The UK government’s next chief information officer will be Andy Nelson, CIO of the Ministry of Justice, it was announced today.
Nelson will take over the role when incumbent Joe Harley retires in March. He will continue his position at the MoJ.
"It is fantastic to be able to assign the role of government CIO to someone who has held major CIO roles in private sector and has been involved in the ICT strategy since the very beginning," said Ian Watmore, chief operating officer of the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group. "Andy has worked closely with Joe over the past months and will continue to do so – ensuring that we continue to deliver ICT services fit for a modern civil service."
Nelson started his career at management consultancy Accenture, and has since held IT management roles at Asda and Royal Sun Alliance.
The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing an IT sourcing overhaul. The Future ICT Sourcing strategy aims to "change the way ICT services are delivered from the current end-to-end contracts by line of business to an MoJ-wide ‘service tower’ model", according to a tender notice issued in October last year. This means sourcing broad IT services, such as application development or desktop provision, for the whole organisation from a single supplier.
Stephen Roberts, research director at public sector IT consultancy Kable, told Information Age at the time that "MoJ is the lead within the Cabinet Office ICT strategy on cloud and infrastructure in general so what’s done by MoJ in the course of consolidation is going to be viewed very closely by the rest of Whitehall."
Nelson’s appointment could therefore lead to more ‘service tower’ IT outsourcing deals in government.
Both Joe Harley and his deputy CIO Bill McCluggage announced their departures shortly after the action plan for the government’s IT strategy was published. "There seems to be a trend with government IT executives who spend a fair amount of their time pushing for change, and then leave somebody else in charge of that change," Gartner’s public sector IT analyst Andrea DiMaio remarked at the time.
Andy Nelson was among seven government CIOs revealed to earn more than the prime minister last year.