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Mark Dearnley to leave HMRC digital role



Chief digital and information officer to step down next month at end of contract

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is losing its digital chief next month as Mark Dearnley has decided to move back to the private sector on the conclusion of his contract.

The department confirmed that Dearnley is stepping down as chief digital and information officer, saying he had overseen a “smooth transition” from the Aspire IT contract.

His replacement on an interim basis will be Mike Potter, currently HMRC’s director of digital transformation. The department said it will begin a competition for a long term replacement soon.

Dearnley joined from Vodafone on a three-year contract in November 2014, having previously held roles at NHS Blood and Transplant and the Environment Agency. He has worked for other private sector organisations including Boots.

“We have replaced our outdated internal IT, launched digital tax accounts for individuals and businesses, and have successfully concluded negotiations to dismantle the Aspire IT contract, taking more direct control of the design and delivery of our digital technology services at huge cost savings for HMRC,” Dearnley said.

“We have also built one of the strongest digital technology teams in the world and I am confident that they will continue to deliver HMRC’s IT transformation at pace.

“I have decided to return to the private sector after three fantastic years, to take on a new challenge.”

PAC warning

The move comes a few days after the Commons Public Accounts Committee published a report on the transition away from the Aspire contract, saying that that it needed continuity in leadership to design and introduce a new IT model successfully.

Some services are due to be taken in-house before next year, and existing providers will continue to provide about a fifth of services until 2020. HMRC has said it is close to finalising the relevant contracts.

The announcement came on the same day of news from the Cabinet Office that Stephen Foreshew-Cain has left the role of head of the Government Digital Service to be replaced by Kevin Cunnington.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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