A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Depotnet's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Depotnet is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Holly Dalby, managing director
Leading utilities software
Depotnet was born in 2008, having evolved from a
previous IT services company for the utilities industry
founded by Holly Dalby. This was just at the time when
mobile apps and smartphones were becoming commonplace,
allowing the development of Depotnet’s innovative works order
management software. Created with the “operative on the
ground” in mind, this software ensures ease and accessibility for
on-site teams, providing a truly streamlined process.
When we first started, almost ten years ago, Depotnet consisted of just three
people. Our software was initially used by smaller contractors for specialised
operations. My personal dream back then was to secure work with Openreach, a
large-scale utilities operator. Almost a decade on, we’re proud to have seen that
dream realised. Even though most of our clients are still locally established teams,
we’re happy to be providing a service to a national household name.
Streamlining and simplifying
Our software has many different uses. Whether it’s scheduling workers on
site, checking that the right person has logged their arrival at the right place,
or downloading safety and risk management documentation, we aim to make
everything quick, easy and accessible. In the past all these tasks would have been
paper-based, needing signature after signature, and requiring workers to print off
reams of documents before leaving for jobs.
»Founded by managing director
Holly Dalby
»Established in 2008
»Based in Henley-In-Arden,
»Services: Works order
management software
»No. of employees: 16
Highlighting best practice
Depotnet streamlines that process.
Everything we do is cloud-based,
which means you can use mobiles and
platforms. You can be ready to work
on-site at the touch of a button, without
sitting down at a computer for hours
searching for the right materials. While
the utilities industry has traditionally
been unglamorous, we offer
accessible, well-designed technology.
Beyond that, our system offers a direct
relationship between utilities operators
and contractors. Rather than working
through middlemen, and taking on
their overheads, Depotnet can eliminate
layers of management, allowing the
customer or asset owner to interact and
trade directly with contractors to build
closer, more responsive relationships.
Ideas and prototyping can be shared
and turned around more quickly. We
can also remove one of the barriers to
entry for smaller companies, especially
in rural areas, as they can start
dialogues with large operators where
none were possible before.
There are many instances in this
industry where the software that’s
essential to operation obfuscates and
overcomplicates. We want to avoid
that; I believe the kind of technology
we provide simplifies things on the
ground. We want to demystify IT
and erase the myth that it creates
obstacles. We believe that if a process,
update or operation can’t be explained
succinctly without jargon, something is
going wrong.
An expanding business
Openreach is the largest utilities
operator that we deal with directly, but
we’ve also been working with Cityfibre
and Light Source in a similar vein. Once
we’ve won a client, we rely on our
specialist expertise for retention. We
do not believe there are any similar
systems out there with our level of
functionality and accessibility.
When it comes to growing our
customer base, we recognise that the
utilities industry has a finite workforce.
Our systems are becoming embedded
in our clients’ working lives; for many
people, Depotnet is simply integrated
into their day-to-day operations.
Analysts and developers
work closely together Usability of our apps is of
paramount importance
Depotnet can
layers of
allowing the
customer or
asset owner to
interact and
trade directly
The proven benefits we offer, making
work simpler, safer and more efficient,
along with case studies from existing
clients, allow us to grow via word of
mouth and recommendation.
Finding our solutions
It has been an ongoing challenge to
prove ourselves when dealing with
large managed services providers. We
believe that the quality of our software
should be the highest priority, but
evaluating it is not always the focus for
larger players.
We often work with partners of the
utilities operators, who have well-
established IT departments employed
to create the complex systems that we
interact with. We have developed a
number of different solutions allowing
us to interact with these partners
and their systems, helping to break
through technological barriers and
misunderstandings, although they still
undoubtedly exist.
Our final challenge is the sheer pace
at which technology develops. We rely
on the diversity of our workforce to
keep our thinking fluid and current.
We employ an exceptional number
of women for this industry and work
hard to encourage a dialogue between
our more experienced workers and
our younger employees – and we
always take up positive ideas from any
We pride ourselves on striking the
right balance between innovating
and providing our clients with what
With the introduction of the General
Data Protection Regulation, we have
ensured that all people have had the
appropriate training since the end of
April this year.
We have also just received our ISO
27001 certification. It’s possible
for street works regulations, with
the resultant fines, to put smaller
contractors out of business, but we are
constantly striving to equip ourselves
and our clients with the best defence
we can.
Staying steady and sustainable
Though we have grown by 20 per
cent year on year since Depotnet was
first founded, our focus is on a stable
and sustainable business. Growing too
quickly comes with its own problems,
so we plan to concentrate on
innovating from a solid foundation.
Beyond that, we will continue to do
what we do: streamlining a process
that has always been crammed with
unnecessary layers. We want to
automate as many laborious tasks
as possible and put everything at
contractors’ fingertips, allowing them
to use their brains and enjoy what
they’re doing.
Finally, we want to ensure a consistent
work-life balance for all our people,
and to carry on looking towards
In a
industry, we
want to offer
accessible and
Business analysts get to
the root of the problem

This article was sponsored by Depotnet. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister