Former deputy chief information officer (CIO) Liam Maxwell has been appointed as the government's first ever chief technology officer (CTO) in a Whitehall IT shake-up.
Maxwell will now report to Mike Bracken, executive director of the Government Digital Service (GDS), which is tasked with transforming government digital services. The IT Reform group that Maxwell is executive director of is to become part of the GDS.
As CTO, Maxwell will support the network of departmental "digital leaders" created by the GDS to identify new technologies to drive Whitehall's Digital by Default agenda.
"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," said government chief operating officer Stephen Kelly.
Maxwell was a Conservative local councillor and head of computing at public school Eton. In June 2011, he was appointed as technology adviser to the Cabinet Office.
Earlier this year, he was appointed deputy government CIO in a joint role alongside his role as director of ICT Futures. His boss was government CIO Andy Nelson, who is also the CIO of the Ministry of Justice. This meant that the government had created two part-time roles to lead its ICT strategy.
But in an interview with Computing in June, Nelson defended the idea of a part-time role, and suggested it worked because he shared responsibilities with Maxwell.
"Other aspects of the work that [former government CIO] John Suffolk would have carried out in the past, such as supplier and industry engagement, engagement in the international space, engagement with government CIOs and trade associations, are picked up by Liam Maxwell, who supports me," Nelson said.
The government is yet to announce who will take over as deputy CIO.