The MoD’s CIO

A few weeks ago the Guardian ran a story about the MoD paying Yvonne Ferguson to cover the vacant CIO post at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), paying a salary of £10,000 per week.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=””]

The going rate

The MoD says it has had to pay Ferguson the market rate for her services – she was recruited from Capita, the government’s support services provider.

It is understood that Ferguson is on a short-term contract and a member of the civil service will eventually take over the post, at a much reduced salary. But it is not clear how long she will be in the role, and the tasks she has to undertake are huge, long-term projects.

This phrase amused me

Ferguson’s salary is understood to reflect the complexities of the job, which includes moving the MoD to a new computer system and developing a new IT strategy for the military

What, you mean like the role of a CIO, strategy and change.

Developing a new IT Strategy for the military you say

What, like the one published in November 2013

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=””]

Would be more of an implementation role maybe?

CIO’s must be in huge demand and able to command massive salaries because half a million a year is apparently, the ‘market rate’ for a temporary post

Maybe we could look at what that ‘market rate’ is

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=””]

The services each have a CIO which is generally a 1* level, Brigadier, Commodore and Air Commodore, roughly about £100k per year.

Capita taking the piss or not?







About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
February 25, 2014 10:11 am

Well, I’m not impressed with Capita, but for a CIO, 500K a year is entirely reasonable if they are doing a good job. My employers have a lot less staff than the MOD and pay theirs much more.

Dan Jones
February 25, 2014 10:26 am

Hi TD, long time lurker – thought this would be a good time to make a first comment given I’m a defence analyst at the firm you linked to (Kable/Government Computing).

With regard the salary – £100k won’t buy you a world class CIO in the UK. The fact that she is now the highest paid civil service official may be defensible in light of the challenge she faces. DE&S ISS moves to JFC under her remit from April this year – with additional responsibility imparted for IT procurement. Her initial work is likely to revolve around the finalization of the mandate for DCNS and a lot of ground work for early implementation of the model. Given DCNS will result in a total overhaul of the way the MoD procures comms network IT (a movement towards service provision rather than hardware provision) over the next 10 years, her salary may very well be worth it if significant savings can be achieved versus the traditional model. Reorganisation of the way the MoD procures and operates IT systems are some of the key drivers behind projected savings to the equipment plan over the next ten years.

February 25, 2014 10:29 am

£1000-1200 per day for a permanent position seems about right, so double it for a temporary position with no chance of a bonus or long-term share options?

February 25, 2014 10:40 am

Linkedin is a great place for perm recruitment, not temp positions. The MOD obviously needed someone quickly, and at this level this means going through a headhunter. I suspect that since she’s from Capita, they have worked with her before and thought she was worthwhile

Dan Jones
February 25, 2014 11:27 am

Cheers TD. Yes – we were under the impression that the post was to be permanent as well, so that’s surprised us a little too. Currently attempting to pin down an interview with her. On balance, given the level of change underway in IT procurement the temporary appointment of a big-hitter may be the best option. When transition to the new model occurs, a cheaper CIO on a standard MoD paygrade may very well suffice. As far as I’m aware the MoD hasn’t worked with Yvonne before but she did have a CIO role at the Royal Mail and Tfl, both organisations with considerable pressure on upgrading voluminous, legacy IT systems and thus she likely has much transferrable experience in this area.

Dan Jones
February 25, 2014 11:53 am

Cheers TD – I saw the NAO article but not the other one, looks like I have some reading to do over lunch :) More background is always good. Always perennial problems with IT project management – difficult at the best of times in ordinary organisations, but adding the MoD into the mix creates a whole new level of challenge. Not least the number of acronyms when those two worlds clash! :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 25, 2014 8:37 pm

Most manpower services companies (in this case Capita is receiving the £10k a week, not the contractor) try to achieve a gross margin of about 40%, which nets downwards to about 27-30%. Still a healthy margin.

Working the numbers, she’s probably getting about £1200 daily (£6,000 weekly) for a standard 220 working days per year. So her take home would be about £264,000, from which she’ll have to fund her own pension subs and so on. £264,000 is certainly a lot, but for that sort of role, possibly approaching the capitation rate of a pensioned civil servant or senior officer on about £150,000 a year (capitation rate over £200,000). And with no job security, you’d expect a premium to be paid.

So that’s the price breakdown. Nothing about value…..

February 25, 2014 10:24 pm

I never cease to be amazed how people find rates such as £1000 per day to be “reasonable”. For comparitive purposes, a quick search throws up positions being advertised for CIO jobs (with some big companies) in the City of London at rates from around £65,000 to £90,000 annually.

Perhaps I’m an odd duck in that although I support certain government activities like the NHS and state schools, I’m always amazed by the governments ability to pay way over the odds for staff and services.

February 25, 2014 11:33 pm

@Chris.B: I work in network engineering. Permanent senior positions in the City (no management required) run to 70-80K. A temp can pull in twice that. Add management to the mix and the numbers climb again. CIO for a 5 figure company like the MOD…her wages are low IMHO.

Part of the issue with looking on Jobserve and the like is that only junior roles tend to be listed these days. Senior roles will be recruited by direct approach on Linkedin, usually by an agency.

February 26, 2014 5:55 pm

@ Wf,

I was talking about senior positions in some very big companies. In case the government hasn’t noticed we’re still struggling out of an economic slump and with a potential housing bubble building the next slump could be just around the corner, thus generally private sector wages have been suppressed over the last few years. The reality is that government is over paying for some of its positions (though underpaying some others).

The MoD also has a unique position, much like the BBC or the NHS, in that it is a state funded enterprise of quite significant size. It has the attraction factor (or should have) of being able to lure people in on slightly depressed wages for their experience/talent levels in exchange for them getting the chance to tick another box on their CV by showing their ability to work in a large company with a hell of a lot of responsibility, experience that could seal them a much bigger (or at least better paid) job back in the private sector at a later date.

If only they realised that and worked that angle.

February 26, 2014 6:21 pm

@Chris.B: I really cannot imagine any organisation, with a requirement for a CIO based in London, paying less 100K. To my personal knowledge, an EMEA IT director (2000 staff in EMEA), 9 years ago, the temp rate was 2K GBP a day.

Frankly, given the frustrations of working in the public sector, I’d want extra.

March 1, 2014 1:11 am

Salary does seem high, perhaps its competitive with the banks?

A far more challenging job than in other parts of govt and the private sector, because MoD has both the office environment and the field environment which includes very specialised capabilities with ever increasing needs for data to flow throughout, often using global private networks with data rate capacities from the sublime to the ridiculous (is 150 baud on HF radio still required?). In terms of variety Tesco’s ICT is probably pretty straightforward.

Military comms user
Military comms user
April 19, 2015 1:02 pm


The Royal Navy still use 50 Baud for HF comms, not everywhere in the middle of the Ocean has satellite access, and its cheaper than paying Inmarsat £12 a minute to use their spot beams, Its what keeps Forest Moor plodding along