Who we are and what we do

Who we are

A bit about us

Opencast began in 2012 after our founders Charlie Hoult and Mike O'Brien met at the gates of the school where their respective twins attended. 

We were founded and remain headquartered in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne – although today our people are found right across the UK, including in London, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

From foundation to today, we have worked to deliver a new kind of technology consulting, driven by a people-first culture built on trust, respect and a desire to do right by our clients.

Rapid growth on the back of exciting new client work has seen the Opencast team increase to more than 400 people. We more than doubled in size in 2022 alone.

Our story so far

Four people on a hiking trail


Our founders first meet

Opencast founders Charlie Hoult and Mike O’Brien first meet in 2011 at the gates of the Newcastle school where their respective twins attend. The pair set out to challenge the traditional technology consulting model. Opencast would epitomise this with an approach that put people and user needs front and centre from the start.



Opencast starts work

Opencast officially begins in April 2012, with offices at Hoults Yard, Newcastle. Our first client is RBS, followed swiftly by the NHS Business Services Authority.

During our NHSBSA engagement a senior client tells us: “We love what you do. We haven’t seen consulting work like this. We recognise an Opencast person and that’s what we want.” 

Wind farm at sea.


Wind behind the North East IT economy

In 2013 we help found regional IT network Dynamo with Accenture, Sage and Newcastle University. Dynamo has since helped develop major regional IT projects worth tens of millions – and Opencast remains a steadfast supporter.

We build the world’s first wind turbine data analytics platform for ORE, moving from zero to production in super-quick time.

A view of the Barclays offices from the ground looking up


Work with HMRC and Barclays

We start work with our first government partner, HMRC. Our relationship with the revenue grows and by 2021 we secure a major contract win to help create new digital services. Barclays also joins our growing client list. 

In true Opencast style, we rent a farmhouse for a team away break. We love the Cheshire country air, Aga, hot tub and the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory at the end of the garden. 


London cityscape from above with the shard


Adding Betfair, Sage and Lycetts

We add Betfair, the world’s largest online betting exchange, as a client, helping professionalise its global production management and data services departments.

Sage becomes a client, and we work on a global project to integrate data across eight CRM platforms. Lycett’s Insurance becomes another long-term client.

Mike O'Brien standing in front of 10 Downing Street


Mike at 10 Downing Street

Global investment bank Morgan Stanley joins as a client and creates a new team in Newcastle for its global equity swaps business. Founder Mike O'Brien joins a visit to 10 Downing Street to represent and promote North East businesses.

Houses of parliament


Govtech and tech for good

Against fierce competition from national and global companies, we win an £8.5m contract with HMRC. And we sponsor DigitalAgenda’s tech-for-good Impact Awards, recognising Citizens Advice for its new digital platform.

The front cover of an issue of our Broadcast magazine that features an old computer on top of a set of drawers


Building and Broadcast

New work with Newcastle Building Society, helping agile transformation, development processes and scrum courses for more than 200 staff. 

The first edition of Broadcast, our new magazine, adds to our client communication.

Build IT right conference in session


Building IT Right

Build IT Right, an Opencast-backed conference for developers and engineers in the north east region’s IT sector, features 20 speakers and 250 delegates.

Welly wanging, pig herding and tractor racing are among the activities at Opencast’s Farm Adventure team away gathering in the Yorkshire Dales.

A landscape photo of a man in a brown tweed jacket standing and smiling


Testing times and work from home

The Covid pandemic hits and the entire Opencast team moves to working remotely from home. We work closely with all of our clients to ensure that project delivery remains unaffected.

Opencast works with HMRC on the rapid delivery of vital new Covid online support services – including the furlough and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes.

Tom Lawson, head of corporate development, steps up to become Opencast’s chief executive.

Two men smiling while standing in front of a glass panel with an abstract design on it


Impact for society and our people

Opencast publishes Lessons from the Storm, offering insights from the pandemic for the delivery of government technology services. 

Efforts to make a positive social impact continue with charitable donations of £50,000 to non-profits working during the pandemic.

Charlie and Mike commit to giving away a third of their shares, to ensure that every employee has stake in our future business success.

Our end-of-year party brings all our people together face to face for the first time in nearly two years!

Opencast's new HQ social space


Growing fast and a new HQ

We aim to more than double the number of people on our team in 2022 to respond to increasing demand for our work, including with new clients at Acas and the Government Digital Service. 

We move into new larger headquarters at Hoults Yard as pandemic restrictions ease, allowing for hybrid working. We expand into other cities, first in Leeds and London, then Edinburgh.

Tom stresses that "while our growth is important, looking after our people and our clients must always be the top priority".


What we do

Work to make life better

Outcomes focus
Agile and iterative
Trusted partners

We’re a growing team of specialists who work at the heart of government, global finance and growth enterprise, providing a range of technology and digital consultancy services. Our OpenCulture empowers independent-minded people in our mission to do the right thing for our clients, our team and wider society: good teamwork to make life better.

Our values

Values define us

Five values define Opencast and how we work as people and as a business. These values, developed across a decade of work, inform our behaviour with our clients, partners and with each other.

Collectively, our people bring many decades of experience. We really have ‘been there and done that’ in some of the world’s leading technology and consultancy firms.

  • We make a difference 

    We want to make a positive impact on society, whether through skills development, diversity and inclusion, accessibility or charity giving.  

  • We build trust

    We tell it as it is. We are honest and open. We won’t over-promise or under-deliver. 

  • We enable people

    We provide innovative teams of self-starting thinkers, who thrive on taking responsibility for their work.  

  • We work together

    We are partners. We collaborate with clients to solve the right problems and are committed in our work to helping them to the right outcome. We build strong teams and encourage clients to grow.  

  • We do the right thing

    We always work to do what’s best for our clients and their users. Our independence means we are not tied to corporate restrictions or any technology vendor. We’re flexible and ready to invest in services that help you. 

Our people

The heart of our business


Why not join us?

Best people experience
Work that matters
Benefits and share options
Hybrid, HQ and city hubs
Diversity and inclusion
Social purpose

Opencast is growing fast. Working for us will give you the chance to develop your career as part of a diverse, ambitious and highly motivated team. Check out our vacancies...

People first

About our people

What makes Opencast different are the qualities of our people. These qualities underpin the values we embrace and the way we work as a team. 

Our people are hard-working, respectful self-starters who think independently and use their initiative to deliver for our clients with confidence. We trust them and believe in them – whether that's in choosing where to work or advising our clients and partners. We also support their career growth.

Hybrid working

Right place, right time

Opencast has a forward-looking ‘hybrid’ approach to where people work.

Everyone at Opencast splits their time between multiple locations, including from our Newcastle HQ and hub locations, client site or home. This allows our people to be able to work together, feel connected and deliver great outcomes for our clients.

Travel is part of life at Opencast, and takes into account the requirements of our work, our clients and our teams. We believe strongly in the value of working together, face-to-face. In-person meetings can result in more productive collaboration and help to build the trust needed for our teams to succeed.

Opencast is not remote first – we are hybrid. Hybrid working at Opencast means all of our people, including consultants and those working in core operations, will be in the right place at the right time to deliver their work.