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Common Technology Services Head Iain Patterson Quits GDS

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

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Patterson, who worked to help government bodies exit onerous IT contracts, is the latest to leave the Government Digital Service

Iain Patterson, director of Common Technology Services (CTS) at the Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service (GDS) is to leave the organisation in its latest high-profile departure.

Patterson rejoined GDS in early 2016, some 18 months ago, after being seconded to the DVLA as its chief technology officer in 2013. His time at GDS was rumoured to be coming to an end but hadn’t previousy been formally confirmed.

Better IT for civil servants

“We can confirm that Iain Patterson is leaving GDS,” the Cabinet Office said in a statement. “We would like to thank him for his valued contribution and wish him success in the future.”

gdsPatterson described his role as ensuring government technology purchases were made on technological rather than commercial grounds.

In June of last year his department built a cross-government IT contract dashboard to help departments be more transparent and make better-informed IT purchasing decisions.

CTS has also been working to help government bodies exit some £4.8 billion of contracts, arguing the ongoing deals made it difficult to reuse technologies across departments.

“In most cases, this technology can be built or purchased once and then used many times across multiple departments,” he wrote in a blog post earlier this year. “Unfortunately, the main barrier that prevents departments from investing in these solutions is the contract landscape.”

Last month it was reported the government is set to automatically renew hundreds of contracts with the private sector, including large IT or business process outsourcing deals, due to a capacity shortage caused by the diversion of resources to handle Britain’s exit from the European Union and by austerity measures introduced since the financial crisis.

Future plans

Several senior IT and digital positions are currently vacant in Whitehall, including the Home Office’s chief digital, data and technology officer and HMRC’s chief digital and information officer.

It’s possible Patterson might be headed for such a role or for a position in the private sector, but his plans and reasons for leaving aren’t known.

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