Management > CIO

Sadiq Khan launches hunt for London's first chief digital officer

Neil Merrett Published 03 May 2017

Applications open until May 23 for new role that will lead collaboration between city and local authorities built on common standards and smart technology


London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to appoint the capital’s first chief digital officer that is intended to build on expertise around digital technology and data sciences with potential implications for how services are provided to citizens and visitors alike.

The role, which will carry a £106,952 annual salary, will focus on working from the Mayor’s Office to collaborate with Greater London Authority (GLA) officials, local government and stakeholders such as the Smart London Board advisory group to set out common standards for technology and data.

The recruitment is aimed to ensure more coordinated joint working between authorities and technology groups to push forward with commitments to smart city technology across the capital in a push for more efficient services.

“So much has been achieved already – from smart ticketing and contactless technology in our transport network, to the London Datastore,” said a statement on the planned recruitment.  “But there is so much more we can do to transform the ways in which we plan, discuss and deliver public services and government for Londoners – making them more accessible, efficient, and better suited to the needs of our complex and diverse city.”

Applications for the position are open until May 23, with preferred candidates expected to be experienced in setting out and delivering innovation projects designed to tackle city challenges at a senior level for either a technology or government organisation.

“You will be a powerful advocate for technology and have the communication and diplomatic skills to convene and influence a wide range of external stakeholders. You will be a team worker who leads by example and offers support to the GLA’s highly talented teams of officials on this agenda,” said the notice.

Julian David, chief executive officer for the techUK industry association, welcomed the recruitment announcement, saying it matched a core recommendation from its own report on London’s Digital Future that was released in 2016.

“This role can now provide a critical focal point in creating a world-leading smart city that works for all of London's businesses and citizens. Done right, this appointment can send a beacon around the world that London is streets ahead when it comes to tech,” he said.

David argued that the role would not be straight forward for the successful candidate, with strong leadership required among a complex network of stakeholders such as local government and the technology sector.

“It is key that this role has capacity and resource to make sure the mayor's vision for London's digital future is translated into delivery,” he added. 

"With a wave of mayoral elections happening across the country this week, we urge the incoming metropolitan mayors to take note of what's happening in London and place a vision for digital at the heart of their administration.”

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