Hancock supports ‘next phase’ of GDS

Cabinet office minister Matthew Hancock says that he is a “huge supporter” of the Government Digital Service, and promised a continuing role for it to drive government transformation.

Hancock posted on the GDS blog yesterday, following the departure of a number of senior personnel at the organisation last week.

The resignations sparked rumours that there were concerns within the unit that it could be downsized “drastically” at this autumn’s spending review.

Hancock did not directly address those fears, but said: “…we have the right people in place to deliver the next phase of GDS.

“There is so much more to do, and I look forward to leading it at Ministerial level, and driving the transformation across government that our citizens expect.”

He paid tribute to the 500 staff at GDS, saying that the body was “the digital core of government” which was helping deliver services for less.

And he added that there is “a lot more to do to cement this work and embed modern digital, technology and data throughout government”.

Hancock also paid tribute to departing GDS boss Mike Bracken.

He said: “We could not have come so far in such a short space of time without the leadership and vision of Mike Bracken.

“With Mike at the helm the UK has become a world leader in digital government and we’ve recruited a host of extremely talented people, who will continue the work of digital transformation. I wish him well in the future.”

In a blog posted on GOV.UK last week, current GDS chief operating officer Stephen Foreshew-Cain announced that he would now be “stepping up to lead” the service, with a team of three current GDS officials also taking on new responsibilities. Four leaders – including GDS deputy director Tom Loosemore – are to leave Whitehall.

Colin Marrs

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