MoJ digital services manager moves on to private sector role

MoJ digital services manager Gavin Bell shares insight into government’s digital challenges as he steps down from role for private sector post

By Sarah Aston

18 Sep 2015

Gavin Bell is to step down as digital service manager for criminal justice at the Ministry of Justice.

Bell – who announced his decision in a blog – will take a new post as client director at digital consultancy EY-Seren.

Joining the department in February 2013, Bell has worked on a number of digital projects including the MoJ’s prison visit booking system; the 'Common Platform', which sought to reduce duplication of services and performance management; and led the transformation of data exchange in the criminal justice system.

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Using his blog to highlight some of the challenges to transforming digital services, Bell said legislative changes and long-term contracts had been among some of the biggest barriers to changing the culture "to one which is capable of brisk change”.

Bell said that while he felt individual government agencies still tended to operate in isolation, he believed the "edges are starting to soften".

Of his time in government, Bell said he had seen the department’s digital capabilities grow significantly, but acknowledged the MoJ had a way to go.

He added: “I’ve met some great and fascinating people, plus had some fun, too. It’s been a fascinating two and a half years or so, we grew from about ten people and peaked at nearly 200 people.

"[I’ve] learnt a huge amount about government and built some genuinely useful products for the UK public. We’ve changed how the ministry approaches change, but there remains a lot to be done.”

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