GDS chief Kevin Cunnington on digital transformation, 2017 – and 24 bottles of beer

Written by Civil Service World on 14 December 2016 in Interview
Interview

With the end of 2016 fast approaching, we asked the UK's top officials to look back on the year, outline their goals for 2017 – and shed some light on their festive favourites. Kevin Cunnington, director general of the Government Digital Service, takes part in our annual perm secs round-up...

What was your highlight of 2016?
The highlight of the year was receiving the Business in the Community award for work on race equality that we undertook at the Department for Work & Pensions. BITC is the predominant UK organisation for supporting race equality in the workplace. The award was the culmination of many years of work by many individuals in DWP and I was delighted to see all of their efforts recognised in this way.

What has been the most significant change in your department this year?
The most significant change for me personally has been my move from DWP to GDS. A new strategy is due out before Christmas which will set out our priorities for digital and a really ambitious transformation agenda for government.

What will be the biggest challenge of 2017 – and how are you preparing to meet it?
Next year is all about working with departments to deliver the Government Transformation Strategy. Early in the new year the senior GDS team and l will be co-hosting, with departments, a series of regional events talking to colleagues about how we achieve our goals to transform the relationship between citizen and state. The GDS priorities will be to make Verify a success, help departments access and use other departments’ data better and create large scale digital, data and technology capability within the civil service.

What was the best Christmas present that you’ve ever given or received?
I bought my wife a novel advent calendar from Clarins which she loves and she in turn bought an advent calendar from the Adnams Brewery in Suffolk. This advent calendar has a different bottle of beer for every day leading up to Christmas.

More: Perm secs round-up 2016 – Britain's top civil servants review the year and look ahead to 2017

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