Oliver Dowden gets GDS brief in cabinet reshuffle

Junior minister replaces Caroline Nokes, taking on responsibility for CCS and more

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has finally found its latest boss in Cabinet Office junior minister Oliver Dowden.

Dowden, who was appointed parliamentary secretary (minister for implementation) at the Cabinet Office in prime minister Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle last week, took on responsibility for GDS as part of his new role.

In addition to looking after GDS, Dowden also now covers the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), cyber and resilience, shared services and government security groups.

His appointment follows the departure of Caroline Nokes, who held the role for six months as minister for government resilience and efficiency but left to become minister for immigration in the reshuffle.

Nokes had replaced Ben Gummer, who lost his seat in the snap election last June.

Dowden will report to David Lidlington, the new Cabinet Office minister following Damian Green's resignation after an inquiry found he had breached the ministerial code.

Industry observers were keen for the digital portfolio to go to a more senior minister, however Dowden's CV shows no experience in IT or digital issues.

His official website instead lists interests in transport, education, public infrastructure and the countryside, while he served prime minister David Cameron as a Downing Street advisor from 2010 to 2015, before becoming an MP in that year's general election.

Matt Hancock, who held the brief of Cabinet Office minister between 2015 and 2016, was promoted from digital minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to secretary of state for DCMS in the reshuffle.

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