Interim GDS head sees Digital Identity as key organisational priority

Pritchard says Brexit, analytics and innovation are also priorities, in a GDS blog post that sets up expectations for a more than usually exciting Sprint this month

Posted 3 September 2019 by

Alison Pritchard, the new interim head of the Government Digital Service (GDS), has set out what she sees as her organisation’s immediate priorities in a new post on GOV.UK – though ultimately, her post is really a big tease for more concrete revelations of strategy at the upcoming Sprint19 (on September 19th).

These are, she states, Brexit, data analytics, innovation – and Digital Identity, though it seems her thoughts currently lie rather more with exiting the EU than Verify:

‘Refuse’ by Olivier on Flickr

“I have already stated my aims during this time are to accelerate momentum on our business right now, including all the essential work on EU Exit.

“It’s a huge part of our current effort, and it’s exhilarating to be at the very heart of preparations and support.

“We also need to build our future, setting the boldest goals for digital advancement across government, a big push on data analytics, Digital Identity and embedding of innovation. To do that, we need the right resource, capability, powers and influence.”

It has to be said, though, that the bulk of her post is personal CV stuff – it is, after all, headlined A public service odyssey, detailing her first experience of “delivering more for less and meeting user needs long before I joined any government department” – running the garden bar at the family pub at the age of 8 (“soft drinks and nibbles only, I stress”)!

More seriously, Pritchard details her solid work record as a technical professional at the heart of Whitehall, starting as a systems analyst and systems designer at the MoD and her time outside the public sector, including as a Head of Operations for an IT engineering business.

So while the post is light on specifics, it does certainly convey her enthusiasm for taking on one of the hottest IT seats in central government:

“I was out sailing in the middle of the ocean, somewhere between Darwin and Christmas Island, when I received an email that read something along the lines of ‘Would you like to lead GDS for a period of time?’

“My response was immediate and resounding.

“Absolutely yes.”