08 Apr 2021

Ambition and next steps for DDaT in government

Joanna Davinson - Executive Director, CDDO and Tom Read – CEO, GDS provide an update following their appointments to the senior leadership of the DDaT profession earlier this year

In January of this year the Cabinet Office announced the appointment of three senior Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) leaders.

Paul Willmott is Chair of the new Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) for the Government which was launched back in February as the new strategic centre for Digital, Data and Technology for the Government. Joanna Davinson was appointed as the Executive Director of CDDO heading up the government’s 18,000 strong DDaT profession, and Tom Read is now Chief Executive Officer of Government Digital Service (GDS), shaping the strategy and assuring delivery for DDaT in government.

This week, Joanna and Tom provided an update in light of their new roles and outlined what the next steps are. In speaking to their teams, other government departments and important stakeholders, they have identified considerable ambitions for digital products, platforms and services, and for the government DDaT function. COVID-19 emphasised the importance of digital and the need for it to be front and centre of government’s priorities and presented an opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation of public services across government.

The two main challenges they’re keen to address in their new roles are:

  • Leading the cross-government community of DDaT professionals and putting the strategy, standards and assurance mechanism in place to deliver transformation at scale;
  • and building, supporting and iterating digital products, platforms and services that can be built once and applied across government.

The next step for DDaT in government is the Central Digital and Data Office leading the function. The CDDO will:

  • Set the strategy for DDaT in collaboration with other government leaders, with ambitious goals that will get to the heart of digital transformation,
  • Improve user access and harness the power of data - allowing government to strengthen their collective leadership
  • Monitor and assess the health of major digital programmes

In the meantime, the Government Digital Service is stepping into its new role as the centre of the government’s digital transformation of products, platforms and services. The strategy, alongside a clear mandate focused on addressing the challenges the government faces, will set out to deliver the next stage of modernisation in developing digital products and infrastructure.

Both GDS and CDDO are paving the way for the next phase of digital delivery and transformation, this includes building on a small pilot to create a GOV.UK Account, continuing work on digital identity to create a personalised, seamless and intuitive online services and building on the success of GOV.UK Notify and GOV.UK Pay to identify common challenges that departments face.

We look forward to hearing more from Joanna and Tom in the coming months on what all of this looks like in practice.