Following the recent retirement of Andrew Stott as Director for Digital Engagement we have received several queries about the future of the Digital Engagement agenda. So we are very pleased to introduce Chris Chant, who has been appointed Director for DirectGov and Digital Engagement and will be based in the Cabinet Office.
Chris attended the UKGovcamp unconference on the 22nd January and gave an early insight into his priorities for the next few months. This was a chance for Chris to introduce himself to a community with long experience and great enthusiasm for the digital agenda in Government. In a brief keynote session he covered various aspects of his role including Martha Lane Fox’s report Directgov 2010 and Beyond: Revolution Not Evolution , his role in finding efficiency savings in the public sector’s use of technology and the future for digital engagement in Government.
Chris explained that work to create an overarching digital strategy was happening to meet the need to reform Government IT & Digital in the context of the ongoing wider reforms across the public sector. The challenges and opportunities that Government reforms pose means that this is a very exciting time to be taking on this role. There is greater scope to find radical solutions to old problems, for example, to better embed open source across Government but these decisions will be a question of finding the right balance and making sure that any changes are taken forward for the right reasons.
Chris’s full speech can be seen (courtesy of Steph Gray) here
Chris has a long track record of success in delivering complex business and technology change in the public sector. Most of his work has involved working in successful partnership with multiple public sector bodies and the largest IT suppliers in the industry, where he has championed innovative approaches which challenge attitudes on both sides of the partnership. His recent work has included stints as the Programme Director in the Cabinet Office leading the UK Government’s move to cloud computing and data centre consolidation across the public sector. Previously, Chris was Director of London 2012 Integration and Assurance and also Chief Information Officer within the Government Olympic Executive, and also held specific responsibility for ensuring integrated delivery of the security systems required. Before that, Chris was CIO for Defra, where he led a major IT service improvement programme with a strategic outsourcing partner. After his early career in the (then) Inland Revenue and later, HMRC, he worked at the cabinet Office where he was programme director for a range of large and complex multi-agency IT services, including the Government Gateway.
The UKGovcamp buzz aggregator carries further coverage and reaction to the day’s events.