‘Digital is not a cost centre’: Five minutes with Richard Corbridge, chief digital and information officer at the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions

By on 17/03/2024 | Updated on 15/03/2024

Richard Corbridge, chief digital and information officer at the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions, discusses digital as an investment, increasing professional recognition for CIOs, and more.

This is part of a ‘Five minutes’ series featuring speakers from the Global Government Forum Innovation conference (London, 19-20 March). At the event, Corbridge will participate in a session on innovative leadership and how to foster an innovative culture.

What are you most excited about sharing at the Innovation 2024 conference?

Our approach to innovation and the way we have been able to create a business-led, digitally focused way of working. Our mantra of making things better, simpler and more efficient running through all that we do.

What drew you to a career in the civil service? 

A desire to ensure that technology that is here now can help citizens of the UK. I also felt that I had learnt so much in my few years in digital retail that I could bring this back to public service and try to bring a different view of the future.

Read more: ‘Upskilling civil servants will boost efficiency’: Five minutes with Karl Andreas Sprenk from Estonia’s Government CIO Office

What have you achieved in your career that you’re most proud of?

My focus as a digital leader has always been on how we can empower digital colleagues to be transformation leaders. I love that this is what I have become known for.

What more do you want to achieve before you retire?  

The recognition that digital is NOT a cost centre but an investment in the future and is the transformation engine of any organisation. How can we ensure that the role of chief information officer is as recognised as a professional role like the finance or HR director is?

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your working life?  

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it! And ‘We’ve always done it like that’ is the most dangerous phrase in the English language.

Which country’s civil service or which government department or agency are you most inspired by and why? 

I love the way that Canada has tackled digital health. New Zealand too, and the way it has placed clinicians at the centre of its mission. Estonia and the way it has embraced a digital-first attitude is exciting.

Read more: ‘AI will transform the civil service’: Five minutes with Jeremy Pocklington, the UK’s energy security and net zero permanent secretary

Are there any projects or innovations in your country that might be valuable to your peers overseas?  

I think for us it is the how rather than the what right now. The way we have adopted a growth mindset in how we work together is something I would love to share more of and get people’s views and thoughts on what we are doing and how.

Which three famous people, alive or dead, would you most like to invite to a dinner party?  

Prince to tell stories of how he made the music he made. F. Scott Fitzgerald to laugh about how everything changed. Nick Drake to try to persuade him that everything could be OK.

Do you have any unusual hobbies?  

I collect vinyl – is that unusual nowadays? Perhaps not. It’s a hobby that started during the pandemic lockdown and is now a way of insulating our house!

What’s your favourite thing to do at the weekends?  

We walk the dog nice and early, go home to the kids, take a walk into our home town and see friends as a family and then cook a dinner over the evening.

Join Global Government Forum’s LinkedIn group to keep up to date with all the insight public and civil servants need to know.

About GGF reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *