GDS ‘at the very heart’ of Whitehall Brexit work, says Manzoni

Written by Sam Trendall on 7 March 2018 in News
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Civil service chief executive John Manzoni has praised the Government Digital Service for having “risen to the challenge” of delivering the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Civil service chief executive John Manzoni has praised the Government Digital Service for having “risen to the challenge” of delivering the UK’s exit from the European Union.

To mark the first anniversary of the publication of the Government Transformation Strategy, Manzoni recently visited GDS headquarters in east London (pictured above). In a blog post published following his trip, the civil service chief – who also serves as permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office – talked up the achievements of GDS in recent years, and stressed the crucial role it will play as Whitehall works to deliver Brexit.

“A year ago, we set out our vision for transforming the relationship between citizens and the state – from the smallest transaction right up to major reform: producing 21st-century solutions that make a real difference to the lives of the people we serve,” he said. “This is even more important given the EU exit implementation challenges that we now face. To do this well, we will need to adapt how we operate, right across the government." 


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He added: “And with most of the 150 priority EU-exit projects requiring technical expertise or tools, GDS is at the very heart of efforts across government to accelerate and assure this delivery.”

GDS recently created a dedicated central unit to oversee its Brexit-related work. The organisation recruited for a head of EU exit to lead a team of new recruits and existing staff. 

Manzoni saluted GDS for working on such big-ticket projects while also “transforming government as it goes”. He pointed to the fact that 7,500 civil servants have so far received training from the GDS Academy, and also praised the organisation’s Government as a Platform work on such tools as Notify and Verify, as well as the GovWifi programme.

“GDS has taken forward legislation to help make it easier to share data sets within government, as well as driving a series of pilot data analytics projects with departments to prove what is possible,” Manzoni said.

“As always, there is more to do – and I know the teams are also working hard to get nearly 100 services online by 2020 and to launch a new and exciting set of programmes and activities for the GovTech fund. And much, much more!”

He added: “To deliver EU exit, GDS has risen to the challenge. What I saw [when I visited] was an organisation buzzing with ideas, not afraid to break the mould, and working hard to deliver a real difference to the way government works.”

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology, where a version of this story first appeared.

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