Stuart Monk - Fotolia

Home Office merges IT units

The Home Office is merging its IT units to create Home Office Digital, Data and Technology and has appointed CTO Sarah Wilkinson to lead it

The Home Office is merging its Digital (HOD) and Technology (HOT) units to broaden skills, create a standardised design approach, and integrate data across its activities.

According to a letter sent to staff earlier this month, the new unit became Home Office Digital, Data and Technology (HO DDaT) this week (18 July).

The Home Office commissioned a review into the proposed merger, which was carried out by EY. “The outcome of this is that we have decided that now is the right time to bring the two organisations together,” the Home Office said.

Home Office CTO Sarah Wilkinson has taken the helm of the new organisation, with a new joib title of chief digital, data and technology officer. Before joining the Home Office, Wilkinson worked in senior technology roles at Credit Suisse, HSBC, UBS and Deutsche Bank.

The new team combines 250 staff from the HOD unit with about a thousand employees and contractors in HOT. Chief digital officer Norm Driskell has left the organisation.

A letter emailed to staff from Wilkinson listed some of the successes of HOD and HOT.

It said HOD had overseen huge growth in digital capability and skills, and its staff were recognised as experts in areas such as service design and DevOps. According to the email, HOT’s successes included delivery of the Schengen Information System (SISii) and Immigration Health Surcharge systems. It also rolled out biometric residence permits and biometric travel documents.

Wilkinson said in the email: “The two organisations were initially set up as separate entities in line with the approach being taken across government and encouraged by the Government Digital Service. It also served to recognise that the skills and capabilities across HOD were new to the Home Office and would benefit from having space to develop into a series of highly professional teams.”

She added: "This is a great opportunity to create a stronger, more capable team, which is better placed to respond to the needs of the businesses we service.  It will bring an injection of new skills and approaches to all areas of our work, will allow a front-to-back digital design approach, and enable us to integrate data more fully into everything we do. Our objectives remain the same, to deliver transformational change for the department and build exceptional services for everyone"

Read more on IT for government and public sector