Bracken reveals reasons for leaving GDS

Mike Bracken, director of the Government Digital Service (GDS), has spoken about his reasons for leaving Whitehall.

In an interview with Computer Weekly , Bracken reveals that his commitment to digital public services is still very much intact. “I’m still completely bought into what we’re trying to achieve,” he said. “My commitment to digital public services hasn’t changed.” However, he added that he is tired from the “stresses and strains” of the job.  

Bracken talked about the need for government to make key changes in order to grow and develop digitally, saying: “If government continues to not look at institutional reform as a necessity to enable better digital services, then it is destined to repeat the failures of the past.”

Upon asking himself whether he wanted to “go around the block again” for another five years of parliament, Bracken’s answer was no. “I asked myself that question and I thought if we can get the model set up and the business plan and business cases and the team to do it, does it need my leadership to take it round that block again? I don’t think it does.

I think it needs my leadership to take it to the spending round and to constantly re-win the argument that we need a digital centre of government – that argument needs to be won again and again.”

Since Bracken announced that he is leaving government, four senior leaders at the GDS have also revealed they are exiting Whitehall.

Head of user research Leisa Reichelt, director of strategy Russell Davies, design director Ben Terrett and deputy director Tom Loosemore have all revealed they are following in Bracken’s footsteps.

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