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Mike Bracken sets up consultancy with ex-GDS colleagues

Ex-GDS head Mike Bracken, along with three former GDS staff, has launched a consultancy to help foreign governments do digital transformation

Mike Bracken, the former head of the Government Digital Service (GDS), has set up a consultancy to help public institutions tackle digital transformation.

Along with four of his colleagues, Bracken left GDS earlier in 2015 and joined the Co-operative Group to help drive its digital transformation.

However, he and the three other ex-GDS colleagues have now set up a consultancy, called public.digital, to help the government and public institutions outside the UK drive digital delivery.

“We founded GDS. We transformed digital delivery for the UK government. Now we’re working outside the UK helping governments, public institutions, transational organisations and political leaders to the same,” the public.digital team said on its website.

Bracken said in an interview with the Global Government Forum that the firm aims to help these organisations drive “a digital approach to delivery of services” and have already been talking to governments in several countries “including the US, Australia, Finland, Sweden and Canada”.

In August 2015, Bracken announced, unexpectedly, that he was leaving his government job to take up a role as chief digital officer at the Co-op, as reported by Computer Weekly.

Shortly after his departure, it became clear that four of the senior leaders at GDS – head of user research Leisa Reichelt, deputy director Tom Loosemore, director of strategy Russell Davies and design director Ben Terrett – were following Bracken in leaving the government.

In his personal blog at the time, Bracken said he intended to continue advising international governments on their digital plans alongside his new role.

"If you’re reading this from a government community anywhere in the world, please be aware that I’m not going away. I will be helping some international governments to engage in digital transformation. I will continue to help colleagues as far afield as Singapore, Australia, Argentina and the US. That movement has sustained me, and I could never leave it," he said.

When Bracken announced he was leaving, rumours were rife that GDS would see a huge cut in its budget and that his government-as-a-platform (GaaP) strategy had been rejected.

However, since then, the government has reiterated its commitment to GaaP and in the recent spending review it became clear that GDS had received a huge increase in its budget, getting £450m over the next four years. 

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