The head of the Government Digital Service should have a place on the Civil Service Board, the Whitehall think tank the Institute for Government has suggested.
In a report, dubbed Professionalising Whitehall, the Institute argues that there are a number of key obstacles facing specialisms within government.
This includes improving the integration of specialists into departmental decision-making - and one way it suggests of doing this is for the Cabinet Secretary to improve the balance between permanent secretaries and central heads of specialisms on the Civil Service Board.
The suggestion would mean current head Kevin Cunnington would have more influence over IT decision-making across the Civil Service.
"Given the Cabinet Secretary's well-publicised priorities around improving digital and commercial capability in the civil service, the Chief Commercial Officer and Director General of the Government Digital Service would be obvious candidates for full membership," the report states.
The report adds that encouraging progress has been made since 2013 to raise the importance of specialists, and engagement with them, within the civil service. However, it is pushing the government to tackle "entrenched perceptions that a policy background is better preparation for senior management roles in departments".
Digital is one of the eight areas that the Institute says that Whitehall has to address in regards to long-standing capability concerns.
The Institute said that too often, Whitehall had struggled to adapt to the new environment created by digital technology, which changes how government operates and services are delivered.
"The rate of change requires constant adaptability, which is a challenge for any hierarchical organisation," it said.
One way of helping this move is by including more specialisms in executive leadership teams. The think tank calls on permanent secretaries to ensure that their finance, HR, commercial and digital directors are represented on their departmental executive leadership teams.
"The composition of departmental executive teams is dominated by senior officials in policy roles. The absence of officials in charge of other specialisms such as finance, HR, commercial and digital limits their input into top-level decision-making, including decisions about how departments can improve their capability," it said.
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