Department Of Work And Pensions Seeks New CTO

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The Department for Work and Pensions is seeking a leader to take leadership on all technology delivering services to citizens

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has begun the search for a chief technology officer (CTO) to lead the technical strategy and architecture for all of the department’s public-facing technology, including the delayed Universal Credit system.

Applicants for the £135,000-per-year role will be open until January 26, and the successful candidate will report directly to Mayank Prakash, DWP’s director general of digital technology, who was appointed in September.

Government services£1bn annual spend

The CTO will be expected to lead teams of up to 100 engineers at the department in its technology initiatives, which represent an annual spend of more than £1bn, Prakash said in a notice advertising the position.

“We use diverse technologies from Mainframe to Node.js, MongoDB and Hadoop running on several thousand servers, run Europe’s largest VOIP contact centre, and securely transact the majority of UK’s BACS banking transactions,” Prakash said in the notice.

The department said it is looking for a candidate with previous CTO experience at a large organisation, and with the know-how for migrating legacy technologies to next-generation platforms.

The CTO candidate must have hands-on experience in delivering web-based services using Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, .NET or JavaScript, and must have experience with Unix/Linux infrastructure, open source ESB, big data analytics and visualisation, Prakash said.

He said his future colleague should be skilled at building partnerships with start-ups and established industry vendors alike.

IT transformation

“You would naturally prioritise user needs over processes and tools; have a bias for action resulting in frequent iterative working software delivery over programme governance; favour infrastructure as a utility service; be a champion for simplicity as well as security; and be comfortable operating in an egalitarian working environment which celebrates depth of expertise over hierarchy,” Prakash wrote.

Prakash replaced former CIO Andy Nelson, who resigned for unknown reasons in March 2014.

Universal Credit is one of several major IT programmes currently underway at the department. The scheme is a new payment system for those on low incomes or looking for work, and is designed to consolidate six separate welfare payments into one comprehensive system. Work has been underway to develop the IT systems for the scheme, but has faced difficulties and inter-departmental wrangling, according to reports.

In October the DWP announced it would roll out biometric signature-recognition pads, PC workstations and free Wi-Fi connectivity at Job Centres around the country. The new technology, which is estimated will save the department £2 million per year, will replace the pen-and-paper systems formerly used by jobseekers signing on for their benefits, while helping users look for jobs online.

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