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Exodus gathers pace at GDS



The exodus of top leaders has gathered pace at the Government Digital Service, with the departure of transformation programme director Michael Beaven.

In a LinkedIn post, published today and headed ‘Time for a change’, Beaven says it has been “amazing working with Mike Bracken and being part of the team that has delivered a new world standard in digital for government.  It has been tough but very rewarding, and now it is time for a new chapter.”

Beaven has been at the GDS since its foundation in 2011, and played a key role in supporting departments to adopt digital services. In his blog, he praised his GDS ‘transformation team’ for their “ground breaking” work, saying: “No one had attempted anything like the breadth of change in government before and it is a testament to the Civil Servants, contractors and companies who worked so hard to pull off the achievements we did.  And, I don’t just mean the GDS folk.  All the people across BIS, Home Office, Justice, Defra, DWP, HMRC, DVLA and Cabinet Office who went out on a bit of a limb and took some personal risk to deliver service simpler, clearer and faster.”

The transformation chief’s departure follows the announcement of a string of others including executive director of digital Mike Bracken, deputy director Tom Loosemore, director of strategy Russell Davies, director of design Ben Terrett, and head of user research Leisa Reichelt. In an interview with Computer Weekly last month, Bracken voiced frustration at the civil service’s inability to work together on digital transformation, and raised concerns about how GDS will fare in the autumn’s crucial comprehensive spending review.

Beaven is joining consultancy firm Methods Digital as head of digital. In his blog, he noted that “Methods embodies much of what we were trying to do in GDS. An SME with tech savvy and the ability to understand the broad range of skills needed to make lasting change happen.”

Pictured: Government Digital Service | licensed under Open Government Licence v3.0

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