The new head of the Government Digital Service (GDS) has promised that there will be no break-up of the centralised IT organisation.
Kevin Cunnington said that the role of the GDS has not been diminished, despite a series of departures and claims from former leaders at the GDS that the 'Sir Humphreys' of the Civil Service were moving in to emasculate the organisation and return powers to their departments.
"I've read many times about the end of GDS, but it has always come back stronger than before. I want to tackle one thing head on: GDS will not be broken up. We remain part of the Cabinet Office with a clear mandate to lead digital, technology and data across government," wrote Cunnington in his first blog post since moving from the Department for Work and Pensions to the GDS.
He added that he had the support and backing of John Manzoni, chief executive of the Civil Service, and Jeremy Heywood, permanent secretary for the Cabinet Office.
"By bringing me in as director general for GDS, John is making it clear that this organisation matters and is here to stay. Everyone at GDS is carrying on with the work they've been doing," he said.
"My first priority is to get to know the team and listen to what they have to say. I want to properly understand their plans, concerns and ideas. That's going to take a few weeks."
Cunnington takes over as director general after the high-profile departures of Mike Bracken and Stephen Foreshew-Cain, who had been director general for only nine months.
Their departures were widely attributed to 'turf wars' in Whitehall as senior civil servants reportedly tried to take back control of IT and IT budgets following the establishment of the GDS in 2010.
For example, former GDS staffer Andrew Greenway said in a blog post that power was being shifted back to departments under Manzoni and, especially, Heywood.
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