Welsh Government Minister Julie James has announced that a multi-million pound budget has been made available to hire a Chief Digital Officer for Local Government in Wales, who will also head up a new delivery unit.
It was announced at the WLGA Executive Board on Friday 25th October that £500,000 per annum will be put towards the cost of the new role and supporting team.
The funding will be for an initial period of three years, which James said will allow time for the CDO to be appointed, identify priorities, and have time to make meaningful progress on them.
The Minister said:
This will provide for a dedicated resource to identify, share, promote and champion a joined up approach to digital initiatives and their delivery across local government. Realising the potential that digital technology presents the potential to save money and provide better services.
The Chief Digital Officer will provide leadership for digital transformation in local government, build and grow on the good work that’s already underway, and support local government to build capacity and capability to take forward innovative technology and data-led approaches to service delivery and public engagement.
In addition to the £500,000 per annum, the Welsh Government is also making over £1 million available in the next financial year to support the digital transformation of local government in Wales, with a focus on “encouraging and enabling collaboration”.
The Chief Digital Officer will be hosted by the Welsh Local Government Association and overseen by their Digital Advisory Group. Minister James added that securing an individual with the right skills, qualities, background and experience for the post is “crucial” and that work has begun on the recruitment process.
It is thought that the CDO will be in post by the start of the next financial year.
The Welsh Government already has an overarching Chief Digital Officer - Caren Fullerton. The Welsh Government also updated its Digital Action Plan in late 2017, which builds on work that began in 2014, and focuses on: Leadership, Transformation, Skills and Workforce, Platform Services, Digital Dialogue and Engagement, and Data.
By 2020, the Welsh Government hopes that digital will be “at the heart of policy and strategy, contributing to all business processes and objectives…[and that] digital culture is strong: agile, user-centred, innovative, and responsive”.