Planning Inspectorate offering £70k for ‘dynamic’ new head of digital

Written by PublicTechnology staff on 25 July 2017 in News

Cuts-hit planning agency seeks ‘dynamic and inspirational individual’ to guide it through a ‘period of significant change’

Applicants have until 14 August to apply, with interviews taking place towards the end of next month

The Planning Inspectorate is offering up to £70,000 for a new head of digital services to support its “business-critical” digital transformation plans.

The Inspectorate – a joint executive agency of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Welsh Government – handles planning appeals and national infrastructure planning applications across England and Wales, as well as providing specialist planning support to local authorities.

The 2015 Spending Review saw the Inspectorate asked to make substantial spending cuts, with its total annual operating budget set to shrink from £40.4m in 2015/16 to just £34.7m by the end of the decade. 

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As well as cutting administrative staff and senior managers, the agency has placed a heavy emphasis on digital to help cut costs. 

It has recently overseen in shift in the way its inspectors process casework, moving from a paper-based approach to an online digital case file. According to the Inspectorate’s annual report – which was published just before the parliamentary recess – all inspectors are now making use of the new platform. 

Meanwhile the Inspectorate has, over the past year, ditched its internally hosted intranet - described in the report “as no longer fit for purpose” - and has cut the number of devices used by staff in the field, instead issuing them with an all-in-one mobile phone.

It has also switched over to the Government Digital Service-supported GovWifi, which allows staff in government organisations to stay connected to a secure WiFi service while moving between departments and buildings, rather than having to repeatedly login to separate local hotspots.

The Inspectorate is now recruiting for a “business-critical, high profile” head of digital services to help it press on with those transformation plans, offering a salary of between £58,656 and £70,363 for the role.

The new hire, who will be based at the Inspectorate’s Bristol headquarters, is set to work closely with both its director of transformation Tim Guy and the DCLG’s own recently appointed chief technology officer Steve O'Connor.

According to a person specification posted online, the new head of digital services will head up a team of 28 staff, responsible for all areas of the organisation’s IT services, “including live service management, business analysis, application development and testing, infrastructure and business partnering”.

The Inspectorate said that it is looking to hire somebody with demonstrable experience of working at a senior level to “deliver digital services enabling business transformation, cost savings, and service improvements for internal and external customers”.

The specification also emphasised the need for applicants to have “experience managing the delivery of IT infrastructure and applications services in both a shared-service and prime-contract environment”, and cites familiarity with project-management methods including Agile and Prince 2 as preferable.

Candidates should, it said, be familiar with a “blend of systems”, including open source and cloud platforms “in a wide variety of technologies”.

Launching the recruitment exercise, the Planning Inspectorate's director of corporate services Navees Rahman said the agency was looking for a “dynamic and inspirational individual” to guide the organisation through a “period of significant change”.

“The role would benefit from someone who can help their teams and the wider organisation see the bigger picture, can lead teams to deliver improvements at pace and is used to working in an agile project/transformation environment,” he added.

Potential candidates have until Monday 14 August to throw their hat into the ring, with initial interviews set to take place at the end of August.

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