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UK's DWP hires ex-Vodafone chief and agile expert to head up digital transformation

Derek du Preez | Oct. 16, 2013
Kevin Cunnington has also worked at PwC and Goldman Sachs

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced the appointment of Kevin Cunnington as its new Director General for Digital Transformation.

Cunnington was previously the global head of online for Vodafone Group, and has also worked at Lebara, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Goldman Sachs.

According to the department he has led a variety of large scale, global, digital transformation programmes, "creating a range of new digital services in e-commerce, digital marketing, self-care and social media".

The hire comes shortly after the National Audit Office's (NAO) damning report examining DWP's progress in rolling out Universal Credit, its flagship welfare reform project. Universal Credit aims to merge benefits such as jobseeker's allowance, income support, housing benefit, child tax credit, and working credit.

It was originally intended that the system would take a 'digital by default' approach, with almost all of the claims and processes being carried out online. However, the NAO report now claims that DWP is having to reassess this and may have to introduce more manual processes into the system.

"I am delighted to welcome Kevin Cunnington to the department. Kevin has a wealth of experience in transforming digital services and successfully delivering web and mobile services. These skills and experience will prove invaluable to the department," said DWP Permanent Secretary, Robert Devereux.

According to DWP, Cunnington was responsible for writing PwC's agile development methodology for expert and knowledge based systems - a methodology that the department wanted to use for Universal Credit, but has thus far failed to make work.

The NAO report found that a lack of familiarity with agile and the fact that no government programme of this size had used it before, meant that the governance style was unsuccessful and hindered development.

"The work of the DWP is incredibly important and the role of digital services is vital to delivering reform, improving the quality of services to the public, and saving the tax payer money through greater efficiency," said Cunnington.

He will be starting his role with DWP immediately.

In other news, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) recently announced the appointment of Mark Dearnley as its new Chief Digital and Information Officer - who previously worked at Vodafone, as the company's UK CIO.


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