Shiplee joined O’Rourke in October 2011 as Executive Director.
Prior to that he was Director of Construction for the London 2012 Olympics.
Shiplee is joining the Department for Work and Pensions to lead the delivery of Universal Credit.
Permanent Secretary for Work and Pensions, Robert Devereux, said: “I am delighted to welcome Howard Shiplee to the Department.
“Howard has a wealth of experience in the successful delivery of projects of significant scale and complexity. His know how and experience will be invaluable as we begin the roll-out of Universal Credit.”
Shiplee, said: “The DWP is delivering the most important and far reaching reform to the welfare system in a generation.
“I am delighted to be joining the DWP during such a key period of change and am excited by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to work with colleagues throughout the organisation to deliver this significant landmark programme.
“I’d also like to record my gratitude to Laing O’Rourke for expediting my release to take up this exciting challenge.”