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New department to take on innovation in public services


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak
Image source: Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced the creation of a new government department with responsibilities including innovation in public services.

It is part of a major reorganisation of central government that involves plans to set up four new departments, and raises questions about the future responsibility for digital and data initiatives across government.

According to Sunak’s announcement, a dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) - with Michelle Donelan as chief minister - “will drive the innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new and better paid jobs and grow the economy”.

It added that there will be a focus on turning scientific and technical innovations into practical solutions.

Possible change

The reference to public services suggests there could be a change from the Cabinet Office having responsibility for digital and data in central government through the Central Digital and Data Office and the Government Digital Service.

UKAuthority has asked the Cabinet Office to clarify the plans.

Other changes announced by Sunak include the creation of a Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, a combined Department for Business and Trade, and a refocusing of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, apparently removing its digital responsibility to the new DSIT.

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