The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has appointed its first director general for digital transformation, with the job going to Kevin Cunnington.
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Previously the global head of online for Vodafone Group and interim chief of digital IT at Lebara, Cunnington has led a variety of large scale, global digital transformation programmes, creating new digital services in e-commerce, marketing, self-care and social media. He has also held positions at Goldman Sachs and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
DWP permanent secretary Robert Devereux said: “Kevin has a wealth of experience in transforming digital services and successfully delivering web and mobile services. These skills and experience will prove invaluable to the department.”
The appointment reaffirms that government’s decision to create chief digital officers (CDO) to work with chief technology officers (CTO) within departments.
Back in March, the Cabinet Office decided to axe the role of government CIO and the current cross-government IT board structures, in a governance shake-up that put departmental "digital leaders" at the heart of technology change across Whitehall.
The CDO is the "front-end" role, responsible for digital strategy and citizen engagement, delivering digital-by-default public services.
Cunnington will begin work immediately at the DWP and will work alongside CIO Andy Nelson.
“The work of the DWP is incredibly important and the role of digital services is vital to delivering reform, improving the quality of services to the public, and saving the taxpayer money through greater efficiency,” said Cunnington.
The announcement comes shortly after the National Audit Office (NAO) detailed a catalogue of failures in leadership and project management at DWP, over its troubled Universal Credit IT project.
An NAO report claimed that millions of pounds has been wasted on the project, budgets for which increased 60% from £396m to £637m.