffee with Matthew Caine when they were setting-up Hackney Digital. We started talking about product management in the public sector but soon switched to talking about Local Government. I was struck by how rewarding it was to help a specific place and all the people living there. I was also struck by how much Local Government is providing support right around their users, meeting them out in the real world where they need to do different things day in, day out.

I realised I wanted to work on stuff that matters, providing services right around the needs of users, and be able to walk out somewhere and see the benefits of my work. At the end of last year I decided to make the jump. Westminster City Council’s new ‘Digital and Innovation’ Directorate sounded like a great place to help a unique and exciting city, backed up with the support needed to make it a success. After my first 100 days I know I made the right choice. 

Up next: In my next post I’ll share where I’ve started in my role.

Published: 10 October 2022