The government legitimises its commitment to open source
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has appointed its first open source lead, with the goal of driving the use of open source platforms and frameworks throughout Whitehall and beyond.
Anna Shipman, who has been at GDS for several years will step into the role, having worked extensively with open source as the development lead for GDS’s open source infrastructure provisioning project vCloud Tools.
Shipman also has experience working with open source projects outside of GDS with her work on government-as-a-platform, the GDS objective to create a range of open and reusable digital components that can be used to create digital services without the need for costly, bespoke systems.
Open source leader
The appointment of an open source lead is an indication by the government of its commitment to the spread of open source, but also should go someway to having a clear leader to solve some of the problems that have put hurdles in the way of government and open source in the past.
Shipman appears to be taking on the role at a good time as well, given other governments are getting behind open source, including the US government which has recently launched Code.gov an online repository for Federal open source code.
Appointing such leaders is positive for GDS but it will need to be sure it can keep hold of Shipman, as over the past year or so several key leaders of GDS have left, notably Mike Bracken, the government’s first chief data officer, left the digital service, and then not long after his replacement Stephen Foreshew-Cain also departed GDS.
A spate of similar departures raised questions about the success and future of GDS, but with digital transformation forming a large part of the government’s technology agenda, it does not look likely that GDS will fall to the wayside any time soon.
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