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Government launches search for digital chief

19/09/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Government has begun its search for a new chief digital information officer (CDIO) with an indication that it will be at a higher grade than the existing director general of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Whitehall street sign

The Cabinet Office has placed an advertisement for the job with John Manzoni, chief executive of the Civil Service, saying it will be at second permanent secretary level.

The person appointed to the role will report directly to him and, according to the ad, lead the Government’s 17,000 digital, data and technology professionals.

Speaking at IT industry association techUK’s Building the Smarter State conference, Mazoni said: “Until now leaders of those functions have not been at permanent secretary level but at director general.

“In a big system like the Civil Service it takes time to make these changes. I’ve always felt to get the true matrix takes a balance. This is one of the more complex and larger functional leader roles, so it is entirely appropriate it is put at a second permanent secretary level. It is a step up.

“As with any of these roles it is complex. As I always say, with these functional leaders you have to be very wise, very experienced, very powerful and never use the power. They have to be the people who can convene the departmental CDIOs and convene from government how we move the digital transformation strategy forwards.”

Standards issues

He said it will take in issues like data and infrastructure standards, which is very difficult to do throughout all the organisations of central government.

The change in the role suggests there will be no direct replacement as head of GDS – a role currently held in an interim capacity by Alison Pritchard following the recent departure of Kevin Cunnington. The ad makes clear that the new job will involve responsibility for GDS.

Image by Clay Gilliland, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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