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Digital chief at Department for Work and Pensions gets extension

Acting chief digital information officer Simon McKinnon will stay in the role until 2020, since a successor for Mayank Prakash has yet to be found

The acting chief digital information officer (CDIO) at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will stay in the role until May 2020 while the search for a permanent post-holder continues.

Simon McKinnon, previously DWP’s children, health and pensions services technology director, has been the department’s temporary CDIO since December 2018, following the departure of previous incumbent Mayank Prakash, who left to take up a digital leadership role at British Gas parent Centrica.

The DWP has advertised the CDIO job, which comes with an annual salary of £180,000. Seven months since that initial recruitment exercise, the department has not specified if the acting CDIO role has been extended because it has been unable to hire anyone to fill the permanent role, or if further recruitment efforts will be undertaken.

“I’ve been in this role since December 2018, and there’s never been a more exciting time to be part of DWP Digital,” said McKinnon.

“We’re well on the way to becoming an outstanding digital organisation. Our transformation is driven by innovative, curious and enthusiastic teams, and I’m delighted that I’m able to continue to lead this work,” he added.

DWP has one of the largest IT estates in the UK and, according to previous incumbent Prakash, the reality of digital is “is not smooth sailing”.

However, when speaking to Computer Weekly just before stepping down as CDIO, Prakash said when it came to IT the department had evolved from “being a laggard to an exemplar” under his watch.

All DWP services are delivered under a multichannel approach, so phone and face-to-face interactions are also offered. But digital success was the highlight for the previous CDIO, with take-up of online services such as “Check your State Pension” exceeding the 90% mark, with a similarly high user satisfaction rate.

In 2017, Prakash won the coveted top spot in Computer Weekly’s UKtech50, reflecting the achievements he has accomplished.

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