GDS boss looks to work closer with Treasury on project planning

Written by Sam Trendall on 20 September 2019 in News
News

Alison Pritchard says organisation would like to be involved at an earlier stage of projects

 Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The Government Digital Service will look to establish a closer relationship with HM Treasury, enabling it to contribute at an earlier stage of discussions about plans for major government projects.

Alison Pritchard, who was appointed as interim director general of GDS last month, hosted the organisation’s annual Sprint conference this week in central London. At the event, PublicTechnology asked her if the demands of Brexit had resulted in some compromises being made to the digital and technology spending controls overseen by GDS.

“No – there has been no loosening of spending controls in terms of the major programmes going through,” she said. “We have worked hard around our service design guidance, to make sure, where services are ready to go live, that if there is some further tweaking that might need to be done, we can work creatively with the department to make sure that the those fixes might be addressed in time.”


Related content


In the future, Pritchard said, the controls will remain an important part of GDS's work. Indeed, the digital agency would like its role in assessing planned projects to be more deeply embedded.

“In terms of controls, and particularly on funding and expenditure, what I want to see more of is a partnership with HM Treasury, so that we are able to address overall deliverability for programmes at a very early stage,” she said.

GDS already has “both informal and formal links with the Treasury”, according to Pritchard.

“They are always looking for help in terms of how we can make sure that bids are right and proper and effective and deliverable,” she said. “And, I think, the area where we can strengthen our pitch with the Treasury is around transformation opportunities, where there are complexities in the way that spending reviews are done on a very bilateral basis – we are looking forward to be able to do something a bit more agile with business cases, to make sure that risk is shared in the right way, and making sure we encourage innovation.”

The government chief digital and information officer – a permanent secretary-level post at the head of government’s DDaT function that is currently being recruited for – could have an important part to play, believes the GDS head.

“We expect the GCDIO to have a significant role in the early phases of the development of potential programmes, allowing us to comment on deliverability in the pipeline route – rather than at the last moment, with spending controls," Pritchard said. "Adherence to controls remains a critical part – an essential part – of our role.”

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

GDS adds gender non-binary options to employee records
5 July 2022

Digital agency claims that gathering more data will help ensure greater diversity in hiring new recruits and career progression of existing staff

‘This lack of transparency could undermine trust’ – DWP scolded over failure to publish research data
21 June 2022

Parliamentary committee writes to department urging greater openness

Whitehall chief: ‘From AOs to perm secs – we all need to be data confident’
20 June 2022

Government operations leader wants departments to make better use of the ‘huge amounts of data’ at their disposal

Supercharged: Inside the ONS plan to become a data-science 'powerhouse'
12 May 2022

Five years after being established, the Data Science Campus of the ONS wants to do more to help address government's biggest policy issues – while still retaining its innovative edge. ...