Cabinet Office axes top CIO role

Exit sign

The Cabinet Office has canned the roles of cross-government CIO and head of profession for ICT, as part of a shakeup of the government digital strategy.

In a blog post Mike Bracken, executive director of Digital in the Cabinet Office, said the government body was changing both technically and culturally as it moved away from a "large procurement approach to technology" towards a strategy of "commissioning and co-delivering digital public services".

The changes mean the current cross-government CIO Andy Nelson will not be replaced when he leaves to join the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Bracken said: "The CIO moniker to me was a natural development from the elevation of the technology function to a board role. While Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) deliver the technology, CIOs are expected to use the flows of information and data from that technology and across business systems to inform strategy."

However, as much of the information and data CIOs in government are supposed to be managing resides in outsourced services and proprietary software, they found themselves "performing as quasi-procurement and contract managers, rather than really driving business performance," he said.

"There is no better time to be in a senior digital role if information and data flows can be harnessed into creating great digital services, but to do that we have to put digital leaders and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) in the driving seat across government," said Bracken.

Phil Dawson, CEO of cloud service provider Skyscape, said of the move: "The Cabinet Office's bold statements certainly highlight that the Government is moving in the right direction when it comes to rethinking its previous approach to IT procurement.

"We applaud the progress made to date by strategies such as Digital by Default and the Government ICT Strategy, and frameworks such as G-Cloud. However, there remains strong support for the ICT Strategy much of which needs to be kept, hence these need to be melded into one."

Jane McCallion
Managing Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.