The chief operating officer at the Government Digital Service, Alex Holmes, has today (3 April) announced that he is joining the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as deputy director of cyber security.
Holmes’ appointment has taken place with immediate effect, and GDS is expected to recruit for his replacement in due course. It is understood that someone else from within the service will fill the position on a temporary basis.
Announcing his move on Twitter, Holmes said he was excited about the role, which he said was to help make “the UK the safest place to be and do business online”.
Excited to announce I've joined @DCMS as Deputy Director Cyber Security, helping making the UK the safest place to be and do business online
— Alex Holmes (@alexholmes24) April 3, 2017
Current and former digital government workers, including his former boss Mike Bracken, who led GDS until 2014, and former Home Office chief digital officer Norm Driskell, congratulated Holmes on the role.
@alexholmes24 @DCMS Congrats, great move - well done :)
— Norm Driskell (@n0rm) April 3, 2017
Holmes, who has been in the GDS role since September 2015, has been a civil servant for more than a decade, with early roles as a press officer and policy advisor at the Treasury.
After this, he moved to the spending controls team at the Cabinet Office in 2010 and became deputy director of GDS in 2012 before his role changed to chief operating officer.
In an interview with PublicTechnology last year, Holmes said that GDS was “trying to move away from the arrogance” it had in its early years - although he emphasised that there was still a role for GDS in pushing departments to collaborate.
DCMS last year created a new position of director general for digital and media in a bid to boost the UK’s digital economy, and appointed the former British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, to the role.
DCMS had not responded to a request for comment by the time this article was published.