Government offers £160k for chief data officer

Cabinet Office set to fill position first trailed in 2017 transformation strategy, with successful candidate based in CDDO and given responsibility for areas including breaking down barriers to data sharing

An annual salary of up to £160,000 a year is on offer as the Cabinet Office bids to recruit a government chief data officer – a key Whitehall-wide transformation role first envisioned six and a half years ago.

The Government Transformation Strategy was published in 2017 and outlined plans to create a centralised post of chief data officer. Since then, a succession of ministers have faced query and criticism as the position has remained unfilled.

A newly published job advert reveals that applications are now open for the long-awaited role, which will be based in the Cabinet Office’s Central Digital and Data Office.

The successful candidate will sit at the head of a “community of thousands of data specialists across government” and will take on responsibility for “shaping and overseeing government’s data strategy and policy”, the advert added.

Data governance, standards and management will be key considerations for the postholder, as will “developing and implementing initiatives that proactively address core cultural, legislative and practical barriers to data sharing in government”.

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“Data is recognised by Government to play an integral role in all we do – including transformation of public services and developing, delivering and evaluating policy that shapes the UK economy, businesses and lives,” the advert said. “You will lead on implementing the government’s mission to improve the use of its own data as part of the National Data Strategy and Transforming for a Digital Future Roadmap, and will work closely with stakeholders across the centre of government, including Number 10, the Office for National Statistics, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, HM Treasury and other central government departments.”

The chosen applicant will report to CDDO chief executive Megan Lee Devlin and will be based in London, Bristol or Manchester.

Applications are open until 11.55pm on 7 August, after which candidates will be required to go through processes of longlisting, preliminary interviews, shortlisting, leadership assessments, staff engagement exercises and, potentially, an informal chat with Lee Devlin – before a final interview before a panel comprising the CDDO chief executive and the organisation’s chair, Paul Willmott, alongside civil service commissioner Sarah Pittam and HM Revenue and Customs chief digital and information officer Daljit Rehal.

Sam Trendall

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