UK MoD searches for CIO – is £180K pa a killer bounty?


The chosen candidate will be responsible for a team of 2,000 people and will control a digital and ICT budget of £223 million.

The UK Minister of Defence (MoD) is seeking a new Director General Chief Information Officer, which will be paid up to £180,000 and take on the challenging role of delivering the department’s digital and ICT strategy.

The department has said that this is a “substantial” role and the chosen candidate will have “significant involvement in the transformation and operation of the department”.

The CIO will be responsible for a team of 2,000 people and will control a digital and ICT delivery budget of £233 million and have direct capital expenditure of £1.8 billion.

The department’s previous CIO, Mike Stone, announced that he would be leaving the department at the end of last year. The MoD published a number of digital commitments, in collaboration with the Government Digital Service, in 2012 – but it appears that little has been outlined since then.

The new CIO will be the primary advisor to the Defence Board on Information and Digital, and, as the Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO), s/he will be accountable for the statutory compliance, quality, timeliness and security of all departmental information.

According to the job posting, the chosen candidate will deliver the MOD’s ICT programme to “meet its strategic objectives and budget, drive the development of Digital and ICT standards, governance processes and performance metrics to ensure ICT delivers value to the taxpayer.” It adds that the role requires the ability to engage and lead people as well as position the MOD in the cross government agenda.

Applicants will likely need to have had CIO experience in a large and complex environment, and have a proven track record of successfully leading a large-scale IT division, with extensive experience in “high level digital strategy expertise gained from a multi-channel business”.

Board level leadership experience of driving a challenging change programme is required, as is the need to have managed complex multi-location teams in a “rapidly evolving environment”.

In a joint statement in the candidate pack, permanent secretary, Stephen Lovegrove, and commander joint forces command, Chris Deverell, said:

The UK Ministry of Defence Chief Information Officer role is one of the most important in the world, whether measured by scale, scope, breadth of technologies or global reach. It is fundamental to ensuring our nation remains safe, protected by its outstanding armed forces. With that in mind, the role reports directly to both of us at the very top of the Department.

There is much work to be done. We must exploit digital technology to enhance Defence’s operational capability as well as to realise significant efficiencies. We must make the most of our information at the same time as managing information-related risks. The complexity and scale of these tasks is high. So is the opportunity to make a big difference.

This role is one of the most challenging and exciting technology roles in the Civil Service. We have a stretching agenda to deliver, and we need an exceptional leader to help us do so. MOD is an important, complex organisation, that we are both very proud to be part of. If you are excited by the opportunity this role presents, we’d love to hear from you so that you can be part of it too.

Director General of the Government Digital Service, Kevin Cunnington, is also quoted in the candidate pack as saying:

In your capacity of Chief Information Officer at Ministry of Defence you will join a network of digital, data and technology leaders that has developed into an essential forum for coordinating and driving transformation across government. With your senior colleagues from other departments you will set standards and maintain a shared vision to deliver transformation.

You’ll share best practice and drive collective efficiencies wherever possible, support and guide our cross government programmes to build digital, data and capability and make government a destination of choice for digital, data and technology professionals.

The closing date for applications is 11th September 2017.

My take

This is a meaty role with plenty of challenges and will require a top candidate to meet the requirements.
Reviewing  comparable offerings on Glassdoor, the MoD may well struggle to find a suitable candidate. For example, Glassdoor shows that the post of HMRC Director General, Chief Information Officer Salaries is on offer at £205K while at the Department of Health, a similar post is offered at just shy of £218K. According to a Robert Half 2017 salaries guide (form filling required), top level CIOs in the London area can expect to earn up to £248K.

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