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Difrent
June 6, 2019

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Michael Hargreaves, Delivery Lead

michael.hargreaves@difrent.co.uk
Agile Delivery | Public Sector | Digital Transformation

What’s your background?
After almost 27 years in working for the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) starting back when it was Department for Social Security and the Benefits Agency. I had a career in accountancy and audit for 15 years but I had an itch that needed scratching and a desire to get stuff done. So a move to Project Management and later I was in the right place at the right time when I was pushed into Digital via DWP’s Digital Academy (Now GDS Academy) and loved the work, culture and opportunities that followed (4 digital projects and 3 passed assessments). After several approaches to leave the Civil Service (which I never thought I had a pair of tennis balls big enough), I had a few months contracting, always in the Public Sector and was intercepted by Difrent and asked to return to where it all started.

Not as bad as it sounds, as now I have all the tools, motivation and courage to get things done in DWP as it should be - for the Public Good and it feels good.


Describe your role at Difrent
As the Delivery Lead for Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI), I am the servant leader to a very talented multidisciplinary team and we are righting the wrong of the system not being accessibility compliant. It’s early days and I know these things don’t always go smoothly but I have a strong feeling that this is the start of something very good for DWP and Difrent working in partnership.


Who are you outside of Difrent?
I have always enjoyed being a little bit Difrent (better to be noticed than looked over) and I like a combination of humour and intellect to keep life interesting.

I have believed for many years that the best thing about me is my children and I couldn’t be a much prouder dad, (most days), but all four of them are growing up fast (Levi 25, Elliot 22, Alex 12 and Eva 10).

Since I became a grandad last year, is it wrong to like / love my grandson more than my children? Perhaps not many here old enough to answer that.

I enjoyed football coaching for about 14 years (started with them at 4 and took the same group of boys through to 18) happy memories but when I stopped I seemed to get half a life back.

So what do I do with that half a life you ask?

Work more (my career really re-started after football stopped)
Run around after kids more
Go swimming/walking (no run left in me after the kids zap me out)
Eat and drink more
Fail at keeping my wife Lisa happy more


Who would you invite to dinner, dead or alive?
I love cooking and probably have a long list of people who I am interested to meet but if I shortlist it to my top 4;

My late father - just one last time would be precious
Peter Kay - someone else to keep the laughter going while I cook and serve drinks
Albert Einstein (it will be hilarious trying to keep up with his super brain once I have had a few)
Benjamin Franklin - so many of his famous quotes are stuck in me like I was born with them - so I need to fix that with closure by having some banter with him.

My kids can do the washing up for once and at this point, I contemplate if I should consider what to make for this unlikely assemble????? Perhaps a takeaway and spend more time entertaining!!!!

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