Reshuffle: Dowden promoted to digital secretary and GDS minister post vacated again

Written by Sam Trendall on 14 February 2020 in News
News

Jeremy Quin’s short stay in the Cabinet Office comes to an end

Ministerial responsibility for the Government Digital Service is changing hands yet again, after Jeremy Quin’s short spell in the hotseat was ended by yesterday’s reshuffle.

After just two months in post, Quin has been shifted to the Ministry of Defence, where he assumes the post of minister for defence procurement. 

Following his departure from the Cabinet Office, Conservative peers Lord True and Lord Agnew have both been appointed as junior ministers at the central department – although there is, as yet, no confirmation of whether either will effectively take over Quin’s post as minister for implementation or, if not, what duties their respective portfolios will contain.

Whoever takes over ministerial oversight of GDS, they will become the ninth person to do so in the space of less than five years. 

Of the seven people who have come in the wake of Francis Maude, whose five-year stint as Cabinet Office minister ended in May 2015, only two – Matt Hancock and Oliver Dowden – have held responsibility for GDS’s work for more than a year (see below).


GDS ministers

  • TBC – February 2020 to TBC
  • Jeremy Quin – December 2019 to February 2020
  • 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


Ben Gummer, Damian Green, Caroline Nokes, Simon Hart and, latterly, Quin, have spent months, or even weeks in post.

The reshuffle also saw Dowden (pictured above) continue on an upward trajectory, as he was moved from his role as Cabinet Office minister and appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport. He replaces Nicky Morgan, who was appointed a Conservative peer after stepping down as an MP at the December election.

Part of Dowden's ministerial team at his new department will be Matt Warman, who remains in post as minister for digital and broadband.

On Twitter, Dowden posted a picture of him meeting DCMS permanent secretary Sarah Healey, and said: “Straight to work on delivering broadband and seizing the huge opportunities the UK has in tech, media, and creative industries.”

He is replaced at the head of the Cabinet Office by Michael Gove, who was already in the department as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster – a roving role in which he has primarily focused on Brexit work across government. He will retain these duties.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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