Meet your manager
There's always lots going on in our digital services teams. But what's it really like working here at NICE? Meet your manager.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, my name’s Alison Liddell. I’m the associate director for service delivery and programme management for digital services here at NICE. I live in south Manchester. I have a husband and a very chatty cat at home, and in my spare time I enjoy baking - especially cakes! I also love singing and I’m part of an a capella chorus in my local area.
When did you join NICE?
I joined NICE in March 2018, so I know what it's like to be new.
What was it that made you want to work with us?
I’ve worked in or with the health sector for probably 15 years, so I’ve always been aware of NICE. The level of prestige that the organisation has and the value it offers was very attractive to me. And when you add to that some of the benefits - flexible working, the ability to have a really good work life balance – it’s a great package. For me, it was a case of ‘perfect place, perfect time’, really!
Describe your career journey so far.
It’s been quite varied. I started out in financial services, working in projects, programme management and the delivery of IT. And I’ve spent the last 15 years or so working as a management consultant in different parts of the NHS. I’ve worked in clinical commissioning groups, commissioning support units, even primary care trusts (as they used to be). I’ve worked with both secondary care and primary care, mainly delivering IT and digitally enabled change. So my passion has always been looking at how can we improve what organisations are doing by using digital tools. And that’s a large part of what digital services do internally here at NICE, so it was a good fit for me!
What projects are the team working on at the moment?
There are lots of exciting things underway! One of the key things we’re looking at right now is how we engage with our stakeholders. They’re a really important part of the production of our guidance. We’ve quite a large project underway looking at external consultations and how we gather comments and responses on those. We’ve just had our first external feedback session on that. We’re also looking at how we gather evidence and assess it to feed into the guidance we produce. And how we get our guidance out there. We’re also looking at ways to improve our website to help people find the information they need as easily as possible.
What have been the team’s biggest wins to date?
We’ve had some really good wins recently. There’s been some great work done with the Evidence Resources Directorate around starting to understand how we could use different areas of artificial intelligence. We’ve also looked at how we review evidence internally. That’s led to some real benefits for the teams working with evidence here at NICE. The work we’re doing on external consultations is going to be a big benefit to the organisation too. And some of them are just the day to day wins. Things like resolving defects that pop up and delivering things as we go. We’re a very delivery focussed team so working in a sprint pattern and being able to deliver on a regular basis is a real win for us every day.
What challenges are the team tackling at the moment?
The challenges are normally around how we manage to do everything we want to do! So it’s about what priority order we deliver things in. There’s always so much we want to be able to help the business with. A large part of what we do is around working with users to find out what their needs are. And what’s the most value we can offer with the resource that we have. That’s a challenge for everyone in the public sector and our team’s no different.
How would you describe your management style?
Hopefully helpful! My background is change and transformation so I’m very much a people person and I believe in a lot of collaboration. So, for me, working in an agile methodology, working with the teams we have in the business, that’s great. Looking at co-design and how we can work in a multidisciplinary way together is a really key part of what I enjoy doing. I don’t know what the team would say, because I’ve maybe not been here long enough for them to form an opinion! But I hope I’m fair. I’d also hope that I’m very straightforward about things as well. I believe in honesty and transparency. For me, it's about having sensible conversations with people to manage expectations as we go. A large part of my job is helping with that communication and understanding what that means for us for the future.
What do you enjoy most about working for NICE?
A large part of it for me is the credibility we have within the health and care system. It’s also what we offer and the fact that I can see, especially in today’s world, the value that digital tools can give. Not just to the teams producing the guidance, but also to the users we produce it for. And I really enjoy the people. Since I’ve joined the team it’s been really nice being part of it. Having a variety of people with a variety of different disciplines is great. We have some really good conversations about the different approaches to take. We think things through and overcome the challenges together. For me, it’s incredibly rewarding being part of a team that works like that. I love having a road map, knowing we’re adding a huge amount of value and benefit to everybody we’re working with.
Describe the culture of NICE in 3 words.
I think my 3 words would be: respect, transparency and collaboration. There’s a lot of respect in the system for what we do. And we have a culture of respect for what we produce and how it’s used. We’ve a very transparent approach to our work, in how decisions are made and how recommendations are produced. And even since I’ve joined NICE, there’s an increasing desire to work more closely together. We’re not just looking at individual areas, as we may have done in the past. We’re looking at how we can do things together across the whole organisation.
What would you say to someone who might be thinking of joining the team?
I’d say get in touch and have a chat with us! That’s what I did before I applied. I don’t think a job description on its own always helps you understand the team and the work. Plus, it’s not just about you being the right fit for us, it’s about us being the right fit for you. The work we’re doing is definitely going to tick a lot of people’s boxes. So if you’re interested please do feel free to pick up the phone to one of us and we’ll happily have a chat with you. I hope that whoever joins the team would want to stay with us for a long time. So starting those conversations early is always a good thing!