Pritchard: GDS is entering its third era

Organisation’s new head says it must now ‘operationalise’ the capability it has cultivated

GDS HQ   Credit: Derwent London

The new director general of the Government Digital Service has claimed that the organisation is entering its third era, in which it must “operationalise” the skills it has worked to embed across government.

In her opening address at GDS’s Sprint event taking place this morning in London, Alison Pritchard told attendees that “everyone will have their own view on the journey of GDS”.

For her part, she said she conceived of the organisation as having gone through its first two eras.

The first of these was simply concerned was “the establishment of an entity” within the government that has a transformation remit.

“The second era was about growing the [digital, data and technology] profession, with a strategy to go alongside it,” Pritchard said. “The third era is about capitalising on that capability – across boundaries, and across the barriers that we know exist.”

She added that Brexit has been a prompt for government to work across departmental lines to solve common challenges.

“EU exit has been a really important accelerator towards that operationalising of the [DDaT] function,” she said.

Pritchard’s thoughts were echoes by civil service chief executive John Manzoni, who said that Brexit – which he dubbed government’s “crisis du jour” – represented an “enormous opportunity” to break down Whitehall’s siloes and promote collaboration.

Sam Trendall

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