Home Office Begins Hunt For New Chief Tech Officer

UK government

The Home Office’s recruitment plans indicate a new chief digital, data and technology officer might not be in place until late this year or early 2018

The Home Office has begun recruiting for a chief digital, data and technology officer (CDDO) to succeed Sarah Wilkinson, who is to take the reins as chief digital officer of NHS Digital in August.

The Home Office’s recruitment schedule suggests Wilkinson’s replacement may not be in place until early November at the earliest, leaving a gap of three months or more.

Succession gap

News of Wilkinson’s departure emerged in mid-April, and final panel interviews are currently scheduled for the week beginning 2 October, according to the Home Office’s recruitment notice.

If the successful candidate is required to give one month’s notice that could see them in place at the Home Office in early November, but three months’ notice would mean the new officer would take over only in January of next year.

Digital government, GDSThe CDDTO is to report to Mike Parsons, the Home Office’s director general of capabilities and resources, a member of the department’s executive committee and the departmental board chaired by the secretary of state.

Parsons will participate in the final interviews, on a panel chaired by Kevin Woods of the Civil Service Commission, GDS director general Kevin Cunnington and Home Office lead non-executive director Sue Langley.

The role comes with a salary in the SCS Pay Band 2 range and oversees an annual spend of £227 million in resources and £31m in capital.

Merged function

The Home Office’s digital, data and technology function comprises around 1,500 staff as well as a large number of supplier partners and an “increasing number” of small and medium-sized suppliers contributing specialist expertise, the department said.

The successful candidate will be expected to provide “strong leadership and senior-level advocacy” within the Home Office and across government, as well as for the projects that support the department’s business digitisation programmes, according to the job specification.

The post holder will be expected to contribute a “deep knowledge of the technology and digital landscape and marketplace” and to ensure the department “makes effective use of modern standards and solutions”.

Ordnance Survey's headquarters in Southampton
Ordnance Survey’s headquarters in Southampton

In July of last year the Home Office merged its technology and digital functions into a single unit, and the post holder will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the shift and the capability of imbuing the new structure with a “sense of shared purpose”, according to the Home Office.

OS appoints chief data officer

Separately, Ordnance Survey said it has appointed Caroline Bellamy as its chief data officer as the organisation looks to expand its provision of data to the public and private sectors.

Bellamy has held several leadership roles with Vodafone in England and Germany since 2008 and was involved with reshaping the company’s business intelligence and big data analytics operations.

She will be tasked with defining the scope of the OS’ new data officer post, including putting an enterprise-wide data strategy and infrastructure plans in place.

Nigel Clifford, chief executive of OS, said the appointment reflects the growing importance of the organisation’s data and its potential use in assisting digital renovation efforts in both the public and private sectors.

He cited Bellamy’s “understanding of data and technology and her record of accomplishment in creating a business mindset that can extract extra meaning and value from it”.

“For OS, this is an appointment that expands our expertise and underpins our relevance to government, business and communities,” Clifford stated.

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