DCMS upgrades Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation role

Department advertises for executive director to lead data-driven technology governance body

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has made the job of executive director of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation a Senior Civil Service level two role, to reflect the centre’s expanding role since its creation in 2018.

The job, currently held by current executive director Oliver Buckley, involves leading a staff of up 50 people. It has been advertised as a fixed-term contract of 18 months with the option of an extension on a salary of between £93,000 and £115,000, with applications closing on 28 February.

In November last year, the centre published the results of an 18-month review calling for a “mandatory transparency obligation” for all public-sector organisations that use algorithms to make decisions that affect citizens. It also said that the government should issue guidance that clarifies the Equality Act responsibilities of organisations using algorithmic decision-making.

Last week, it published a review of local government use of data during the pandemic, covering work such as emergency services in Essex sharing data in real time and Hackney Council analysing a range of datasets to identify people vulnerable to Covid-19.

Susannah Storey, DCMS director-general, described the centre as “a critical part of the UK’s digital policy toolkit,” adding in the candidate information pack: “You will have a major role in setting an ambitious forward vision for the centre and will support DCMS in making the case for necessary future growth and responsibilities.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is also hiring a chief digital information officer at a salary of £120,000. The job involves leading around 1,000 staff in the department’s Digital, Data and Technology Services business area with a total annual budget of £177m, according to the job advert, with applications closing on 7 March.

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