Government statement confirms that Department for Digital and Cabinet Office are talking about changes on responsibility for data issues
Expectations are rising that the data policy and governance team in the Government Digital Service (GDS) is set to move to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
While neither confirming nor denying the plan, the Cabinet Office – parent department of GDS – has confirmed the two are looking at the possibilities for a change.
A spokesperson said: “The Cabinet Office and DCMS have been looking at how to bring together and further strengthen their work on the use and management of data across government. An announcement will follow in due course."
So far there has been no indication of reasons or a timescale for the change, but it does follow persistent talk that Matt Hancock, previously a Cabinet Office minister and now Secretary of State for Digital, Culture and Media, has wanted to draw GDS, or at least some of its functions, into his new department.
He has taken a high profile in pushing the development of the digital economy in the UK, and DCMS has taken a leading role in the policy and governance of data in the UK.
Data protection role
In September 2015, before Hancock arrived, it took on responsibility for data protection and the Information Commissioner’s Office, and it has recently begun to work on the issue of data portability. Last month it published the Digital Charter, which includes elements on the protection and ethical use of personal data.
While the work on data policy and governance has a strong relevance to the broader brief of DCMS, the move would produce some controversy. GDS’s work on data is focused very much on its role in the public sector, and the Cabinet Office is the department with the responsibility for the business of government and public service delivery.
By Clay Gilliland, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons