26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: IT chief to extract digit

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The UK Department of Education’s Chief Digital Officer, Emma Stace (pictured) says she would like to take the word “digital” out of her title.

Ms Stace says the time has passed when there should be a discussion about digital services.

“We live in the digital age; all services should be digital,” Ms Stace said.

“These is still too much emphasis on digital being something different, rather than a way to produce better outcomes and deliver what Ministers ask for more efficiently.”

She said having a Chief Digital Officer was a sign of a lack of maturity in an organisation.

Ms Stace gave the example of Google, which is among a growing number of businesses eschewing the title in favour of alternatives such as “Head of Customer Experience”.

“We must break free of digital being a sort of functional silo that you can add into an organisation,” she said.

However, Ms Stace is not sure what her revised title should be.

Her appointment at the Department coincided with its decision to transform itself from a policy to a delivery organisation, taking a more active role in creating services aimed directly at its users, including schools, parents, colleges and universities.

This goal is manifested in the Department’s four organisational aims: to be user-centred; to deliver end-to-end; to make evidence-based decisions, and to empower others.

Ms Stace summarised the first two aims roughly as knowing “who our users are, and being able to respond more effectively to their needs and doing our best to join up to make life as simple as possible for our users”.

London, 27 September 2019

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