GDS revolving door keeps spinning

Since the Government Digital Service (GDS) was created in 2011, it has been responsible for leading the digital transformation of government, making public services “digital by default” and easier to use.

The GDS designed, built and runs GOV.UK, which is the go-to place for government information and services.

In August, a number of staff departures and new appointments were revealed within the GDS team, leaving a question mark over what direction the service will take next. Below we’ve taken a quick look at the changes that have occurred so far:

On August 3rd, Mike Bracken made the surprise announcement that he would be leaving Whitehall for the Co-op Group in September 2015.

He said in a blog post: “At the end of last week I went to see my boss, John Manzoni to tell him I’m leaving government. I wanted to take a moment here to thank everyone for the tremendous help I’ve been given in the last five years”.

Following Bracken’s shock move, the following GDS depatures were announced:

  • Head of user research Leisa Reichelt
  • Deputy director Tom Loosemore
  • Director of strategy Russell Davies
  • Design director Ben Terrett
  • Transformation director Michael Beaven

The government has appointed Stephen Foreshew-Cain as the new head of the Government Digital Service (GDS). In a GDS blog post, he said of his new role:

I’ve been running GDS for a year, now I’m stepping up to lead it.

But I’m not doing that alone.

Liam Maxwell continues as our Chief Technology Officer, leading our Government Technology Group. Chris Ferguson, previously GOV.UK Verify Programme Director, is stepping up to lead our GDS Digital group as we continue to deliver and operate digital services for government (such as GOV.UK and Performance Platform).

“Felicity Singleton, one of the original authors of the Government Digital Strategy and current Programme Director of ‘Government as a Platform’, will lead on Digital Policy and Departmental Engagement aligning us with the needs of departmental plans. Wendy Coello, currently leading our Digital Engagement teams, will increase the scope of her portfolio to include Digital Design.”


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