GDS hunts for COO as incumbent Pritchard takes role leading Brexit work

Written by Sam Trendall on 24 April 2018 in News
News

Existing operations chief to switch to post heading up organisation’s Brexit team

GDS headquarters Photo credit: Derwent London

The Government Digital Service is recruiting for a new chief operating officer, with incumbent Alison Pritchard moving to a role leading the organisation’s Brexit work.

Former Defra director Pritchard joined as operations chief in August. Since shortly after her arrival, it is understood that, alongside her COO duties, she has also led GDS’s newly formed EU Exit team.

A post as leader of this team was advertised by GDS in January. But, due to the increasing volume and importance of the organisation’s Brexit-related work, Pritchard has now taken on the role full time. GDS is, consequently, recruiting for someone to replace her as COO.


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"GDS is already engaged with departments across government on EU exit-related digital programmes, drawing from existing GDS resource,” said a GDS spokesperson. “Alison will lead on the coordination of this work to ensure GDS can continue to prepare for our departure from the EU, working in close association with other functions at the centre of government."

The newly vacant COO role comes with a salary of about £130,00 a year, and a remit to manage the organisation’s annual budget of £128m. The successful candidate will directly line-manage about 60 people in finance, governance, delivery, estates, and HR roles, as well as having oversight of the wider 860-strong GDS workforce. The operations chief will report into director general Kevin Cunnington.

“The chief operating officer will lead on planning, directing, and coordinating the operation of GDS on behalf of the director general to ensure and improve organisational performance, productivity, and efficiency through the provision of effective methods and strategies,” GDS said. “The post holder will be a member of the GDS leadership team and expected to role model and encourage excellent leadership behaviours across GDS focussing on staff engagement through change.”

Applications are open until 14 May, with a shortlist due to be drawn up by about mid-June. Individual leadership assessments and staff-engagement exercises will take place during the three-week period beginning on 18 June, with final interviews scheduled for 9 July. GDS hopes that the successful candidate will start work by October.

The role will be based at GDS headquarters in east London.

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

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