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Interview with Dan Pegler, Head of IM&T, Action for Hearing Loss

DAN PEGLER, HEAD OF IM&T AT ACTION FOR HEARING LOSS DISCUSSES HIS ROLE IN A NATIONAL CHARITY, HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING THE ORGANSIATION ACHIEVE ITS GOALS AND WHY HE’S COMING TO CHASE LIVE, HART SQUARE’S ANNUAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON 4th JULY AT THE BREWERY, LONDON.

 

Tell us about your current role!

I have worked at Action for Hearing Loss, for four and a half years, as Head of IM&T. We are the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK. We have about 80 sites across the four countries, with around 1,000 staff and 2,000 volunteers.

My team of seven provide IT infrastructure support to all 80 sites – the usual services you would expect to enable the organisation to function day-to-day. Two of the team focus on software development of a number of bespoke in-house tools that we use, e.g. an outcomes tool for our registered care services to track progress of the people we support so we can measure our success in helping people to achieve their goals.

And before this?
I’ve worked in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sector, having started my career at a brewery (I was 18 and thought it was the best job ever!). I then worked at a law firm, before I moved into the not-for-profit sector. I’ve worked in the housing sector, education and then more recently the NHS. Action for Hearing Loss is my first charity though and it’s a hugely rewarding role.

What difference do you see between the private and public sectors?
It’s the staff in the NFP sector – they’re the real difference for me. Staff in the charity sector are truly motivated to do the best job they can because they identify with the cause their organisation champions, rather than to just generate profit for profit’s sake. And that’s a big motivation for me, working with like-minded people.

What’s the biggest challenges facing your organisation right now?
Like any charity, the challenge is managing a small team on a budget – particularly hard when you are delivering high quality IT services on a national scale.

As money becomes tight, fundraising for any charity is hard, so we are really focused on getting our message out and making sure people understand the difference that we make to people’s lives.

How will you approach this change?
IT is focusing on being a business enabler, embedding a cultural change so staff understand the importance of data. The focus is sharing data analytics back to all parts of the organisation, so they can understand how they are doing, and can measure and continuously improve services for the people we support. One of my passions is to help people understand how data can help them, what an asset it is.

In parallel, we are making our systems and services secure, accessible and intuitive for staff, so they can focus on the job in hand.

Finally, good procurement decisions are key. In my early days at Action for Hearing Loss, I saw that some of our communication costs were high, so quickly renegotiated and sourced new suppliers, saving £60k a year and improving the service for staff or our service users.

What’s the thing you’re most proud of in your current role?
Being able to deliver a big infrastructure upgrade project that transformed the way the organisation works. Previously, we had a solid, reliable system but it only really worked if you were in the office. Now we have systems that enable staff to work remotely and securely and get access to superb IT services at any time, from any location. In the process we made saving of 25% on our annual operational costs, which could be reinvested in support for service users. I’m really proud of that.

What’s the secret to your success?
The thing to do is get your recruitment right and make sure the people in your teams know the contribution they are making. You also have to trust them to be able to deliver. And it’s always great to hire people who know more than you do!

You’re coming to www.chase.live – what are you hoping to learn?
I went last year for the relaunch – where it stands out from other events is that it looks at delivering strategies from the organisation’s point of view, and sharing what went well, what went less well and how the sector can be better. There’s a real honesty from the presenters.

It also showcases the tools and services out there, but both from suppliers but also their customers – speakers from the sector who are running organisations like mine.

Which speaker are you most looking forward to hearing this year?
Alastair Campbell – he’s been right in at the heart of government and to hear his views right now will be a fantastic end to the day. It’s worth saying that Midge Ure was fantastic last year as well!

Who’s your fantasy speaker for our future events?
Bill Gates would be amazing! Also, speakers talking about the ethical of use of data would be good.

Thank you for sparing the time to talk to us today!

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