Harley: Government focus needs to be on implementation of ICT strategy

By Sooraj Shah
20 Aug 2012 View Comments
Whitehall in London

The government needs to spend less time strategising about ICT, and focus more on implementation and delivery, according to former government CIO Joe Harley.

Harley, who was government CIO between February 2011 and spring 2012, told Computing that the government should concentrate on matching its words with actions.

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"The whole emphasis now needs to be on implementation and delivery. There has been enough strategising and there really needs to be execution... [The government must] deliver on the implementation plan that we created and grow the talent with capability for the future.

"When it starts to deliver, we'll start to see government ICT getting a [better] reputation," he added.

In June, government CIO Andy Nelson admitted that the implementation of the ICT strategy must improve.

Harley, who now works at technology solutions providor Amor Group, singled out procurement and cyber security as areas where the government was already making good progess.

"The strategy to reduce the procurement lifecycle and make things easier for small and medium enterprises to do business with government is very helpful and I received a lot of support from colleagues on that part of the agenda," he said.

The government's cyber security had been called into question on numerous occasions. In April, ex-GCHQ and CESG head Nick Hopkinson told Computing that the UK lagged behind the US, France and Germany in its ability to respond to cyber attacks. More recently, former government deputy CIO Bill McCluggage told Computing that the government's approach to cyber security change happened at a "glacial pace".

But Harley said such criticisms did not reflect the true situation.

"I was hugely impressed by the talent and capability by those working on the cyber security strategy; those in GCHQ and CESG, for example. The government has put a lot of money into cyber security and protecting the nation's assets, and it is being treated seriously by many professional people. I got huge support for this and I'm sure [current Whitehall IT chief] Andy Nelson will be getting support – as will all the CIOs in the major government departments," he said.

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