British Government’s IT Chief To Quit

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At the end of this year, John Suffolk, the government’s CIO will step down before major projects are launched

A glitch has occurred in the government’s ICT cuts and G-Cloud initiatives with the announcement that John Suffolk, the British government’s chief information officer and information security officer, will leave at the end of this year.

According to Suffolk, the decision is not a show of dissatisfaction. He said, “I am immensely proud of the way we have supported the new government in its first six months, and have greatly enjoyed working with  Francis Maude and his team.”

Smooth Transfer To G-Cloud

Suffolk (left) moved to his role as CIO from his posting as director general of Criminal Justice IT (CJIT) in 2006. Since the coalition government came to power earlier this year, he has been working closely with Maude, the minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, in assessing IT project cuts, supplier renegotiations and laying plans for G-Cloud.

To smooth the handover, the Cabinet Office has confirmed that the chief operating officer for the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), Ian Watmore, will chair the CIO council until further notice. Watmore was Suffolk’s predecessor and will play a key role in the appointment of the next CIO.

Tola Sargeant, research director at TechMarketView, said, “We’d long suspected that he would prefer not to spend another four years in the role and might take the opportunity to hand the baton to someone new once the coalition government had bedded in.”

With such a focus on the development of government IT, Suffolk had to decide whether to leave before any major project work began or stay and see it through. He has already laid the plans for his successor to build upon, especially with G-Cloud. The flagship project will simplify government IT by moving much of the infrastructure to the cloud. This will save £1.2 billion a year, gradually building to £4 billion by 2020, he claimed.

“Much of what we do is common and standard and simple, so we are absolutely ideal for a cloud-based model,” he said.

Suffolk has not announced any plans for his next move.

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