So the choice of Director of Digital Engagement was announced today. And the job goes to … Andrew Stott, who has been serving as Deputy Chief Information Officer at the Cabinet Office until now.
I don’t know him personally, but several of my colleagues have worked closely with him on projects and he’s come along to our team meeting to give a talk about the progress of the service transformation strategy that he’s been heading up at e-Government Unit.
Most of the projects that I know he’s been working on have been related to getting blogs, wikis and microblogging (Twitter) working for and across government, so he’s certainly very familiar with the government scene in the online engagement areas and will be hitting the ground running.
I think many – including myself, if I’m honest – expected a new face from the private sector to make a bold splash and shake everything up. Which, to be honest, wasn’t a very appealing prospect to those of us who have been plugging away at this for a while now and thinking that we were finally getting some real progress on many fronts. To suddenly change direction and start all over again would have been both irritating and time-consuming, just when there is no time to waste. This appointment means we should be able to get on with things, but with a high profile person at the head of things to drive it forward still faster.
According to reports, he’ll be based in the Government Communication department of the Cabinet Office, overseen by permanent secretary for Government communications Matt Tee, which should also mean he’ll be working closely with the new COI Chief Executive Mark Lund when he starts work next month.
It’s nice to finally know who will be filling the role; the next key step is learning what Andrew Stott’s plans are and how he will take the role forward. It should be very interesting to watch it all take shape.
One nice touch: the appointment was “a Twitter exclusive“. If Twitter was good enough for Barack Obama to use to announce his choice of running mate, then it’s certainly the right place to announce who will be leading the government’s efforts on digital engagement!
UPDATE: Interesting blog posts on this around the place:
- Emma Mulqueeney (for)
- Paul Canning (against)
- Simon Dickson (remains to be convinced)
- Neil Williams (optimistic)
- Dave Briggs (neutral reportage)
- Harry Metcalfe (for)
- Hansard Society eDemocracy (worried)
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