UK turns to Accenture for head of e-government

Can Ian Watmore improve the delivery of key services online, and put an end to the litany of failed government IT projects?

The UK government has appointed the UK managing director of Accenture, the consultancy and technology services company, to be Britain's first head of e-government.

Ian Watmore's role will effectively be that of a chief information officer. He will be charged with improving online government services in the UK. The existing offerings have been criticised for being too department-centric and not focusing enough on the needs of citizens.

He will also be responsible for the use of technology to modernise government and drive down overall costs.

Watmore, who replaces e-envoy Andrew Pinder, has already acknowledged that he's taking on a challenging role.

"I’m looking forward to starting in the position and supporting all the work that departments are delivering," he said in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon.

Perhaps the most difficult part of Watmore's new job will be to monitor major public sector IT projects. This is not an area where the government has enjoyed unblemished success.

The National Audit Office has recently criticised the way that a £400m project to create the Criminal Records Bureau for vetting people who work with children was implemented. It also slammed the government's intelligence agency for the poor planning of a transfer to new headquarters after the cost of moving IT systems soared from £40m to £450m.