Organization : IT Director General and CIO

Joe Harley, IT director general and CIO at the Department for Work and Pensions, is responsible for one of the largest IT systems in the world. He also sits on the UK government’s CIO Council.

Harley has been CIO at the DWP for almost five years, starting in July 2004. He has overall responsibility for a £3bn IT programme that underpins the comprehensive modernisation of the department’s public services – with examples of the latter including the launch of the Internet Job Bank and Employer Direct Online. He’s also on the executive team that steers the DWP’s business strategy.

Among Harley’s achievements at the DWP is the realigning of its contracts with BT and EDS – bringing in new tech infrastructure while also saving £1bn. The CIO has also centralised the IT function, reducing headcount and leading a charge for increased professionalism by recruiting staff from the private sector.

Harley makes it his mission to get quality and value from suppliers. Speaking in an interview with earlier this year he said: “Some people say to me ‘Well I can give you quality but it’s going to cost you more’ and I say ‘No I want the quality and I want to pay less so come up with that for me.'” The DWP’s supplier management processes are now seen as ‘best in class’ in government and plans are afoot to roll them out to other government departments.

Before the DWP, Harley was global CIO for ICI Paints and prior to that he was global IT vice president for BP. He has also worked for Britoil, IBM, Unisys and local government.