Government CIO appointed but role will be part-time

Summary:DWP CIO Joe Harley to take up post...

DWP CIO Joe Harley to take up post...

Department for Work and Pensions CIO Joe Harley will take over as government CIO in February, when the role will be downgraded to a part-time position, the Cabinet Office announced today.

Harley will take on the government CIO role alongside his existing responsibilities, marking the first time the government will be without a full-time CIO since the post was created in 2004.

The Cabinet Office says the move is not just about saving money by scrapping the separate £205,000 salary for the government CIO post, and that the future government CIO role will more closely reflect the ambitions of the coalition government.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "We are trying to do more for less, and that means some people are doing bigger roles," adding that a dual role is more feasible for senior Whitehall CIOs since "some of the bigger IT projects that would have been dragging in a lot of time aren't happening any more".

The Cabinet Office has named Department for Work and Pensions CIO Joe Harley as new government CIO

The Cabinet Office has named Department for Work and Pensions CIO Joe Harley as new government CIO
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

"There will be changes [in the government CIO role] as a result of changes in the way that government works. There is much more focus on financial savings and better responding to this government's programme."

The coalition government has created a number of senior civil servant roles that have taken on responsibilities for transforming IT in the public sector - broadening the IT leadership role in Whitehall beyond the government CIO.

The reshuffling of senior IT responsibilities began last year, with the appointment of Ian Watmore as COO of the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group, the body that has led a review to scrap or cut back more than 300 IT projects with a total value of some £1bn.

Since then, the government has created a post to oversee the transition to delivering public services online and today announced it will appoint a director of ICT futures, who will implement "agile" systems in government, increase the use of open standards and open-source software in the public sector and make it easier for smaller organisations to win government tech contracts.

In addition, Watmore has taken over the role of senior information risk officer, which was a responsibility of the government CIO, so he will monitor central government IT projects for overspend or failure to deliver expected results.

Harley's appointment is the second time this year the government has chosen to shuffle an existing Whitehall IT chief into a top CIO role, following the director of the G-Cloud programme Chris Chant being appointed as acting director of digital in January.

The role of the government CIO, a post created in 2004, is to act as a guide for Whitehall and the wider public sector on IT-related matters, lead the national CIO Council and set strategy for the way government uses IT.

Commenting on Harley's appointment, Ovum public sector analyst Sarah Burnett said:...

Topics: Tech Industry


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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