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My career in Parliament: a focus on customers

Daniel Crutchfield
This June marked a milestone in my time at Parliament: I’ve been working for PDS for eight years, having started just after the 2015 General Election.

I joined from a background quite a bit detached from the world of IT and digital, but I’ve come a long way since then.  

My current role is Head of Customer Experience Management. In a nutshell, I help to ensure that we understand our customers – that is, MPs, Peers, their staff, and the wide variety of people employed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords who support the running of Parliament. It’s the sixth role I’ve held in PDS.  

A change of career 

Before I joined Parliament, I had a very different career. I had studied languages and spent some time teaching at a university in France. After teaching, I was interested in working somewhere like Parliament. I’d had a little bit of experience with IT and customer service, and later on at university, I worked weekends in libraries.  

It took me three attempts to get an interview for my first role in PDS. It took me a while to realise that I needed to talk about all the skills that I had learnt in my career, including while teaching, and not just the last role that I had done. I had assumed that none of my earlier experiences would be relevant, or that they were too long ago. Eventually, I managed to secure an interview, and then a role working on our IT Support Desk. 

The heart of digital services in Parliament  

The Support Desk is the first point of contact for IT issues for everyone in Parliament. I loved it. It was the perfect way to get a feel for the diversity of the organisation, both in terms of the people and also the range of activities happening here. 

Several colleagues from the Support Desk have since moved into other areas of the organisation. Some have pursued technical specialisms, while others have moved into roles as developers or project managers. It was a great springboard for helping me consider what I wanted to do next.  

From there, I spent some time as a team leader on the Support Desk, then moved into a project and programmes role, helping to drive digital change. I developed an interest in project management and decided I wanted to know more. 

Why Parliament is unique 

There are several unique things about working in Parliament – the buildings, the unusual terminology you have to get used to, and so on. Another is how your work is influenced by politics and world events. I had the chance to volunteer on our work to support the 2017 General Election, and that opportunity gave me the experience I needed to move into my next role as a Project Manager in PDS. 

But this isn’t the only type of opportunity Parliament offers. Over the years I’ve shadowed lots of different teams, from Bill Committees to Hansard.

Daniel giving a presentation

I’ve also taken a week or two out of my normal role to support other activities, such as NATO Parliamentary Assemblies, the Speaker’s G7 conference, and even helping to arrange the opening ceremony for the OSCE PA in Birmingham (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly) last year.

I’ll never forget some of the highlights from those experiences, for example, meeting Nancy Pelosi at a reception in Chorley, or getting an entire orchestra on and off the stage on time at the OSCE PA. These were nothing to do with my day-to-day job but a real privilege to work on. 

These activities gave me the experience and confidence to go for my next job – building a team in PDS dedicated to helping Members’ constituency offices – before moving to my current role.

I’m really lucky to be part of an organisation that is supportive of my development, offers variety, and lets you get involved in all sorts of things you never thought you would. I can only hope the next eight years are as eventful as the last. 

If you’re interested in a career in Parliament, browse our current vacancies.

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