Andy Nelson quits as DWP CIO

Andy Nelson has resigned as CIO at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Computer Weekly has learned

Andy Nelson has resigned as CIO at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Computer Weekly has learned.

Speculation over Nelson’s position first surfaced earlier this week, but multiple sources now say he has quit and will leave Whitehall after completing a notice period.

Since Nelson – previously the HM government CIO – was appointed at DWP in February 2013, a new chief technology officer (CTO), Jon Ayre, and a director general of digital transformation, Kevin Cunnington, have been recruited.

Cunnington has been put in charge of IT development for DWP’s key projects, such as the troubled Universal Credit programme and the single-tier pension scheme, suggesting the scope of the CIO role has diminished since Nelson’s appointment.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “After four and a half years in the Civil Service, Andy Nelson has decided to step down as DWP's CIO. His work has included improving the day to day running of the department’s IT and welfare reforms.

“The DWP has a strong IT team in place, and Andy will continue in post until the summer to ensure continuity and an effective handover to his successor. Universal Credit and the progression towards single tier will be unaffected."

The CIO role is being gradually removed across central government, in favour of a combination of a digital chief and a CTO – a model promoted by the Government Digital  (GDS), led by digital director Mike Bracken and government CTO Liam Maxwell.

Nelson has worked in Whitehall since 2009, when he became CIO at the Ministry of Justice, before taking over as government CIO in April 2012. Previously he held senior IT leadership roles in the private sector, at Royal Sun Alliance, GE Capital and Asda.

Over the past year or so, other experienced CIOs have quit Whitehall too. Phil Pavitt, CIO at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) left in January 2013, followed a few months later by Mark Hall, who took over as interim HMRC CIO but was not given the job full time – Hall subsequently joined Pavitt at insurance giant Aviva. John Taylor left as Ministry of Defence CIO in December 2013, having been replaced by former Royal Mail CIO Yvonne Ferguson.

Update: This article was updated at 12:00 on 7 March to include comment from the DWP. 

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