One year on from the official launch of the Government Digital Service, it seems like a good time to reflect on what we’re doing and how we and the rest of the Cabinet Office fit together.
For the past year we’ve been working closely with Liam Maxwell and the IT Reform Group within Cabinet Office, and I’m delighted to share the news that over the coming weeks they will be merging with us here in GDS. As part of the merger, Liam will be taking on an important new role as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for HM Government.
The CTO role
In GDS, we have created a network of digital leaders. These are senior operational leaders in their departments, able to identify and drive through the creation of new digital services. These operational leaders (often the Chief Operational Officer, or COO) need the support that a CTO can provide so they understand the technologies required to achieve the change we need across the government’s digital estate.
Each department already has its own CTO or someone very close to that role. Together with the COO they form a powerful combination to achieve our transition to Digital by Default. Liam will lead the CTO council and CTO executive in government, providing the effective communication as well as the technical and business vision that operational leaders need for digital transformation.
Better technology in government
As Liam said when he visited GDS last week, the future of technology in government is not IT, it’s digital. That’s why the IT Reform Group will now become part of GDS, bringing with them their impressive track record;
. saving close to £600m by working with departments to disaggregate black box contracts and realign technology programmes around user need
. the Open Standards Policy demonstrated a commitment to Open Standards creating a level playing field for Open Source and open, competitive markets for tech in government
. using effective, dynamic procurement frameworks like the Cloudstore, which have, for example, seen SMEs quote £50k for what a System Integrator has quoted £4m.
The digital future
The digital future for government is laid out in the Government Digital Strategy. Each department is about to publish its own digital strategy, forming the roadmap for service transformation over the next year. This will create a new generation of digital public services where our ambition for Digital by Default will be realised: digital services so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will choose to do so.
By merging we’re creating an organisation with a user centric, rigorous approach to technology design and deployment in government. We’re reducing complexity, vendor lock-in and substantially lowering the cost per transaction of public services.
I look forward to working even more closely with Liam and his team.