Hampshire County Council CIO Jos Creese – one of the longest-serving IT leaders in local government – is leaving the authority in May 2015 to become a freelance consultant.
Creese has been IT chief at Hampshire County Council since 2001, recently moving into a chief digital officer role. He has been one of the most influential CIOs in local government over the past decade – he founded and chaired the Local CIO Council in 2006; is a board member and past president of public-sector user group Socitm; and sat on the former central government CIO Council for six years.
This year, Creese took on the presidency of BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT, where he hopes to use his 12-month stint to promote IT apprenticeships.
“I'm going freelance to help private-sector companies and government transition to digital, especially in the context of public-sector business. It will give me time to concentrate on my BCS presidency this year, and my theme to create many, and more diverse, IT apprenticeships in the UK,” he told Computer Weekly.
"While 14 years is a long time, some CIOs don't stay long enough in a job to prove themselves and deliver. Complex transformational programmes underpinned by IT are not usually designed and delivered quickly, and I see too many IT leaders picking up the pieces from their predecessor and creating the challenges for their successor," he said.
"There was a time when the average CIO tenure was three years or less. Unless you are simply acting as a safe pair of hands - in which case why employ an expensive CIO? - then this is often just not enough time to prove yourself or your worth, let along to generate value from radical change."
Creese's successor as CIO is Simon Blake, previously service operations manager and CTO at the council.
At the start of his BCS role in March 2015, Creese highlighted the importance of attracting young people into IT: “I particularly want to help BCS reach new members, and especially to encourage more IT apprenticeships. We must excite young people – whatever their background – about IT careers, by showing how varied the roles can be and how significant is the contribution IT professionals make to digital businesses and governments,” he said.
At Hampshire council, Creese oversaw significant IT transformation programmes and led the council’s technology function through the austerity cost savings of the past five years.
Speaking at an event in November 2014, Creese described the challenges and opportunities digital technology offers to local councils.
“Organisations in the private sector are well down the road, but we have not made a big change in local public sector,” he said. “Fundamentally, it is more than having self-service and automating processes, but truly embedding digital into planning, policy and processes.
“I see willingness to change – but how do we change people’s jobs and the risk models to reflect greater dependence on technology?”