The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is hiring for a chief digital officer and is offering a salary of £115,000 a year to try and tempt the cream of the crop to apply.
The job advert indicates plans for a four-year long digital transformation project that the CDO will oversee.
"Defra is a large complex organisation committed to an ambitious programme of change - to deliver their objectives more efficiently and serve their customers better through innovative new digital solutions over the next four years," claims the job advert.
The new CDO is will also "help radically transform" the department, which is "looking for an individual who can apply their experience of driving the transformation of complex organisations through leadership, stakeholder engagement and envisioning a better future".
It adds: "Although this is not a technical role, you will have strong knowledge of modern digital technologies and methodologies, delivering digital solutions in an Agile environment, and working with technical teams at all levels, from design through to development and implementation."
The job advert sounds similar to the plans the department drew up when it signed a £1.4bn IT outsourcing deal with IBM way back in 2004. That was part of what the department described as an "e-enabling Defra" programme, with IBM managing both the department's desktop infrastructure and business applications, and the development of nationally accessible IT systems.
However, in the past, Defra and IT haven't gone together well. The delivery of the Farm Payments Scheme, for example, which required cooperation between Defra and the Rural Payments Agency, was so poor that the organisation was forced to go back to pen-and-paper.
All the agencies involved in that expensive IT project disaster, meanwhile, were slammed for participating in a "childish turf war" that contributed to the failures in the £154m programme.
More recently, the widening gulf between IT in the public and private sectors is becoming glaringly apparent to frustrated IT leaders in the public sector, many of whom complain of having to struggle with IT infrastructures stuck in the 1980s.
In other words, the new CDO will no doubt have their work cut out trying to bring Defra's IT up to scratch.
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