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CDDO will assess delivery of government digital projects

Government Digital Service boss Tom Read and the government’s Central Digital and Data Office executive director Joanna Davinson reveal next steps for digital, data and technology in government

The government’s newly launched Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) aims to get to the “heart” of Whitehall’s digital transformation, according to its executive director Joanna Davinson.

In a blog post, Davinson and Government Digital Service (GDS) boss Tom Read shared their plans for ensuring digital is at the centre of the government’s priorities.

They said there are two “distinct challenges and opportunities” to support. The first is leading the cross-government community of digital, data and technology (DDaT) professionals “and putting the strategy, standards and assurance mechanisms in place to deliver transformation at scale”.

The second is to build, support and iterate “digital products, platforms and services that can be built once and used across government”.

“Monitoring and assessing the health of the delivery of the government’s major digital and data programmes will be fundamental to CDDO, as will tackling big problems like how we engineer for availability, resilience and interoperability, [and] how we embed agile ways of working across departments supported by digital and technology funding models, sourcing strategies and procurement,” the blog post said.

The government announced the CDDO in January, aiming to establish it as a strategic centre for DDaT across government.

Read was appointed as GDS chief executive at the same time, following a recruitment process that began in October 2020 ahead of the departure of interim director general Alison Pritchard.

In the blog post, Read and Davinson said GDS was stepping into “its new role as the centre of the government’s digital transformation of products, platforms and services”.

“The emerging strategy, alongside a clear mandate to address the challenges the government faces, is to deliver the next stage of modernisation by developing our digital products and infrastructure,” they wrote.

“Over the upcoming months, both GDS and CDDO are moving forward with the next phase of digital delivery and transformation. This is essential to the modernisation and reform of government and you’ll be hearing more from both of us on what that looks like in practice.”

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, GDS is looking to recruit a director for its sign-on and identity assurance programme.

The search for a leader for the project is part of the government’s efforts around digital identity to reduce costs and fraud. The director will lead a team of around 200 staff to deliver the unification of five major digital identity systems and numerous authentication services into a single platform.

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