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MoJ appoints new chief digital and information officer

Tom Read, currently digital boss at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will replace Arif Harbott as chief digital and information officer at the Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has appointed Tom Read as its chief digital and information officer (CDIO). Read will replace Arif Harbott, who has been in his role at the MoJ only since July 2015, where he worked to create a digitally enabled end-to-end justice system.

Read has been digital technology director and chief technology officer (CTO) at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) since last year.

In July this year, BIS became the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) after it merged with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as part of the post-Brexit reshuffle.

Before taking up his role at BIS, Read was Cabinet Office CTO for two years, after spending five years at The Guardian.

The MoJ’s permanent secretary, Richard Heaton, took to Twitter to welcome Read on board, wishing him a “warm welcome”. He also commended Harbott for creating “strong digital and tech” while working at the MoJ.

In June this year, Harbott wrote in an opinion piece for Computer Weekly about the costs involved in running a technology system, describing them as “multiple and diverse”.

“Many of the costs involved are not tracked and reported on, which obscures the true costs,” he said.

The news of Harbott’s departure came soon after the government announced a “wholesale shift” to accessing the justice system digitally, launching a £1bn programme to ensure courts and tribunals become “digital by default”.

In a report, Transforming our justice system, produced by Lord Chancellor and justice secretary Elizabeth Truss, Senior President of Tribunals Sir Ernest Ryder and Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the government set out its commitment, which includes developing a “single online system for starting and managing” cases across different tribunals.

Computer Weekly has contacted BEIS and the MoJ digital team for comment on Read’s appointment. ..........................................................

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