Pete Rose joined NHS Digital in May 2020, during one of the most intense and challenging periods in our history, as we worked to deliver the products and services needed to respond to the first wave of the pandemic.
On arrival, he quickly absorbed responsibility for our service operations, infrastructure, collaboration services and cyber security functions and immediately became a key member of the Covid Gold Command which led the organisation through the pandemic.
There is no doubt that his presence significantly strengthened our capability as an organisation and was key to our response to the challenges of last year.
Pete led from the front. He was deeply engaged in all aspects of the work of the organisation and had the rare ability to provide both clear strategic vision and astute, pragmatic, operational guidance 'on the ground'.
He was immensely talented – a capable engineer who maintained a detailed knowledge of technology; a clear communicator; and a quick thinker who was able to absorb and understand large amounts of complex information at speed.
Pete had an innate ability to assess options and make rapid judgements and decisions, skills which enabled him to manage complex incidents and issues with rigour and precision again and again.
Simon Bolton, Interim Chief Executive at NHS Digital, said:
“Pete was, quite simply, a wonderful colleague. We are grateful for the fantastic leadership qualities that he brought to NHS Digital.
“He was calm under pressure, incredibly wise and a role model to those around him. We will miss him deeply.”
Pete was an outstanding public servant in many roles prior to joining NHS Digital. He joined us from the Home Office, where he was Director of Enterprise Services and Deputy Chief Digital, Data and Technology Officer, accountable for the provision of all IT operations and service delivery including to the Border Force, UK Visas and Immigration, Her Majesty's Passport Office and national policing systems.
He also created the Home Office's internal Cyber Security Programme, was responsible for internal cyber security operations and led the Home Office response to WannaCry in 2017. Earlier in his career he served in the Cabinet Office, held numerous senior roles in the private sector, and started his career in the Royal Air Force, serving in a variety of front-line, engineering and project delivery roles.
Pete had an extraordinary level of commitment to his work, exemplified by his determination to continue to contribute to our agenda throughout a gruelling regime of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
But perhaps most memorable of all Pete's qualities was his great integrity. He was a man of his word and completely dependable. Working with Pete was an energising, inspiring and humbling experience.
It was immensely important to him to be a colleague who others could trust and rely on at all times. As a result, we leant on him regularly and took great strength from him.