MoJ Appoints Tom Read As Chief Digital And Information Officer

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Government has appointed Tom Read as the chief digital and information officer at the Ministry of Justice and will oversee digital transformation

The government has appointed Tom Read as the chief digital and information officer at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), where he will oversee digital transformation within the criminal justice system.

Currently the digital technology director and CTO at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Read will replace Arif Harbott at the Ministry.

“Thrilled to announce I’m moving to the Ministry of Justice as Chief Digital and Information Officer. @harbott will be a hard act to follow!” Read revealed on Twitter.

Digital transformation

tom-readRead has solid experience in delivering digital transformation programmes across central government, notably in the Cabinet Office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport, along with the Crown Commercial Service.

As such, he has the skills and experience required to help drive the adoption of digital technologies in the Ministry of Justice, which the government recently announced it will have a wholesale shift to digital systems in order for cases to be processed partially or wholly online and to rid the justice system of paper-based data storage and transfer.

Read’s appointment has received approval on Twitter as well as from techUK, which represents around 900 UK technology companies.

“Given his track record of delivering digital transformation at the Cabinet Office, and his key belief that the user should be at the core of any transformation project, Tom Read is an excellent choice of CDIO for the Ministry of Justice.” said Henry Rex, techUK’s Programme Manager for Justice and Emergency Services.

However, Rex suggested that Read may have his work cut out for him with the digital transformation of the criminal justice system.

“The Digital Justice programme has made some good steps forward over the past years, but more work needs to be done. The various interested departments within the Ministry of Justice must work closely with their counterparts in policing to deliver a digitally enabled end-to-end justice system which puts the user first,” he added.

The government has not revealed where Harbott will move to, or the date he will be replaced by Read. However, the government has yet to appoint a chief digital officer after former Government Digital Service (GDS) director Mike Bracken resigned form the role last year. With this in mind, it is possible that Harbott could be appointed to the position given his experience at the Ministry of Justice, a data heavy section of Whitehall.

We contacted the Ministry of Justice for clarification on where Harbott will move to, but have yet to receive a response.

Leadership shake-ups appear to be in vogue in IT positions at Whitehall, particularly in GDS. But regardless of the appointments, the government remain firmly fixed on its goal of overhauling Whitehall with more common digital services as opposed to relying on legacy infrastructure in departmental silos.

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