DfE bags GDS co-founder as new chief digital officer

Former head of delivery and innovation at the Government Digital Service to take up new role next month

By Rebecca Hill

26 Jan 2017

Mark O'Neill is to join the Department for Education as chief digital officer - Photo credit: PA

Mark O’Neill, one of the founders of the Government Digital Service, has been appointed chief digital officer at the Department for Education.

O’Neill, who was head of delivery and innovation at GDS between May 2011 and November 2015, will take up his new role next month.

At GDS, O’Neill was responsible for delivering the Individual Electoral Registration Service for the UK in 2014 and the UK’s ePetition system in 2011, and he has also worked on service design programmes for the criminal justice system and on trade, security and duty at the border.

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O’Neill’s profile said he had recently been focusing on developing new digital services for grants funding and apprenticeships, which he indicated he would be taking through into his new role.

Announcing the news of his move on Twitter this week, O’Neill said he was “looking forward to continuing the development of apprenticeships and skills more generally” at the DfE.

The news was met with widespread congratulations from current and former digital civil servants, including former GDS boss Stephen Foreshew-Cain and departing chief technology officer Andy Beale.

@marxculture @educationgovuk great news - congratulations

— Andy Beale (@andyjamesbeale) January 23, 2017

The DfE had not responded to a request for confirmation and further details of the appointment at the time this article went to press.

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