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Nokes joins Cabinet Office ministerial team

David Bicknell Published 14 June 2017

Romsey and Southampton North MP joins Cabinet Office line-up led by minister Damian Green. But who will have responsibility for digital government isn’t yet clear

 

Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes has joined the ministerial team at the Cabinet Office.

But it still isn’t known whether she, or Cabinet Office minister Damian Green is going to take responsibility for areas such as digital government and for the Government Digital Service (GDS). Or whether responsibility for digital government now sits with another department.

In the last Parliament, Nokes was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery at the Department for Work and Pensions. Her ministerial role, this time at the Cabinet Office, will again be as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State. But her responsibilities have yet to be assigned.

Also in the Cabinet Office is Chris Skidmore, who is Minister for the Constitution. His responsibilities are much clearer. They cover areas such as constitution policy, democracy, public appointments, FOI, records and knowledge management, fraud, error, debt and grants, public bodies reform and shared services.

Green’s Cabinet Office role is supplemented by another position as First Secretary of State and his appointment was one of the first made in Theresa May’s reshuffle. An old university colleague of May’s, Green is widely regarded as taking on a Deputy Prime Minister-type role as part of what has been labelled May’s “Praetorian Guard.”

It would be unrealistic to expect him to take the same interest in digital government or government transformation that Ben Gummer did before Gummer lost his Ipswich seat in the election. Matt Hancock might, however. Hancock has been re-appointed Minister of State for Digital and Culture at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and his named areas are cyber security and telecoms resilience, data protection, digital strategy, enterprise and technology, digital infrastructure and spectrum, digital markets and consumer policy, and digital engagement and skills. That digital focus seems closer to digital government and government transformation than anyone's remit currently in the Cabinet Office.

It is still early days and the minority government has had a few other things to consider, such as how it will work with the Democratic Unionist Party and the shape of Brexit. For now, though, it is unclear first of all, what priority, if any, digital government has, and secondly, who will take ministerial responsibility for it.

 








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