A top technology advisor to the Conservative Party has been appointed to an influential IT role in the Cabinet Office.
Liam Maxwell, previously the councillor responsible for IT policy at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, will take on the role of an advisor on "ICT futures" from September for 11 months. He will report to the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group, which is headed up by government chief operating officer and former government CIO Ian Watmore.
Liam Maxwell (pictured) helped draft Conservative technology policy in the run-up to last year's general election. He was also closely involved in a tech thinktank, the Network for the Post-Bureaucratic Age, that in September 2010 proposed dismantling the IT systems and business ecosystem established by Labour.
The thinktank's report, "Better for Less - how to make government IT deliver savings", accused the Labour government of establishing a culture of empire-building that careered out of control. "Profligate, rudderless, underperforming and ultimately unfair," was how the report summarised the previous government's IT programme. The group suggested its proposals could cut 40% from the government IT budget.
In his new advisory role, Maxwell will, according to the Cabinet Office, "help to develop ideas for how technology can develop new, more flexible ways of delivery in government; increase the drive towards open standards and open source software; help SMEs to enter the government marketplace; and maintain a horizon scan of future technologies and methods."
At the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Maxwell was also a strong supporter of open source in a council selected as a "vanguard community" for David Cameron's Big Society initiative. Last year, Maxwell said the borough's open source plans were being hindered by a lack of mandatory central government standards for open source software.
Ian Watmore said of Maxwell's appointment to the new advisory role on ICT futures: "Liam's insight and knowledge will make him a valuable source to the team over the coming year. He has a strong track record of delivering success in government ICT and he also brings significant experience of turning the theory into practice."