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Job of the Week: CDIO, Department of Work and Pensions

Want to manage a £1.4 billion IT budget, a team of around 4,500, and oversee ~50 million lines of code? The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is looking for its new Director General, Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) — one of the most challenging and intriguing C-Suite roles in government.

The new DWP CDIO can expect a salary of £180,000-200,000 (double that of a recent MOD CDIO role), plus a potential bonus of up to £14,000. The successful candidate will be able to choose from DWP locations in London, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Blackpool and Newcastle as their office.

The incoming CDIO will replace Simon McKinnon, who told The Stack he plans to retire, “but I would caveat that by saying that I may remain active in the sector. In the meantime, the hard work continues here at DWP and it’s business as usual until my successor picks up the baton.”

As a flavour of the scale of DWP’s digital transformation efforts, last year the DWP completed a massive migration project, moving 25 million lines of code and 10.7 billion rows of citizen data from legacy mainframes to new open systems and an Oracle database. And the department is now on the hunt for a new £2.5 million emergency payments system, to make sure it can keep payments going out even in the event of catastrophe.

See also: DWP goes to market for emergency IT payments infrastructure

The DWP CDIO also has one of the toughest jobs in government IT: responsible for the smooth running of £170 billion in transactions every year, to 22 million UK residents, the incoming CDIO will inherit an enormous IT estate in the midst of fundamental change.As the department’s job pack says: “We’re reducing reliance on big suppliers, designing and delivering more digital products ourselves. Central to this transformation is a focus on culture and capability. Alongside developing the skills of our existing colleagues, we’re recruiting hundreds of specialists who are the very best in their fields. We value collaboration and creativity as much as technical capability.”

The DWP CDIO reports directly to the department’s permanent secretary, Peter Schofield. They should also expect to be interacting a fair amount with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; currently Thérèse Coffey – but will probably be someone else by the time the successful applicant starts.

DWP CDIO: Job description

According to the job description, the new DWP CDIO is expected to “role model the desired leadership behaviours” and set the culture and tone for DWP Digital. They’ll also be shaping the digitalisation strategy, dealing with strategic risk, and promoting “new ways of working”, while other responsibilities include:

  • Developing collaborative strategic partnerships working across Government including Cabinet Office, Treasury, Government Digital Service and other Departments in service of dealing with the most complex issues, sharing best practice and deploying shared services.
  • Contribute to and actively participate in the executive leadership of DWP as we deliver unprecedented change to the welfare system, and to the products and services it delivers; working in close partnership with the Director General for Service Excellence, on transforming our services.
  • Deliver high quality, stable and resilient live IT services and lead the strategic management of the supplier contract.

The Director General must also be an effective business and digital services transformation advocate experienced at operating at the most senior levels, as DWP puts it…

Quoted in the DWP CDIO job application pack, Schofield said: “You will be a key member of my Executive Team and will play a critical role in shaping our organisation as we deliver unprecedented change to the welfare system, and to our products and services. You’ll play an instrumental role in the continued transformation of this dynamic department and will be critical in us delivering our Spending Review priorities over the next three years – making a difference to improve services for citizens, colleagues and tax payers.

“Our mission now goes beyond digitalisation. It’s about simplifying and streamlining customer and colleague experience and, in the process, eliminating significant inefficiencies in how we deliver services. It’s an exciting time to join DWP.”

Sounds like the job for you?

Applications close on 29 August 2022, with assessments and interviews starting early in September, and interviews from 20 September onwards. There has already been 200+ applicants…

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Eliot Beer

Eliot Beer is a senior reporter for The Stack. He was previously editor of Arabian Computer News and Network Middle East. He has freelanced for Thomson Reuters, The Telegraph and Intelligent CIO.

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