The Ministry of Justice is will appoint Arif Harbott as its next chief digital officer, CIO UK understands.

Harbott will become the Ministry of Justice's fifth technology leader in the last two years, the department confirmed. 

Harbott is currently CDO at the UK’s largest food wholesale operator Booker Group, where he is responsible for all digital and ‘multichannel’ functions including strategy, transformation, e-commerce, customer experience and analytics.

He has previously held senior roles at retailer Morrisons, Lloyds Banking Group and Oracle. Harbott cofounded a digital consultancy called Busara Digital in 2007 which was subsequently sold. He started his career as a management consultant at Deloitte for two years then worked with the European Commission for six years.

The current interim CDO at the department is David Dilley, previously transformation head at the Government Digital Service. He took up the role after the previous CDO, Paul Shetler, unexpectedly stepped down from his post in February after just a year.

Shetler has now moved to Australia to become CEO of the Australian government’s new Digital Transformation Office.  

Shetler’s predecessor Nick Ramsay was also only in post for a year, before leaving to become CIO of catering giant Compass Group. He was preceded by Andy Nelson, who left in February 2013.

The Ministry of Justice has ambitious plans for a number of technology and IT related schemes. In February officials promised to set up an eBay-style online resolution service for minor civil disputes by 2017. 

The department is also part-way through a £160 million ‘common platform’ initiative to digitise the paper-based criminal justice system end-to-end. The project aims to create a single online platform for case information and is also due to be delivered by 2017.

However it also has a history of failed big IT projects. These include the national offender management system which saw its costs double to £700 million, the £444 million paid for the Libra case management system versus an expected £164 million and £56 million on an abandoned Enterprise Resource Planning system.