Feeds

UK.gov IT slasher axes himself - after 5 months in new job

Ian Watmore follows horde of civil servants streaming out the door

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Former tech-spending axeman Ian Watmore is leaving the civil service just five months after taking up a new role as the permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office.

He had previously headed up the reform and efficiency group, the unit tasked with cutting waste from the Whitehall budget. The Cabinet Office explained that Watmore was retiring to occupy himself with "spousal roles" in charity and sport.

Watmore's resignation comes within a year of several other top Whitehall ICT bods throwing in the towel. Cabinet Office CIO Joe Harley quit the Cabinet Office in November – less than a year after helping to draft the government's ICT strategy; Deputy Cabinet Office CIO Bill McCluggage left weeks before him; and the Cabinet Office man responsible for bringing G-Cloud into government – Chris Chant – left at the beginning of this month.

Watmore joined the Civil Service seven years ago and served as Whitehall's efficiency hardman - claiming to have knocked £3bn off government contracts with companies including BT, HP and Fujitsu during his time as chief operating officer of the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG).

Watmore's focus on procurement led to him co-creating the Major Projects Authority (MPA), which oversees projects worth £400m or more. He also set up the Government Digital Service.

In January 2012 Watmore took a promotion to become permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office after civil service head Gus O'Donnell retired and his role was split three ways. Watmore landed the role at the top of the Cabinet Office, the department that oversees the government.

He will be replaced as head of the Cabinet Office by Melanie Dawes, currently the director general of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat there. She will act as permanent secretary pending a competition for the job. As frothing political blogger Guido Fawkes points out, Dawes' partner is Benedict Brogan, deputy editor of the Telegraph.

Before joining the civil service, Watmore was CEO of Accenture, and joined the civil service in 2004, with a nine-month break in 2009, when he had a stint as CEO of the Football Association. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.