Royal Opera House

Parliament has selected Rob Greig, chief technology officer (CTO) at the Royal Opera House, to lead the newly-created ‘Parliamentary Digital Service’ (PDS).

The new digital service replaces the separate Parliamentary ICT (PICT) and Web & Intranet Service (WIS), as recommended in a report by mySociety in March. It will have 300 staff and a budget of £30 million including £6 million to invest in ICT.

Greig has almost two decades experience in ICT, mainly in roles in the charity and arts sector. He is non-executive director of Tessitura, a US firm that provides software and services to arts and cultural organisations.

He will start on April 1 on an annual salary of about £110,000 and will sit on the management boards of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

One of Greig’s first tasks will be to formulate and deliver a digital strategy for both Houses of Parliament, overseeing a transition from two separate teams to one single digital service.

Parliament will shortly kick off a recruitment exercise for a new chief technology officer (CTO) to report to Grieg.

Greig has a tough job ahead of him. In its response to the mySociety report in March, the administration admitted: “Parliament is not properly organised to be the major digital player that we must be if we are to keep up with the game, let alone get ahead of it."

It added: “Major effort is needed simply to keep up with what is now seen as normal, never mind to achieve an exemplary service.”

The current head of IT, Joan Miller, stood down in September after holding the post for almost a decade.

The Houses of Parliament were plagued by IT problems earlier this year such as screen freezing and slow e-mail delivery and web browsing during a migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite.

The IT department blamed the problems on “an error in the supporting software” inadvertently introduced by one of its (unnamed) contractors.