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GDS chief outlines near term priorities

02/09/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

Interim Government Digital Service (GDS) chief Alison Pritchard has outlined data analytics, digital identity, innovation and Brexit as the priorities for her time in the position.

Alison Pritchard

She has summed up the intent in a blogpost that indicates issues that are already high on the GDS agenda will remain so.

Pritchard emphasises the work on EU exit, reflecting her previous position as director for the relevant work at GDS, saying it is “a huge part of the current effort”.

She adds: “We also need to build our future, setting the boldest goals for digital advancement across government, a big push on data analytics, digital identity and embedding of innovation. To do that, we need the right resource, capability, powers and influence. 

“And I have a duty to help land permanent leadership of GDS in a way that we don’t miss a beat and so we can springboard into the future state for digital government.”

Pritchard stepped into the interim role – the duration of which is currently unsettled – last month after her predecessor Kevin Cunnington moved on to take up the role of director general of the new International Government Service.

Building capabilities

GDS is working on a number of projects related to building the relevant digital capabilities across government for EU exit, having gone to market for support back in May.

The reference to digital identity indicates that GDS, which is within the Cabinet Office is still aiming to take a lead role, despite the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport having launched a consultation on the issue.

In recent days there were reports of further problems for the GDS GOV.UK Verify programme for online identity assurance, with the withdrawal of three of the five organisations acting as identity providers. GDS has refrained from any direct comment on the future of Verify as opposed to its broader work on digital identities.

There is less controversy around the data and innovation issues, with the Cabinet Office having published an Innovation Strategy in June.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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