Ministerial responsibility for GDS changes hands again

Written by Sam Trendall on 17 December 2019 in News

Jeremy Quin looks set to take oversight of digital agency as Simon Hart is made secretary of state for Wales

Ministerial responsibility for the Government Digital Service is to change hands once again, after incumbent minister for implementation Simon Hart was yesterday appointed as secretary of state for Wales.

Horsham MP Jeremy Quin – who has been appointed as a parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office – looks set to take the reins of the digital agency, along with the rest of Hart’s portfolio, although his duties are yet to be rubber-stamped.

Assuming Quin is duly confirmed as the new minister for implementation, or an equivalent position, he will be the eighth different person to hold ministerial responsibility for GDS since 2015.

Until June 2017, the work of the organisation was directly overseen by the Cabinet Office minister. But, as the demands of Brexit became ever-more dominant, the GDS brief – along with a range of other duties, including the Crown Commercial Service, civil service HR, government cybersecurity, and public appointments – were given to a junior minister.

GDS ministers

  • Jeremy Quin – December 2019 to present
  • Simon Hart – August 2019 to December 2019
  • Oliver Dowden – January 2018 to July 2019
  • Caroline Nokes – June 2017 to January 2018
  • Damian Green – June 2017 to June 2017
  • Ben Gummer – July 2016 to June 2017
  • Matt Hancock – May 2015 to July 2016
  • Francis Maude – May 2010 to March 2015


Since then, first Caroline Nokes for six months, then Oliver Dowden for a year and a half, then, latterly, Hart, have been tasked with acting as the Westminster representative of GDS. 

Although Quin’s title and the details of his duties have not been officially announced, it is understood his brief is unlikely to differ too radically from Hart’s portfolio.

The new minister (pictured right) arrives in the Cabinet Office after two years as a government whip, most recently in the role of lord commissioner at HM Treasury. He has been a member of parliament since 2015 and has been elected by constituents in Horsham at the last three elections. 

In last week’s vote, Quin retained his seat with a commanding majority – albeit one that was eaten into slightly by a big boost in the Liberal Democrats’ performance, in an area that narrowly voted in favour of remain in the 2016 EU referendum. 

During his time in parliament, Quin has also served on the Work and Pensions Select Committee and as a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Exiting the European Union. 

In other news, Nicky Morgan is to remain in post in another key technology-focused ministerial position: secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport. She keeps her job despite her standing down from parliament; Morgan has been given a life peerage and takes a seat in the House of Lords.


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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