Slough seeks tech chief to ‘lead step-change in how we collect and use data’

Borough council is seeking a technology leader to join an authority that ‘is never far from the headlines’ and deliver a strategy setting out plans to instigate a ‘digital reset’

Slough Borough Council is seeking a new technology leader to oversee the rollout of a three-year strategy that aims to deliver a “digital reset” while transforming the authority’s use of data.

The authority is recruiting for a director of digital, data and technology. The role comes with an annual salary of £125,000, a position on the council’s senior management team, and oversight of a team of 55 people, including five direct reports.

Key responsibilities of the position include spearheading the delivery of a three-year ICT and Digital Strategy agreed last year, as well as a Data Strategy that is currently in draft form. These plans are intended to significantly improve Slough’s service levels and use of information.

“As our new director, you will lead a step-change in how we collect and use data to understand and meet our residents’ needs,” the job advert said. “You will shape and deliver our digital and technology strategy, working more closely with services across the council to achieve standards of customer service that we can be proud of.”

The successful applicant will lead the implementation of “the council’s ICT portfolio of projects, which is a comprehensive plan of programmes and projects over a rolling three-year timeframe with a typical annual budget of [more than] £1m”, according to the candidate pack.

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The digital chief will also be expected to “provide expert advice and guidance on matters of technology, digital, information, data management, data protection and ICT security to the council’s most senior stakeholders, including the corporate leadership team and cabinet”.

Slough’s ICT and Digital Strategy sets out three major objectives, the first of which is dedicated to modernisation of IT services and platforms.

The second is to deliver a “digital reset” that will constitute “a redesign of the way the council builds and serves access to services via digital platforms [including] supporting the move of the council from being primarily a public service provider to become a community enabler that links all local providers together for the benefit of residents”.

The final main ambition of the strategy is “exploiting data more effectively”. This will include efforts focused on “improving the awareness of what data we have, how we use it, the quality of it and how we can bring it together to inform the decision making across the council to drive efficiency and impact”.

The job advert suggests that the gains enabled by this work will give the new technology chief something of a head start – while reminding candidates that they will be joining an authority that, like many, has faced financial difficulties in recent years. In a bid to help balance its books, Slough – acting with special dispensation from government to exceed a 5% cap – has raised council tax by 10% and 8.5% in the last two years.

“Slough Borough Council is never far from the headlines,” the advert said. “Our challenges are well documented, but we can also point to improvement and successes. Over the last two years, our IT and digital service has been building the strong foundations required to support the organisation. legacy IT systems have been updated, cloud migration has been executed and our cybersecurity and resilience has been strengthened.”

Applications are open until 12 April.

Sam Trendall

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