Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced a shake-up of the ministers responsible for the UK’s digital policies.
One of the most noticeable changes is the replacement of Ed Vaizey, who had been the minister responsible for communications since 2010 and for the digital economy since July 2014, by Matthew Hancock.
Hancock, previously the Cabinet Office minister in charge of digital government, takes over from Vaizey who has returned to the back benches.
The move has been supported by the tech sector as Hancock has been a vocal supporter of digital transformation of government and the potential benefits it can bring. He will initially take on the job of rolling out the government’s cross-department digital economy strategy, which was been delayed by the EU referendum and alleged wrangling between Whitehall departments. The digital economy bill will also fall under his remit.
Hancock’s former Cabinet Office minister role has been handed to Ben Gummer, the previous parliamentary under-secretary of state for quality at the Department of Health. Gummer takes over responsibility for the Government Digital Service (GDS), and for the roll-out of GDS’s own strategy.
George Freeman, formerly parliamentary under-secretary of state for life sciences, has moved to a newly created role as chair of the PM’s policy board. No replacement has yet been announced for Freeman’s former role. The controversial Care.data project fell under Freeman’s remit.
Baroness Joanna Shields continues as minister for internet safety and security and Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe keeps her job as minister for intellectual property in the all-new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Report found that GDS has successfully reshaped government’s approach to technology and transformation, but there remains a risk it is trying to cover too broad a remit with unclear accountabilities
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