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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

CDDO is an exciting place for a technologist like me

Photo of David Knott, Chief Technology Officer, CDDO

Last month, I joined the Central Digital and Data Office as the Chief Technology Officer for UK Government, leading a team of experts delivering the commitments outlined in the digital transformation roadmap

Big goals

We’ve got big goals for a small team, but that doesn’t worry me: I’ve always believed that small teams can make a big difference, especially when their work is amplified by the power of technology. Our priorities include:

  • Modernising technology and addressing the risk and cost of legacy systems
  • Deriving value responsibly from emerging technologies - with a big focus on artificial intelligence
  • Helping teams across government to make good technology design choices, and to reuse the solutions we have already bought or built
  • Defining the strategy and standards needed to create a great experience as we move government services from web to mobile.

It’s an exciting place for a technologist like me to be.

Furthermore, we’re not alone - and we couldn’t realistically get anything done on our own. As a team, we’re part of the much wider community of Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) professionals across government, and most of the action will happen within departments themselves.

I chair the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Council: the group of CTOs from across government who collaborate on a shared agenda. I’m confident that the combined experience, capability and commitment represented by that group makes it possible to do astonishing things.

Our Chief Executive, Megan Lee Devlin has previously outlined the importance of revitalising digital and data communities across government to lay the foundations for the roadmap. 

podium photo of image of ai created by ai image generator
Podium photo of image of ai created by an ai image generator

Digital transformation at scale

I’m fascinated by the sheer range of applications of digital and data in government and the differences we can make to people’s lives. I’ve spent much of my career in financial services, which is important but (with apologies to my banking friends) is mostly moving data around. Having the chance to work with technology which actually connects directly to the physical world in so many ways is very exciting.

A humbling return

When preparing for my interviews for this role, I was really excited to read about Mission 5 of our roadmap, to build digital skills at scale, and even more excited to hear about our plans for apprenticeships. Although I’ve spent most of my career in the private sector, I owe so much to the start that the Civil Service gave me. My first real technology job was at HM Customs and Excise, as it was known then, and helping others get that start is important to me. 

It’s truly humbling and inspiring that in this role I will have the chance to help the careers of Civil Service technologists, whether they are starting out or part way through their career. 

Everybody who works on technology likes to see it being used in the hands of real people. And there are a lot of people who rely on government services. What we build matters.

The next few years will be hugely exciting for CDDO, the DDaT profession and beyond, as we set about working to enable the Civil Service to work smarter, faster and deliver on our ambitions for the transformation of digital public services.

To keep up to date with both our work, and the innovative digital, data and technology work that goes on within government, make sure you subscribe to this blog, where my colleagues and I will be sharing our progress on the roadmap to a digitally empowered future. And if you’d like to know more about my personal views on technology, architecture, innovation and leadership, you can also follow my personal newsletter on LinkedIn.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Girish Arun Gade posted on

    Reading David's blogs itself is a pleasure and always something to learn / takeaway. It's true asset to any organisation he lead. Excellent to come on Uk digital journey..cheers..


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