Joe Harley to step down as government and DWP CIO

Harley announces retirement in 2012...
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Harley announces retirement in 2012...

Whitehall's most senior IT leader, UK government and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) CIO Joe Harley, is to retire next year.

Harley will retire in spring 2012, after more than seven years working with the DWP and almost one year as government CIO, it was announced today.

Government CIO Joe Harley will retire in 2012

Government CIO Joe Harley will depart in 2012Photo: DWP

His departure comes at a time when the government is preparing to undergo a fundamental shift in the way it accesses computing - thanks to a recent pledge that half of all new IT spending will go on public cloud services by 2015 and the announcement of an end to multibillion-pound IT programmes such as the National Programme for IT.

Harley took over the government CIO role, in addition to his DWP CIO brief, in February after the departure of former government CIO John Suffolk three months prior. During his time in the role, he has helped to draw up the coalition government's recent IT strategy and form the CIO delivery board to oversee IT reform in Westminster.

Minister for Cabinet Office Francis Maude paid tribute to the work Harley has done as government CIO: "Joe has played an integral role in the past year as government CIO - he has led the delivery of a new ICT strategy and strategic implementation plan.

"These will ensure that the old siloed way of developing government ICT projects comes to an end, and leaves us with all departments working together to produce a fit-for-purpose and cost-effective ICT system, potentially saving £1.4bn over the next four years," he said in a statement.

Harley described working as both DWP and UK government CIO as "a great honour and a privilege".

"I am proud to have made some contribution to improving public services for the benefit of the citizen and the taxpayer," he said in a statement.

Under Harley, the DWP has been focused on aggressively reducing its IT bill, with the department managing to cut its total IT spend by £1.5bn between 2005 and 2010 through its technology transformation programme.

The DWP, one of the highest IT spenders in government, is also about to embark on a major project of IT work, putting in place systems to support the £2bn Universal Credit system and focusing on a major push of online services.

Before joining the government, Harley was global CIO for ICI Paints, based in London. He joined the company in 2000 and was responsible for its IT across 50 countries.

Prior to joining ICI, he worked for BP for 23 years, becoming CIO for global exploration and production business and later global IT VP responsible for global applications, hosting and consultancy.

The announcement of Harley's departure closely follows the announcement earlier this month that deputy government CIO Bill McCluggage is also stepping down from his role to take up a post with EMC.

The government has begun the process of selecting a new CIO for the DWP and government CIO.

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