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Cabinet Office appoints £142k digital tsar

Ex-newspaper man to transform services and information online...

Ex-newspaper man to transform services and information online...

Mike Bracken joins the Cabinet Office from Guardian News and Media, where he is director of digital developmentPhoto: Mike Bracken

The government has filled a £142,000 role for a director to lead plans to deliver more public services online and revamp its estate of websites.

Mike Bracken, Guardian News and Media's director of digital development, will join the Cabinet Office as executive director of digital for the government.

Bracken's salary - just £500 less than that of the Prime Minister - reflects his role realising ambitious targets for transforming government's online sites and services that were set out in a review by digital champion Martha Lane Fox.

His remit will cover everything from overseeing the creation of an easy-to-use, single web portal for government information and services to making a far wider range of public services available online.

In a statement to coincide with the appointment, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "Improving public services across government by bringing them online, making people's lives easier and saving millions of pounds is a prize worth having.

"I am looking forward to seeing radical change in our public services online experience."

Formally, the role combines the work of the chief executive of Directgov, the lead of cross-government digital reform work, and part of the work of the director for digital engagement and transparency - the role dubbed the Twitter tsar by the media.

Bracken's role is designed to help the government fulfil its ambition to save money and improve service delivery. For example, the government predicts it will halve the £130m it spends on online publishing each year by moving all government information to a single web domain.

He will be responsible for over 100 staff in the government's digital service and will join the Cabinet Office on 5 July, where he will report to government COO Ian Watmore.

Chris Chant, who is overseeing the government's cloud plans, has been acting as interim executive director of digital for government since the role was created in January.