Government mulls whether to replace departing national technology advisor

Discussions underway for whether and how Liam Maxwell will be replaced after he leaves civil service in October


By Sam Trendall

13 Aug 2018

The government is considering its options for whether and how to replace the outgoing UK national technology advisor, PublicTechnology, Civil Service World’s sister publication, understands.

Liam Maxwell is confirmed to be departing the civil service in October to take a job at cloud-hosting giant Amazon Web Services.

The move will have been subject to an approval process by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as well as, in all likelihood, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments – a non-departmental body sponsored by the Cabinet Office that rules on very senior civil servants and government ministers taking commercial posts.


Such moves are typically approved subject to conditions; a common imposition is a two-year embargo on lobbying or involvement in any commercial discussions between the government and the person’s new employer. 

Details of any conditions imposed on Maxwell’s acceptance of the Amazon job will be published in due course, but it is now understood that the duties of his new post will not primarily relate to the UK market.

Government sources also claim that the departure adhered to the strict guidelines and processes that apply to all civil servants, with details of the approval process to be released as part of DCMS’s next quarterly transparency update.

It is also understood that discussions are underway in Whitehall about how best to fulfil Maxwell’s duties after he departs in October. He is the first person to fill the role of national technology advisor, a post that was created for him in 2016.

There is no decision yet on whether he will be replaced directly, if his duties will be spread across other roles, or if an entirely new post will be created in his wake.

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