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Another senior GDS leader bites the dust

Deputy chief technology officer Magnus Falk is the latest senior leader to leave GDS after chief Mike Bracken announced his departure

The government’s deputy chief technology officer (CTO) Magnus Falk has become the latest in a line of people to leave the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Falk was appointed deputy CTO in August 2014 as part of the GDS recruitment drive to get high-profile technology experts to join government.

However, a Cabinet Office spokesperson confirmed to Computer Weekly that Falk is leaving his role in government. 

"Magnus joined GDS on a fixed term assignment to work with Government's Technology Leaders and now he has decided it is the right time to leave," a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.

The GDS recently closed its recruitment process for a director to lead the Common Technology Services (CTS) programme – a recruitment process that prompted Falk to leave, Computer Weekly understands. Falk was on a fixed-term contract with GDS and decided not to apply for the permanent position.

Deputy director of government technology Andy Beale will be running CTS until a director is appointed.

The new director of CTS will report to Liam Maxwell and was advertised with a salary of up to £160,000.

“CTS will enable the provision of consistent, high-quality workplace IT for civil servants across government. This will deliver benefits through better, more secure IT, more joined-up working across government and the ability to implement changes faster and at a lower cost compared with today,” the job advertisement said.

When GDS chief Mike Bracken announced he was leaving on 3 August 2015, he was followed out the door by four other senior GDS leaders, which raised questions about the future of GDS. Under new leadership, now headed up by executive director Stephen Foreshew-Cain, the GDS is moving into a new phase.

Computer Weekly reported on 25 September 2015 that GDS had become a “calmer place” again after the initial surprise of Bracken and several other senior managers leaving the service. However, it seems the tidal wave of resignations is not over yet.

In September 2015, Beale said GDS is “going to be in a different mode” and rather than “do everything” in the centre, it will support individual departments to do their own work.

“The centre’s role and GDS’s role is to get behind departments. We need to offer tooling and support and continue to offer a route to skills. We are going to be turning the volume down in the centre,” he said.

The article has been updated to reflect the comment from the Cabinet Office. 

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