HMRC offers new digital chief £200k and ‘challenge like no other’

Tax agency begins search for long-term replacement for Jacky Wright

HMRC head office at 100 Parliament Street in London   Credit: Gary Todd/Public domain

HM Revenue and Customs has begun its search for a permanent chief digital and information officer to replace Jacky Wright, who left the department in October.

Wright, who returned to Microsoft at the conclusion of a two-year ‘loan’ arrangement, has been replaced on an interim basis by Mark Denney, who was appointed several weeks after her departure in the autumn. 

HMRC has now kicked off the search for a permanent CDIO, a position which it said will offer the successful applicant “a challenge like no other”. 

It will also provide an annual salary of up to £200,000, as well as a bonus of up to 30% of this amount.

The role comes with responsibility for directly managing 13 people, and overseeing the work of 5,250 others. This includes the 750 employees of the agency’s RCDTS in-house IT company, as well as 2,800 civil servants and 1,700 contractors.

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The postholder will manage an annual budget of more than £1bn, composed of £725bn to maintain IT services and – subject to spending-review approval – a further £300m for strategic investments. The CDIO will report into first permanent secretary Jim Harra, and will sit on HMRC’s executive board.

The department has already undertaken significant digitisation work in recent years, including the rollout of the Making Tax Digital programme for businesses across the UK, as well as the ongoing implementation of a new Customs Declaration Service. But there is much more still to be done, and the new CDIO “will lead one of the biggest digital transformations in Europe as HMRC further leverages digital technology and data during the crucial years ahead”, the tax agency said.

“As CDIO of HMRC, you would join one of the largest and most complex government departments,” it added. “As the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority, HMRC collects the money that pays for the UK’s public services and helps families and individuals with targeted financial support. HMRC is undergoing significant transformation, including helping the UK to respond to challenges such as the Covid-19 crisis and leaving the EU’s customs union and single market. Right now, HMRC is playing a vital role by launching new online systems to provide financial support to employers and the self-employed, to limit the long-term impact of Covid-19 on UK business and the broader economy.”

Candidates for the role must posses experience of working in as a chief information or digital officer in “a large, highly regulated and high-transaction-based organisation”, such as a telco or a big financial services company. The department is also seeking someone who has previously led a large team through a programme of transformation.

The successful applicant will be required to make regular trips to London but could, theoretically, base themselves from any of HMRC’s offices in Telford, Worthing, Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol or Edinburgh.

Applications for the role are open until 29 May. A longlist and, then, a shortlist will be drawn up over the course of next month, with “assessments and informal conversations” with shortlisted candidates pencilled in for the first half of July. Final interviews are scheduled to take place in late July.


Sam Trendall

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