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Government Digital Service CTO To Step Down In New Year

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Andy Beale is the latest high-profile figure to leave the embattled service

Andy Beale, interim chief technology officer of the Government Digital Service (GDS), is to leave his post in the new year, the Cabinet Office has confirmed.

Beale will continue to work with GDS director general Kevin Cunnington on a new strategy and operating model for the service that is expected to be released by December.

New strategy

Evil parliament (c) pisaphotography, Shutterstock 2014

He is to leave in January at the end of a six-month contract agreed in April. The Cabinet Office didn’t indicate any plans for the future of the role or a possible successor for Beale.

“Kevin will work with the rest of the team and across government to decide how to replace Andy’s expertise and deliver the GDS mission to support, enable and assure all transformation work across government,” the Cabinet Office stated.

Beale was tasked with bringing together separate GDS teams working on policy and standards, architecture, service assurance and strategic change into a Common Technology Services team.

He is the latest high-profile leader to depart from the service in the three months since former GDS lead Stephen Foreshew-Cain stepped down in August, succeeded by Cunnington in the newly created role of director general.

Former identity assurance programme director Janet Hughes left shortly afterward, followed by HMRC chief digital officer Mark Dearnley and director of data Paul Maltby.

The three were among those mentioned by Foreshew-Cain at the time of his departure as forming the “strong leadership team” he was leaving in place, the others being Alex Holmes, Wendy Coello, Chris Ferguson, Iain Patterson, Olivia Neal and Susana Burlevy.

Less ‘adversarial’ approach

Cunnington has downplayed suggestions GDS might be broken up, but has said he is making changes in the way the service operates, including taking a less “adversarial” approach to working with other government bodies.

A recent report by the National Audit Office (NAO) found that a major IT project at Defra had been impeded by “inappropriate behaviour” by senior figures at GDS and Defra’s Rural Payments Agency (RPA), but added relations had recently improved after GDS stopped working on the project.

The NAO said it is planning to conduct a review of GDS over such “senior management failures”.

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