The government has announced that it has appointed Paul Maltby as director of data in the Cabinet Office.
Maltby takes on the role as Mike Bracken leaves the civil service – stepping down from his current dual role of government chief data officer and director of digital.
Maltby moves from his current role as director of open data and government innovation at the Cabinet Office, where he has served since 2013.
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In a blog post, Stephen Foreshew-Cain – who has replaced Bracken at the helm of the Government Digital Service (GDS) – said: “Paul and his small team are busy planning the next steps. Getting data right is a fundamental part of the next phase of digital reform, and a vital building block for government as a platform. But the potential of data goes even further.”
Maltby worked for a spell as programme director for commissioning and academies at Leicestershire County Council. Prior to that, he worked as director of strategy at the Home Office, and was deputy director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit from 2003 to 2008. Between 2001 and 2003 he worked as head of the public private partnerships team at think tank IPPR.
Listing GDS priorities for the future, Foreshew-Cain said that the unit would do more to communicate its plans for the future, "focus on execution", "move faster" and "continue to work with departments".
While the GDS leader said data should be valued as part of the UK’s national infrastructure and coordinated from the centre, GDS was not, he said "trying to build a data empire”.
“There’s good work being done across government, and we want to support and encourage it,” Foreshew-Cain added. “Even as policy, governance and controls remain at the centre, it’s important that the management of data should remain with departments.”
Last week Cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood insisted that talk of an argument over the future of GDS – following the departure or Bracken and ahead of November's government-wide Spending Review – was "over-stated".
“Mike’s great skill was as an insurgent in a way," Heywood said. "And he’s done a brilliant job creating a group of people, creating a brilliant brand which has been able to attract real talent from across the world. But he was ready for a new challenge and I think we’re ready to move GDS onto a different phase in its own work.”