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The Cabinet Office has confirmed that former Conservative Party IT advisor Liam Maxwell has been appointed as the first government chief technology officer.
Maxwell's role will be to support the digital leaders in government departments, identifying the technology needed to support IT-enabled public services. As part of the appointment, the IT Reform group will transfer to the Government Digital Services unit.
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Liam Maxwell as CTO for HM Government,” said Stephen Kelly, the government chief operating officer.
“Each department already has its own CTO or someone approximating to that role. Working together, Liam, government CIO Andy Nelson, the CTOs and Digital Leaders will form a powerful combination to achieve the transition to Digital by Default.”
The digital leaders network was established in early 2012 ostensibly to deliver the government's digital by default strategy, which is expected to shave off £3bn of government spending over the next three years. These digital leaders are tasked with ensuring that their departments' digital strategy is baked into the business plan and establishing appropriate benchmarks for evaluating progress.
Maxwell's rise up the Whitehall ranks has been meteoric. Earlier this year, he was appointed government deputy CIO, having previously worked as the IT chief for Eton School and served as a local councillor in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Maxwell was widely credited for devising the Tory IT strategy when the party was in opposition, and is known to be a proponent for using open source software, as well as being a staunch supporter of the G-Cloud initiative.