Many more have had their workload ‘re-prioritised’ to include EU exit work
Credit: DCMS/Public domain
About one in 10 staff at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have been seconded to full-time work on issues related to the UK’s impending exit from the European Union.
Additionally, many other workers have been asked to dedicate some of their time to Brexit, or have seen their range of duties reprioritised.
In a written parliamentary question, Labour MP David Lammy asked “how many officials in [the] department have been seconded away from their normal duties to work on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and what effect that secondment of staff has had on the effectiveness of his department”.
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In response, digital minister Margot James revealed that the need to prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit has meant that a significant proportion of DCMS workers have been redirected – entirely or in part – to work on EU exit. She offered little, if any, comment in response to the question of the impact this has had on the department’s effectiveness.
“As part of the department’s preparations for the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal, around 110 officials were seconded away from their normal duties to support on EU exit work,” she said. “In addition, a significant number of officials had their work reprioritised to include EU exit work whilst remaining in their primary roles.”
Figures published earlier this year by think tank the Institute for Government indicate that DCMS has a total of about 1,100 employees.
In recent years, the department has taken on a range of new responsibilities for policy areas related to digital and data, including its ongoing work to develop a National Data Strategy to be published sometime in 2019.