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Government CIO role ditched in governance shake-up

Departmental CIOs will instead work closely with digital leaders to modernise government IT

The government has announced a big shake up of its governance structures, which has resulted in the cross-government CIO role being ditched.

Andy Nelson previously held the position of government CIO, but recently moved to become CIO for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after the unexpected passing of Philip Langsdale over Christmas.

Nelson was not replaced and it has now been revealed that the position will not be filled. Instead, each department will have a CIO and an active digital leader, whom will work closely together to deliver on the digital transformation requirements laid out in the Civil Service Reform Plan and the Government Digital Strategy.

The thinking is that each department's CIO requirements are different and vary depending on what services they offer to the public, and therefore is too complicated a task for one CIO to monitor across the board.

Government chief operating officer Stephen Kelly is also to take on the additional role of Government Senior Risk Owner (GSIRO), where he will be tasked with the management of information and technical risks.

"Andy Nelson has achieved remarkable feats in the Government CIO role, and the fact that he has moved to lead IT on a pivotal welfare reform project in such a high-profile department is evidence of his abilities," said Kelly.

"The legacy he has left means we are in a fantastic position to review our governance and set the direction for the future of our technology leadership. Governance is central to promoting a web-based, user-focused and participative culture - because it reflects what our users need from government digital services, but also because it helps us to deliver on our efficiency and reform priorities."

"We want an exceptional Civil Service delivering the best for Britain: more skilled, less bureaucratic and more unified. The world has changed and so must we - and ensuring we are equipped for the digital future is part of that. Roughly £1.2 billion of savings could be made during this Parliament alone by bringing central government transactional services online. So, the opportunity is huge, and this progress means we are racing to meet it."

The government is hoping that by making transactions that are carried out by the public every day digital, it could save up to £1.7 billion a year after 2015. The government currently handles over one billion transactions every year through 650 different services - it has now said that any of those services that aren't digital, will have to be, and any under-utilised digital services will have to be redesigned.

The National Audit Office recently said that between 2011 and 2012 central government spent an estimated £316 million less than it would have done otherwise.

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