The ideal sponsor knows that public service reform is no vote winner. However, they also know that if they wish to achieve anything of personal and political value –the reason they got into their impossibly taxing job in the first place –they need to get to grips with means as much as ends. To take the long path of changing government demands someone who understands the high cost of leaving the status quo alone. The most successful champions of digital transformation therefore tend to be ministers who have served in two or more different administrations. Most will also hold a position that can legitimately exert influence over a wide array of government business. This generally means they will be in a central department, such as the Cabinet Office in the UK or the Treasury Board in Canada. This gives them a fulcrum to interfere in the affairs of other departments –hence their need to be a politically strong figure. There is also an argument to say that the political sponsor should not be too senior. Delivering change in the face of inertia takes a lot of time and energy as well as political capital. Presidents, prime ministers and finance ministers who need to spread their resources and favours over a very wide playing field will struggle.
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