Government on the hunt for four new IT chiefs

Four senior IT chiefs are being sought for positions working in central government, three of which will be responsible for delivering commercial expertise in public sector IT buying and the other in charge of developing an end-to-end procurement service.

The Cabinet Office told Computerworld UK that the advertised opportunities are for roles in the Crown Commercial Service, the evolution of Government Procurement Service, which was announced in July. The Crown Commercial Service plans to centralise spend on common items across government and ensure that government acts as a true single customer.

The roles will also complement wide ranging IT and procurement reforms that have been taking place across Whitehall over the past two years. Ministers and IT chiefs have been working to open up government business to SMEs, removing some power from the ‘oligopoly’ of traditional suppliers, as well as transform legacy systems into digital products for use by citizens across the UK.

That has involved a number of leadership changes within government departments, with the role of the CIO being removed in favour of a CTO and a Chief Digital Officer, as well as a number of contract renegotiations and new frameworks being designed, such as the G-Cloud, to support smaller businesses.

Although the reforms are beginning to ruffle the feathers of some of the larger suppliers, a recent Public Accounts Committee report claimed that more could be done to boost savings.

The first job advertised this week is for an IT Commercial Director, where the successful candidate will be responsible for all IT spend across government (estimated at £5 billion to £6 billion in the job description).

The person taking up the post will have knowledge of the latest technologies, including cloud, and have worked on very large scale IT commercial programmes. He or she will also have a “good understanding of the legal procurement function”.

Advertised with a start date of ‘ASAP’, the new recruit will be in the post until March 2014 initially.

Central government has been criticised in the past for not retaining a similar level of commercial skill that is seen in the private sector and it is likely that the new Commercial IT Director will be charged with getting the best value for money out of government’s largest suppliers.

Separately to this, a Commercial Delivery Director role is also being created. The person chosen will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for the commercial delivery function, and for ensuring that the directorate delivers breakthrough performance in cost, quality, service and innovation.

The advertisement states: "The role holder will build and manage a centre of excellence in delivering procurements across UK Government, creating best-in-class in efficiency and savings, through his/her directorates effective management of supplier relationships across all categories and delivery of leading edge procurement strategies."

The final 'commercial delivery' position being created is for a new Commercial Director of Telecommunications. The person selected will build and maintain an extremely high level of Telecoms capability and procurement expertise within their team. The Crown Commercial Service hopes that this will enable it to provide end-to-end Telecoms procurement services to Government Departments.

Finally, another position being advertised is for a Chief Technology Officer that will “play a critical role in developing a large scale end to end procurement service”. The person that succeeds in getting the job will be involved in a “rare opportunity to lead a large-scale programme of change that will radically improve government procurement”.

Anyone applying for the job must have deep experience of leading IT/digital transformation projects in large multi-site, highly complex organisations, as well as experience of innovative approaches to sourcing services and of managing relationships with large suppliers.

The job requires that anyone applying also has understanding and experience of using agile project management techniques and working practices, as well as open source and cloud technologies – which suggests the final product may incorporate these approaches.


Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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