Friday 2 August 2013

Poacher Turned Gamekeeper

My thanks to a loyal reader who pointed me to a press release that HMRC issued yesterday, concerning the appointment of a new HMRC Chief Information Office (CIO), Mark Dearnley.

Dearnley comes from the private sector from a company that loyal readers may well have heard of........Vodafone....cough!

Sadly I see he refers to HMRC as having a "customer base", oh dear!

Anyhoo, Dearnley has quite a task ahead of him as CIO's within HMRC don't seem to last the course. Phil Pavitt moved from the role in October 2012, then left HMRC in November and his acting replacement, Mark Hall, evidently didn't cut the mustard.

Does anyone know what has happened to Mark Hall, ie is he still in HMRC?

I ask because rumours abound that he was not best pleased at being snubbed.

HMRC won't say why Hall had been denied the promotion to CIO, as per Computer Weekly:
The CIO recruitment process was subject to fair and open competition overseen by a civil service commissioner. Following a rigorous and transparent selection process, an external candidate was chosen. We do not comment on individuals who may have been on the interview panel. Mark’s replacement as CIO will be announced in due course,”
It also appears that the role of CIO is being downgraded across Whitehall.

Interesting times ahead methinks!

Anyhoo, here is the press release from HMRC:

"HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced the appointment of one of the country’s leading IT chiefs as the department’s new Chief Digital and Information Officer.

Mark Dearnley, who is currently the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Vodafone UK, is joining HMRC in October. He will take control of a £500 million-a-year IT operation that serves 45 million individuals, 4.8 million businesses and 65,000 HMRC employees. He will be responsible for implementing HMRC’s £200 million digitisation programme and accelerating the planned delivery of online services for all taxpayers. He will also lead HMRC’s physical, personnel and information security.

Mr Dearnley has been CIO at Vodafone UK since 2010 with responsibility for IT supporting 19 million customers. He led a programme to overhaul Vodafone’s business-critical information systems and was named Oracle Global Business Unit CIO of the Year in 2012 for this achievement. Mr Dearnley also restructured Vodafone’s IT operating model and introduced Cloud-based technologies into the mobile operator. 

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“It is an indication of the scale and seriousness of the Government’s digital ambition that one of the UK’s most experienced CIOs is leaving the private sector to take on this major role. Mark Dearnley’s appointment to HMRC is evidence that Government has the cutting-edge challenges that can attract the very best leaders in IT to public service.”

HMRC Chief Executive, Lin Homer, added:
“Mark is an exceptionally experienced CIO, with strong leadership and change management skills as well as an accomplished technical background across a spectrum of IT disciplines. HMRC has already embarked on an ambitious programme of digitisation to provide taxpayers with modern online services and Mark is the right person to deliver that for the UK.”

Mark Dearnley said: 
“I have spent my entire career in the private sector, mostly in customer-facing businesses. But no private business in the UK can match the customer base, scale or complexity of HMRC, which makes this role irresistible. I am thrilled to have been appointed and can’t wait to get started.”

Notes for editors:
  1. Mr Dearnley was recruited through a fair and open competition under the Government’s business appointment procedures for senior civil servants. The recruitment process was overseen by the Civil Service Commissioner, who led a panel that included two Permanent Secretaries and a Non-Executive Director. The UK Government Chief Operating Officer was consulted throughout the process. The appointment was approved by the Prime Minister.
  2. The annual salary for this Director General role is £180,000, which is at the Senior Civil Service (SCS) 3 pay band.
  3. Mr Dearnley is CIO of Vodafone UK, where his primary focus is using IT to improve the customer experience. He has worked internationally in the telecoms industry over the last decade.
  4. Prior to Vodafone, Mr Dearnley spent six years at Cable and Wireless, as CIO and in other senior IT roles. He also spent three years at Boots the Chemists, first as Chief Operating Officer for the start-up of and latterly as Programme Director.
  5. He has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Brunel University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and British Computer Society."

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  1. Was there a personal recommendation from Dave Hairnet?

  2. How very reassuring, HMRC's track record on IT and keeping taxpayers' records secure.

  3. Experienced CIO.....very best leaders in IT....telecoms experience..strong leadership and change management skills... blah blah blah

    I seem to recall that exactly the same things were said about Phil Pavitt when he joined HMRC after his stints at TFL and NTL.

    The truth is that Mark Dearnley has only been the CIO at Vodafone since 2010 which is barely time to deliver more than a couple of big projects. It is surely far too early to judge the success of his restructuring of their 'operating model'. To me it looks as though they have hired just another management freebooter who will do a 3 year tour of duty at HMRC to add a little lustre to his CV before scarpering to some other lucrative corporate sinecure.

    One thing is for certain is that he is going to find himself knee deep in crap from day one. Before he can launch any more 'digital revolutions' (these happen almost yearly at HMRC if you believe the press releases) he is going to have to confront the growing problems with the RTI system These are mounting rapidly behind the scenes despite the panglossian statements coming from the Jane Brothwood. You can get some hint of what is going wrong from the comments attached to the AccountingWeb article in the link below

    Real Time Information

    In addition Dearnley will find out that the Board of HMRC unlike that of Vodafone does not actually control the 'business' which is really run by George Osborne at the Treasury. Ultimately, it will be the Chancellor and the political timetable in the run up to the General election in 2015 which will call the shots about how much money is spent by HMRC on technology and what the priorities will be for investment. And naturally if the current Government falls and a new administration comes into office in 18 months time Dearnley may find whatever IT plans he has drawn up for HMRC ripped up anyway.

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