GDS chief Mike Bracken becomes Gov’s chief data officer

The digital transformer now takes the reins of Whitehall’s open data initiatives

The government has appointed its very first chief data officer, revealing Government Digital Service (GDS) chief Mike Bracken will fill the role.

Bracken, who has pioneered digital transformation in Whitehall at the reins of the GDS, will take on the CDO job in addition to his current duties.

He will be tasked with developing a new Government Data Standard, championing the use of open data and promoting data as a key factor in making decisions.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "I'm delighted to announce that Mike Bracken, who has spearheaded this government's digital revolution, will also become the government's CDO.

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"He is the ideal person to take our already world-leading approach to open data even further, while strengthening data analysis skills in Whitehall."

The GDS chief will now head up public sector open data champions', which currently comprise 16 local authorities across the UK, including those for London, Birmingham and Surrey.

The government has been ranked first in web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web Foundation for Open Data list.

Julian David, CEO of trade body techUK, said the creation of the CDO role is a "vital" way of placing more importance on the topic of open data.

"Bracken will need to strike a balance between open data and inspiring confidence in the general public in how government uses their data," he added. "It's important to remember that this also includes the management of commercial business data, which if not managed correctly could impact businesses and jobs.

Bracken's appointment, announced yesterday, coincided with President Barack Obama revealing the US's first chief digital officer, ex-Google staffer Jason Goldman.

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The president said: "Our mission is to use every single tool available to ensure that all Americans can contribute to and benefit from our American resurgence.

"Goldman brings an energy and coveted expertise as someone who's helped shape the digital age."

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