GDS chief moves to new body 'promoting UK government services to the world'

Cunnington says new role is a "fantastic opportunity to build on our achievements at GDS"

Photo: GDS

Kevin Cunnington will leave the Government Digital Service to head up a new body tasked with promoting the work of UK government services internationally.

Cunnington, who has been director general at GDS since 2016, will be the inaugural director general of the International Government Service, the Cabinet Office has announced.

In his new role, Cunnington will be responsible for “promoting the work of UK government services, including the digital sector, across the world”, the Cabinet Office and GDS said in a joint statement this afternoon. 


In the sparse announcement, Cunnington, who also leads the government's digital, data and technology function, said he saw his new role at the previously-unannounced body as a “fantastic opportunity to build on our achievements at GDS”.

“I’m looking forward to promoting the work of the UK government and exploring how the UK can provide government-to-government services, including digital, on a global stage,” he said.

Announcing the appointment, civil service chief executive John Manzoni said Cunnington was “well-qualified” to lead the IGS.

“Under his leadership, GDS has matured into an established function, responsible for accelerating digital transformation right across government and the wider public sector,” Manzoni said.

“The civil service now has more technical capability than ever before, while the UK is consistently ranked among the world’s most digitally enabled governments.”

Under Cunnington’s tenure, GDS has overseen scrutiny of government technology spending that the Cabinet Office said had helped “realise more than £1bn of benefits”.

Before joining GDS, Cunnington was director general of the Business Transformation Group at the Department for Work and Pensions, after a career in the private sector – most recently as global head of online for Vodafone Group.

He has also overseen the introduction of machine-learning and speech-recognition technologies to government services, and a major boost in traffic to the GOV.UK website.

Alison Pritchard, GDS’s director for EU exit and transformation, will take act as interim director general while the agency recruits Cunnington’s successor.

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