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Government Digital Services absorbs DWP Academy, gets new home – and says it’s about much more than ‘digital’ now

Posted 19 September 2016 by Gary Flood

'Computer Repair' by Hoam al-Ani on Flickr The Government Digital Service (GDS) is getting new staff, a new home – and, intriguingly, something of a wider new mission, too.

Given speculation that the service was struggling to be understood by the Tories since they came into full government last year, that’s something of a massive vote of confidence in the unit.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer shared the news on his first official visit to the GDS offices, where he announced that the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Digital Academy Service is to become part of the unit.

That signifies that GDS has “a real national presence for the very first time”, he pointed out, building capability right across government.

The Minister also said that the government’s Digital Transformation Strategy is also going to be rebooted to better align with this “new and larger remit of GDS”, as part of Whitehall’s gearing up to deal with both Brexit and the other challenges the country faces.

Newly appointed Director General of GDS, ex-DWP IT leader Kevin Cunnington, joined the Minister to affirm that, “More and more we are going to make the work from GDS about transformation, not just digital.”

Cunnington also committed to delivering, before year end, an “updated and complete” Digital Transformation Strategy.

Helping him get there will be the expanded GDS, which will be relocating to a new Digital HQ and digital hub in the heart of Aldgate before the summer of 2017.