DCMS beefs up ministers’ digital and data portfolios

Written by Sam Trendall on 19 February 2020 in News
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New-look ministerial team has strong tech focus

Credit: DCMS/Public domain

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed the responsibilities of its new-look ministerial team, with most roles containing a strong focus on technology and data.

Digital is a relatively recent addition to DCMS’s roster of responsibilities; the word was only added to the organisation’s name in summer 2017. But technology and data issues have come to dominate the department’s workload, with about 70% of its policymakers now focused on digital.

Following the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, DCMS’s ministerial roster now has a similarly technological bent.

Caroline Dinenage has joined the department as minister of state for digital and culture. Her responsibilities include digital and technology policy and skills, as well as online harms and security. She will also oversee libraries, museums, the arts and creative industries. 


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Formerly minister for care at the Department of Health and Social Care, Dinenage was first elected as the MP for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head in the 2010 election.

Another new arrival at DCMS is John Whittingdale, who has been given a role as minister for media and data. In addition to overseeing data policy and the work of the National Archives, he will also hold responsibility for media, public appointments, and departmental EU negotiations. 

It is Whittingdale’s second stint in the department, having served as culture secretary between 2015 and 2016. He has been an MP since 1992.

Matt Warman remains at DCMS in essentially the same role, albeit with a slightly altered job title: under secretary of state for digital infrastructure.

He retains responsibility for the delivery of broadband, gigabit and mobile networks, as well as cybersecurity and the telecoms supply chain. The latter area has been the subject of much scrutiny recently, following the conclusion of the department’s supply-chain review and the decision to permit Huawei to play a role in the construction of the UK’s 5G network.

After a career as a technology journalist, Warman was elected as MP for Boston and Skegness in the 2015 election.

Alongside him at DCMS are Nigel Huddleston, whose ministerial brief covers sports and lotteries, and Baroness Barran, whose responsibilities include loneliness, the Office for Civil Society, and all departmental business in the House of Lords.

The quintet of junior ministers are led by Oliver Dowden, who was appointed as DCMS secretary of state in the reshuffle. He was promoted from his previous post as minister for the Cabinet Office.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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