GDS pops up in Birmingham

Written by Sam Trendall on 28 September 2018 in News
News

GDS and HM Courts and Tribunals Service to set up digital presence in the second city as region plans to become ‘the UK’s number one hub for public sector digital services’

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Government Digital Service has picked Birmingham as the latest site for its GDS Academy.

The location – which will operate as a “pop-up” – will, over the coming weeks, provide “a series of courses” for civil servants in digital roles. It will also offer training for government workers from other disciplines who are interested in moving into the digital, data, and technology (DDaT) space.

The site will temporarily join the academy’s existing facilities in Leeds, London, Manchester, and Newcastle. 

Last year, GDS also ran a pop-up outpost in Edinburgh, following which it collaborated with the Scottish Government to permanently establish the Scottish Digital Academy. The two entities now jointly run the training service, which offers courses in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The expansion into Birmingham was revealed during the day-long Public Sector Digital Midlands event that took place yesterday in the city centre. 


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Also announced there was the creation by HM Courts and Tribunal Service of a West Midlands Digital Hub, where up to 100 DDaT professionals will be based. The move is part of HMCTS’s ongoing modernisation programme, which includes a number of projects to promote or implement the use of digital justice tools.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street claimed that the event took place “only at the beginning of an even greater period of digital transformation that will take place in our region”. 

He pointed to the West Midlands being recently chosen by the government as the site for the UK’s first 5G test bed site to incorporate multiple cities. The mayor also cited the ongoing UrbanChallenge programme, in which tech start-ups are invited to propose solutions to public sector service delivery challenges.

“Further expansion from public sector digital teams here confirm the region as the heart of public sector digital services and skills,” Street added.

Public Sector Digital Midlands was led by Jane Fallon, head of digital at the Office of the Public Guardian. The event also saw the announcement of an intended “blueprint” for the public sector’s use of digital platforms and services across the region. The plan will look at how the implementation of digital technologies and collaboration between organisations – including local and central government, academic institutions, and suppliers – could be improved across the West Midlands.

“Through this blueprint, we want to position the Midlands as the UK’s number one hub for public sector digital services,” Fallon said. “And, importantly, we want to highlight the shared vision from teams across the Midlands and beyond, to collaborate more closely, in order to deliver the very best services using the very best technical expertise. The Midlands is well positioned to bring digital teams together and break down barriers between central and local government. I look forward to seeing how this action plan progresses.”

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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