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Looking ahead to the next five years

The Principle One team got together last week at Sopwell House for our annual offsite strategy event. This marked an opportunity to reflect on our first five years as business as well as look to the future and consider our priorities for the next five.

Since its initial incorporation, Principle One has built a deliberately inclusive and open culture and an ‘all hands’ event has been a core element of maintaining that as we have grown from a handful of staff in a small office in Tintagel House in 2018 to a team of over 60, working across an ever-increasing range of projects and customers.

When we last met as a full team slightly less than a year ago, we had focused our discussion on getting more of the internal structures and capabilities in place that we needed to support a larger, more dispersed team. Over the last nine months, we have made significant progress with our knowledge management and the communities of practice that support staff in developing their tools of the trade and in learning from each other.

Much of our focus was external this time, looking at the customer markets that we have begun to work much more in over the last year and sharing ideas around how we can develop our services to deliver effectively into newer customers and diversify our customer base. We also took time to consider how we can promote greater consistency in our ways of working and ensure the right support is in place across all our teams.

We were also joined by Aimee Reed, MPS’s Director of Data and the Chair of the National Police Data Board as a guest speaker. Data underpins almost all our work across in policing, whether at the heart of the work we do in Communications Intelligence or in providing the evidence base to drive change in priority areas such as Violence against Women and Girls. Our team were inspired by Aimee’s relentless drive to create a data literate workforce and put a strong foundation in place to support policing in tackling the issues it faces today and planning for a future of ever-increasing data volumes and complexity.

For the first time, we were also joined by a pre-dinner speaker, barrister Jacqueline Carey KC, and part of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse and, more recently, into the UK Covid-19 inquiry. She shared some thoughts around the evolving nature of internet crime and how her work across the criminal justice system connects into our work in policing.

Our second day has been known to have a slightly slower start, but the team came back fully energized for a lively Directors’ Town Hall Q&A. What happens at Sopwell stays at Sopwell of course, so we will never reveal who is favourite to win a Principle One Hunger Games but once that pressing question was answered there was a chance to get the Directors’ views on lessons learnt over the last five years and what excites them most as we plan for the future.

Our final session before lunch, and a well-deserved early start to the weekend, was with the design company we are discussing office design and fit out for a potential move later in the year. While we plan to remain in the Vauxhall area, this will provide us with a significantly larger space which will be designed to support greater teamwork both for project delivery teams and with our customers. We showcased initial designs and captured feedback from the team, which was wide ranging to say the least, which brought our event to a close with our focus firmly on the next five years.


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