Job Title : CIO and director general for corporate IT

Organization : Department for Work and Pensions

When it comes to public sector IT they don’t punch much harder than Joe Harley.

With a dual role overseeing one of the largest IT departments in Whitehall and as the government CIO, Harley plays a defining role in setting national technology strategy.

As Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) CIO, Harley manages a budget of about £800m and plays a crucial role in ensuring government is able to pay out more than £124bn in benefits annually.

Under Harley, the DWP has undertaken a £6bn five-year business process modernisation programme, including the launch of services such as the Internet Job Bank and Employer Direct Online. He’s overseen an internal IT transformation programme, consolidating IT into a central department, aimed at reducing the department’s tech spend by more than 30 per cent.

Even bigger challenges lie in front of him, as Harley ensures that the major technology overhaul which will underpin the shift to the Universal Credit welfare system runs smoothly.

As government CIO, Harley faces no less daunting challenge – delivering on the coalition government’s determination to cut IT projects and tech running costs down to size, its cloud computing ambitions and goal of transforming the delivery of services and information online.

Fortunately, Harley is well versed in handling sprawling IT operations. Before joining the DWP in 2004 he spent four years as global CIO for ICI Paints, managing IT operations in 50 countries. Before that, he was a global IT VP for BP.

Outside of work, Glasgow-born Harley makes a point of getting to see Celtic FC play as often as he can.