The Cabinet Office has confirmed that Simon Hart has been made minister with oversight of the Government Digital Service (GDS).
He has emerged from the extended reshuffle of ministerial appointments, following Boris Johnson’s emergence as prime minister, with a series of relevant responsibilities in the Cabinet Office.
It includes GDS and the Geospatial Commission, along with cyber and resilience, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, the Government Security Group and the commercial function.
Hart’s most high profile role to date has been chair of the Countryside Alliance, and his experience of dealing with digital issues is apparently limited to having been a member of Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s select committee.
He takes over the digital responsibilities from Oliver Dowden, who is now minister for the Cabinet Office and paymaster general.
Dowden has overseen GDS during a rocky period in which it has come under sustained criticism for the disappointing take-up of its GOV.UK Verify identity assurance platform. However, he did show a firm grasp of the digital brief, which could lay the ground for guidance in Hart finding his feet in the role.
Image from parliament.uk, CC BY 3.0