Rob Greig, currently chief technology officer at the Royal Opera House, has been appointed as the first director of the new Parliamentary Digital Service.
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The job was advertised in September, offering a salary of £110,000 a year. Greig will lead the Parliamentary Digital Service, a new organisation set up to merge Parliament’s ICT department and its Web and Intranet Service team.
He has worked at the Royal Opera House since June 2009, responsible for technology and digital development. He has spent most of his career in IT jobs in theatres and the arts. His new job carries some unique responsibilities. According to the job advert, “The new director must have the energy, enthusiasm and resilience necessary to lead change in a complex organisation where ambiguity is a fact of life and differing strategic priorities may be difficult to reconcile.
"However, in helping Parliament put digital first, you will transform not just our parliamentary institutions but our democratic system.”
Greig talked to Computer Weekly in May 2013 after introducing a cloud-based system to improve ticket booking at the Royal Opera House, and turned to Amazon Web Services as its cloud provider. “Our main objective is to improve the customer’s experience from the minute they begin their journey with us,” he said at the time, perhaps indicating the customer focus that has helped him gain his new job.
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“I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead Parliament through this exciting period, from developing a digital strategy to implementing it with the new service," said Greig.
The creation of the Parliamentary Digital Service was recommended in a review of the IT that supports the House of Commons and the House of Lords, published in March this year. The review said the separation of the web and IT teams is “outdated in principle” and has “broken down in practice”.
“The breakdown is most clearly apparent in the failure of parliamentary authorities to agree on a future strategy for Parliament’s website,” it said.
In March this year, Parliament suffered from a number of IT failures and computer crashes after a supplier error, which saw MPs and staff in Westminster frustrated by crashing web browsers and video as well as slow delivery of emails. The former director of ICT in parliament, Joan Miller, was due to retire from her role this year.
David Natzler, acting clerk of the House of Commons, said: “The new Digital Service will allow Parliament to take advantage of the opportunities offered to both members and the public by new technologies. Following Rob Greig’s successes at the Royal Opera House, we are pleased to welcome him to Parliament, and look forward to the development of our new Digital Service over the next few years.”