Government plans for 200 digital managers

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Government plans for 200 digital managers

Kathleen Hall

Government may appoint 200 digital managers to work across Whitehall departments, as part of its transition to transactional digital services, Computer Weekly has learned.

According to a presentation by Government Digital Service (GDS) entitled: Cross Government Digital Strategy: The Direction of Travel, Whitehall is to appoint a “digital 200” cohort to embed digital delivery across government. Most of the digital team is expected to come internally from government.

The slide said government will create: "a cohort of about 200 digital managers across the whole of government, embedding digital delivery into our DNA."

The news comes as government prepares to switch off its main information services site Directgov to be replaced by Gov.uk, intended to become the single domain through which the public digitally interact with government.

The cohort will comprise digital service managers and digital platform managers to oversee the pan-government move to digital services. 

However, GDS has said no plans for the digital managers and their teams have been signed off. It also said no number has yet been decided, with the plans intended to "build significant digital capability in Whitehall."

According to the document the digital service managers will redesign services, deliver agile working and support assisted digital. 

“They’ll live in departments and ALBs [arms length bodies] and will focus on specific services for specific users: with GDS involvement in recruitment,” said the document addressing government CIOs.

The digital platform managers will be based in the Cabinet Office and provide platforms for the whole of government to run the services on.

According to the document, IT legacy systems will be managed by CIOs, who will connect legacy systems to platforms, keeping them going if appropriate, cancelling where possible and managing their dissolution. 

The infrastructure will eventually become commoditised through a move to cloud migration, said the presentation.

It cited BA, Lloyds and the BBC as organisations from which government could learn, as all have inserted platforms across the top of siloed IT systems to enable their digital service delivery.

“We must get rid of the silos, but we can’t wait for them to go, we need a solution for the next 10 years,” said the document.

“But the civil service needs to embrace digital well beyond this transactional/service core,” added the document.

Speaking to Computer Weekly earlier this year on the beta launch of Gov.uk, GDS head Mike Bracken said moving to digital transactional services would be a huge task.

“The delivery of many of those transactions is tied in to a big system integrator model. And there's all the offline stuff too, such as the supply chain management," said Bracken. 

"With HM Revenue & Customs, for example, it is not just about the electronic submission of tax returns, but hundreds of third-party application vendors submitting transactions on behalf of other people.” 


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