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Caroline Nokes takes on digital government responsibility post-election

Cabinet Office parliamentary under secretary will take on ministerial responsibility for GDS while Damian Green will “retain oversight”

Caroline Nokes has become the latest minister in charge of the Government Digital Service (GDS) as part of the post-election reshuffle.

Nokes, who was appointed parliamentary under secretary at the Cabinet Office earlier this month, will lead the digital agenda across Whitehall, including the government’s ambitious transformation strategy.

Commenting on her new appointment, Nokes said the UK government is one of the most digitally advanced in the world and she is “excited to be playing a part in driving forward development in this area”.

“It is vital that government continues to encourage more people to go online, so they can access the guidance and services they need – as well as reducing the cost of delivering public services. [GDS] plays a leading role in making that happen,” said Nokes.

The general election led to former Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer losing his Ipswich seat and being replaced as minister by Damian Green. 

However, Green was also appointed first secretary of state, a role that gives him seniority over other ministers and effectively makes him deputy prime minister.

As Computer Weekly reported earlier this month, Green is likely to focus on his role as first secretary, negotiating a soft Brexit and access to the single market, which led to questions about who would lead the digital agenda.

However, Green said that although Nokes will take ministerial responsibility for digital government, he will “retain oversight of developments”.

The implementation of the government’s ambitious transformation strategy is being led by GDS, and its director general, Kevin Cunnington, said he is looking forward to working with Nokes to deliver on the “ambitious agenda”.

“This will see us harness digital technology to build world-class platforms and services that will transform the relationship between citizen and state,” said Cunnington.

Nokes, who is MP for Romsey and Southampton North, previously held the role of parliamentary under secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions. According to her parliamentary biography, her political interests are sports, agriculture and the enviromnment. She is also a former CEO of the National Pony Society. 

Before the general election, the Institute for Government called on the new government to create a digital minister role to ensure the transformation strategy and the digital agenda would not fall behind.

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