EXCL: CDDO seeks senior leader as chief exec Lee Devlin to depart

As senior manager departs Cabinet Office unit after three years, a £100k salary is on offer for a new executive director, who will oversee the delivery of government’s digital strategy

Government’s Central Digital and Data Office is seeking to recruit a new executive director, with chief executive Megan Lee Devlin set to depart the organisation, PublicTechnology understands.

Lee Devlin has been with the Cabinet Office-based CDDO since June 2021 and, prior to being appointed as CEO in September 2022, held a post as chief strategy and transformation officer. Her time in the chief executive position has largely coincided with the tenure of government chief digital officer Mike Potter, whole role also sits within CDDO.

For much of her time in post, Lee Devlin’s work as chief executive also encompassed some of the duties of the GCDO brief, during a period of leave for Potter which ended with this return to work in the autumn.

With the CEO now set to move on, the role being advertised to replace her in the senior management team appears to be more squarely focused on the delivery of government’s digital strategy, which covers the three-year period from 2022 to 2025.

Potter, meanwhile, has assumed the role at the head of the government digital and data profession and function across government – which comprises 27,000 civil servants.

The responsibilities of the executive director who will join him in CDDO’s leadership group will include “management of cross-departmental commitments and targets” set out in the digital strategy – including the plan’s flagship commitment to transform 50 of government’s most critical services to a defined ‘great’ standard.

The postholder will also “lead on reforming and modernising the way public money is secured and invested in digital product and services to better reflect agile ways of working”, according to the job advert.

This remit will build on the important role played by CDDO in the build-up to the 2021 spending review, when the digital unit’s leaders worked closely HM Treasury to ensure technology and transformation programmes were adequately funded.

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The newly recruited director will be expected to “work closely with the policy profession to embed digital approaches and cross-functional teams into policy design and delivery”. They will also play a key role in “coordinating cross-government AI adoption in conjunction with colleagues across Government including wider Cabinet Office and Department for Science, Innovation and Technology”.

The role – which will based in one of the Cabinet Office’s locations in London, Bristol, or Manchester – comes with an annual salary of £97,000. Applications are open until 11.55pm on 11 February.

The CDDO was created in 2021 to spearhead transformation across departments, and oversee cross-government standards and controls for digital, data and technology. It operates as a sister agency to the 12-year-old Government Digital Service, whose role has now been refined to focus on delivering of government-wide platforms and services – such as the incoming One Login tool.

In an interview with PublicTechnology last year, outgoing chief executive Lee Devlin (pictured right) said CDDO is “effectively ‘Digital HQ for Government’… advocating for digital, data and technology, and translating the priorities of government into our functional priorities”.

“What we’re fundamentally trying to do in CDDO is make sure that we’re not just working with our community of brilliant technologists within the digital, data and technology community, but work with the various different business components of government – whether that’s policy teams, operational teams, or commercial, project delivery, or finance teams – to ensure that we have the right capabilities and the conditions in place for digital transformation to be achieved,” she added. “This is a shift away from digital being a disruptive force, to being collaborative partners that help to translate the government priorities into digitally enabled tools, solutions and services.”

Sam Trendall

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