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UK Government to Boost Digital Leadership with Senior Appointments

David Paul


digital leadership

A new Digital Office will be established next month to help tackle the pandemic and rebuild the country’s economy.

The UK Government has plans to build its digital leadership with new staff appointments and a new data office.

Westminster says it will appoint three senior digital, data and technology leaders, as well as launching a new Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) early in February.

It is hoped that this will help build new opportunities, including tackling the coronavirus and rebuilding the British economy.

The government says the Civil Service Digital, Data and Technology function will be “integral to its success” and the new hires will “strengthen the leadership, power and presence in this critical area”.

Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office Alex Chisholm announced the appointments, which include:

  • Paul Willmott, who will chair a new CDDO for the Government.
  • Joanna Davinson, who will be appointed the Executive Director of CDDO.
  • Tom Read, taking the role of Chief Executive Officer of Government Digital Service.

Together, the three will be responsible for “shaping and delivering the government’s innovation and transformation strategies,” overhauling legacy IT systems, strengthening cybersecurity, and improving capability.

Commenting on the appointments, Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, Julia Lopez MP said she was “delighted” to announce the “three impressive appointments”.

Lopez said that the mix of skills and experience “will enhance our Digital, Data and Technology leadership capability and make real our ambition to deliver the public with better, more personalised public services that will enhance our reputation as the world’s most digitally-advanced government”.

Commenting on his appointment as the CDDO Chair, Paul Willmott said: “This is an exciting and important moment for digital government in the UK. There is a clear mission to establish the UK as a global leader in digital government and to provide citizens with better services.

“The ambition and challenges are substantial but, from what I’ve seen, we have both the capabilities and determination to succeed. I’m delighted to be able to help.”


In October last year, the government was criticised for “falling behind” with its digital governance services. A report by the Commission for Smart Government (CSG) warned that the UK’s digital governance services needed major work to keep pace with new demands.

CSG raised concerns in its discussion paper, Better Digital Government: Obstacles and Vision, that failure to create better digital services across the UK will put trust in the government and the country’s democratic institutions at risk.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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