Andy Beale to leave GDS by New Year
Chief technology officer continuing work with Kevin Cunnington to help set out new GDS strategy; no decision made over future of the role beyond his departure
Government Digital Service (GDS) interim chief technology officer (CTO) Andy Beale is set to leave Whitehall in the New Year, with no decision taken over the future of his role at present, the Cabinet Office has confirmed.
A spokesperson said that Beale was continuing to work with GDS director general Kevin Cunnington in the meantime on setting out a new strategy and operating model for the organisation. It is anticipated to be released by December.
However, no immediate plans for the role or a possible replacement for Beale were given by the Cabinet Office.
“We are grateful to him for everything he has done at GDS to shape a digital future for everyone,” said the spokesperson in a statement.
“Kevin will work with the rest of the team and across government to decide how to replace Andy's expertise and deliver the GDS mission to support, enable and assure all transformation work across government.”
Appointed to the CTO role on an interim basis earlier this year, Beale was charged with bringing together separate GDS teams working on policy and standards, architecture, service assurance and strategic change to streamline support for technology leaders in Whitehall.
It is understood that Beale had agreed to an initial six month working contract for the role in April, but decided against continuing with the position.
No reason has been given for Beale's decision not to extend his CTO contract. GDS is presently preparing for significant potential changes in how it operates following on from high profile leadership changes cross the organisation.
Back in August, former GDS lead Stephen Foreshew-Cain was replaced by Kevin Cunnington, who took up the newly created role of director general.
A number of other changes in whitehall senior digital leadership has followed with former identity assurance programme director Janet Hughes and HMRC chief digital officer Mark Dearnley revealing their intentions to move on from government. Just this month, GDS director of data Paul Maltby also announced his intention to leave the organisation at the end of his contract in December.
The departure of these individuals has led to ongoing speculation about the future of the organisation's structure and work and whether it may be scaled back.
Cunnington has moved to play down such fears ahead of releasing a new strategy for the organisation.
Speaking to journalists earlier this month, he maintained that speculation suggesting the centralised functions of GDS could be divided up among different departments was untrue, while pledging a less "adversarial" approach to working with Whitehall bodies.
In a wide ranging interview, Cunnington argued that the relationship between GDS and wider government was largely cordial and focused on similar objectives, although there had been a necessary change in attitudes towards how the organisation works.
"It was adversarial in the past because GDS legitimately had to police some of the things that were going on," he said.
"Nowadays we are more comfortable departments have created their own capability so having these proper grown up discussions around roadmaps in the future. We're getting much more comfortable with where people are at. So the relationship is changing."