With the amount of coverage given to the G-Cloud recently, it would be hard to have missed the fact that Chris Chant, one of the most senior figures in government IT, is retiring today, bringing his 36 years of civil service employment to an end.
The self-confessed "maverick" leaves Whitehall to start a new life out in the south of France building an eco-home.
"I've been planning to leave for the last two years, and I'm delighted to be going," he tells V3. "I've been working in government before there was any IT. I started out as a civil servant in June 1976 and then I've been working on IT government projects for the last 13 years - since 1999."
Most recently Chant is known for his work in establishing a cloud computing services agenda for the government, the so-called G-Cloud programme, although he is also famous for his rants at the public sector for much of its inefficiency.
Though a number of government officials might be breathing a sigh of relief at news of his departure, Chant has a well-earned reputation for getting IT projects off the ground and pushing them to successful maturity.
Chant started out in government collecting tax for the Inland Revenue (now, HMRC), writing demands or helping the bailiffs collect what was owed in East London. His first job in government IT was to create a system for the Inland Revenue to collect back student loans from graduates.
Even by looking at him, it is hard to imagine Chant fitting with the government's traditional way of doing things, not that he has tried.
Chant still manages a mischievous, boyish smile, though he is of retirement age. He dresses in a relaxed fashion; not scruffy, but not wedded to the white shirt and suit uniform favoured by other Whitehall mandarins.
Chant also never appears in a rush to finish chatting, a refreshing change from other government officials V3 speaks to, who often appear worried they may be slyly manipulated into revealing some secrets about government work, or forced into interview topics they believe should remain behind closed doors.
Chant prefers straight talking - and his willingness to be the critical voice within the public sector has led to him being put in charge of many of the government's most transformational projects.
Even Chant's departing blog post message told public sector chief information officers (CIOs) to step up their act.
"There is still plenty more to do and, if I look back on the last dozen years and honestly reflect on those I've worked with and interacted with, this is still a pretty difficult list of stuff to do and some of those people just don't have the capability to do it," he said.
The question on many minds is how Chant manages to get away with voicing his views of discontent with government IT, while so much of the public sector is expected to toe the official line?
"I just don't ask anyone's permission. I'm a senior director so why would I ask permission to do things? There are CIOs that disagree with this approach, but there seem to be many more that welcome my opinion," Chant says.
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