NHS appoints new CIO and NPfIT director
Thursday, August 07, 2008
News reaches sourcingfocus.com that the Government has finally appointed a new CIO for the NHS, together with a new director of system delivery for the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT (NpfIT).
It has been six months since Richard Granger quit his role, after a controversial tenure that saw him lambasting suppliers and railing against what he called the “privacy fascists” who criticised the scheme’s data security. Meanwhile, elements of the project slipped further and further behind schedule.
Christine Connelly, former CIO of Cadbury Schweppes and a head of IT at BP, will be CIO from September, while Martin Bellamy becomes director of programme and system delivery, and head of Connecting for Health. Bellamy’s track record is in the public sector with the Department for Work and Pensions.
The newly split role makes sense organisationally, and also demonstrates yet again the Government’s fondness for mixing private sector acumen with public sector tradition.
However, the challenges facing Connelly and Bellamy are extreme, and apparently escalating.
Since Granger’s departure, much has changed: Fujitsu has walked away from its southern area deal after contract renegotiations stalled; some NHS Trusts have also walked or are going it alone, while others have expressed frustration at being coerced into working with preferred key suppliers.
Questions have been asked in the House, while Whitehall’s Public Accounts Committee has heard tales of acrimony and dispute between client and supplier. Where elements of the scheme have gone live, some have done so successfully, while others have caused chaos and confusion.
Beyond that, morale is low; the Government’s data handling culture and management have been exposed as inadequate and, at best, primitive, while economic growth is flattening out, perhaps heading towards a full-blown recession.
Clearly, the dynamic duo of Connelly and Bellamy will need to be crusaders for the cause as well as enforcers, good people managers, and sensitive negotiators.
If nothing else, this ambitious and, in many ways, ill-considered scheme has demonstrated that it, more than any other outsourcing deal, is about people, not about technology. We wish them luck!