Central London boroughs seek IT chief to develop joint strategy

Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea launch recruitment for CIO

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens; the border between the boroughs runs along the footpath at the bottom      Credit: Leonard Bentley/CC BY-SA 2.0

Two central London councils are jointly seeking a chief information officer to lead the creation and implementation of a strategy that promotes agile methods and service transformation.

The City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – which have shared ICT services since 2011 – are recruiting for a senior manager to assume overall responsibility for technology strategy and spending. 

The two boroughs are looking to develop a plan that will “support transformation and innovation in the councils”.

The CIO will be asked to “lead the development of the bi-borough ICT strategy and budget, and ensure the strategy supports the business objectives, including ongoing development in embracing agile, [and] improving IT services with next-generation capabilities”.

This will involve taking overall responsibility for all the programmes that collectively constitute the new-look strategy, leading procurement activity, managing co-operation between the councils, and directing budgets across the two organisations as appropriate.

In addition to working with in-house technologists, the chosen candidate will also need to work with external suppliers including, BT, Microsoft, Agilisys, and others.

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Candidates must possess experience of setting technology strategy – ideally across multiple organisations. The boroughs also want an experienced leader who is able to operate with “political sensitivity”.

Kensington and Chelsea chief executive Barry Quirk said: “The chief information officer role is integral to both councils achieving a step change in our organisational cultures and our combined drive to attain digital era local government. You will be an effective communicator and a champion of creativity and digital innovation helping both councils to respond effectively to the changing expectations of the 21st-century digital age.”

He added: “We are looking for someone who puts communities, public service and their team first.  Someone who is innovative and creative, who shares our values, and who wants to help us build a responsive culture for the future. This means evolving the service further – using the right skills, attitude, and drive to shape our digital strategy and ensure that everyone is fully engaged, feels included and is supported  to deliver effectively and respond to complex challenges in the simplest way.”

“We have had substantive successes already. We have made great strides in changing the way we deliver digital services and in the way that the digital function works with colleagues across both boroughs. We have brought in a new flexible approach to working – giving staff the power, skills, and tools to work from the best place at the best time to get the job done.”

The two authorities have shared ICT services for the last nine years. For much of that time, the neighbouring borough of Hammersmith and Fulham also formed part of the arrangement, until it decided to go its own way in 2018.

In January last year, the councils published a contract notice seeking a supplier that could support work to help shape a joint strategy for the coming months and years, and then help deliver a “complex portfolio of IT change programmes” encompassing four areas: planning, housing and communities; adult social care; children’s services; and corporate functions.

The hiring process is being run by recruitment firm Green Park.


Sam Trendall

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