GDS Verify chief Harrison to move back to DWP – but Cunnington to stay
Director of service design and assurance leaving post but – contrary to media reports – Kevin Cunnington understood to be remaining in place
GDS HQ Photo credit: Derwent London
The Government Digital Service’s director of service design and assurance Nic Harrison is to leave his post and return to a role at the Department for Work and Pensions, PublicTechnology has learned.
Harrison, whose major responsibility has been overseeing the development and implementation of the GOV.UK Verify identity assurance product, has been with GDS for two years. Prior to which, he worked in digital and cloud roles at the DWP between January 2014 and August 2016.
It is understood he will shortly be leaving GDS to rejoin his former employer, although it is not yet known in what capacity.
Harrison is the second senior-management figure heading for the GDS exit door in the space of a month, following the news that GOV.UK leader Neil Williams is to take a post at Croydon Council.
- New GDS unit formed to deliver government innovation strategy
- Cabinet Office promises ‘deep transformation’ in long-awaited digital vision
- Dismantling GDS would be a "black day", says Francis Maude, as UK tops digital rankings
Rumours have also circulated about the future of director general Kevin Cunnington, with media reports claiming Cunnington will depart at the close of his contract this summer – but a statement from the Cabinet Office said the head of GDS since 2016 would remain in place.
“The reports regarding Kevin stepping down from GDS are not true,” the spokesperson said. “He has successfully set GDS on a new direction focusing on transformation, collaboration and innovation. This has led to the recent publication of the technology innovation survey, launch of the GovTech Catalyst Programme and the Global Digital Marketplace. Kevin is as committed and passionate as ever about GDS and its future.”
Although GDS is still overseeing the rollout of Verify, responsibility for policymaking in the area of digital identity – including Verify and other tools – was recently moved to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Although initial uptake lagged expectations, some 2.7 million people are now signed up to use Verify, with about 40,000 new users registering each week. Earlier this year GDS sought to bring in external developers to help meet its goals for increasing adoption of Verify, which can be used to access 18 government services.
The Cabinet Office added that Harrison would return the DWP in line with his contract. “We would like to thank him for his contribution to GDS over the last couple of years, and look forward to collaborating with him in his new role at DWP. We will announce his replacement in due course."
Department signs ‘digital charter’ with 15 companies
Department has “no real understanding” of how well £12bn of pump-priming cash is being used, MPs...
Appointment comes more than a year after communities department advertised for a chief...
Regulator publishes Openness by Design three-year plan
BT takes a look at the shifting nature of cyber threats, and how organisations can detect and...
Cornerstone provide advice on effective approaches for learning management.
Everyone loves a good spreadsheet. But if you have more than a few hundred employees,...
Given the rhetoric surrounding the shift to the modern workplace and the importance of centring...