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November 13, 2023updated 14 Nov 2023 9:01am

John Glen to lead government digital efforts as Cabinet Office minister after reshuffle

The latest change means 15 ministers have had responsibility for government digital transformation in the past decade.

By Matthew Gooding

John Glen is the latest minister to take charge of the Cabinet Office, where he will take responsibility for the government’s digital teams. Glen succeeded the resigning Jeremy Quin and became the 15th minister to take the digital portfolio in the past decade.

John Glen is heading up digital transformation in government as Cabinet Office secretary. (Photo by HM Treasury/flickr)

Previously chief secretary to the Treasury, Glen took up his new role today as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held a wide-ranging reshuffle that also saw Home Secretary Suella Braverman sacked and former prime minister David Cameron return to the cabinet as foreign secretary. Glen will also assume the role of paymaster general.

Cabinet Office minister post handed to John Glen

Glen has been an MP since 2010 and represents the Salisbury seat in Wiltshire. A former management consultant with Accenture, he also worked as a parliamentary private secretary to both Eric Pickles and Sajid Javid before winning his own seat.

Having held an undersecretary in the former Department for Culture, Media and Sport, he then moved across to the Treasury in 2018 where he held various roles including minister of state and economic secretary.

Glen wrote on X that he was “pleased” to be taking up his new post.

At the Cabinet Office his responsibilities will be wide-ranging, but including Government Digital Services, which oversees the digital transformation of public services, and the Central Digital and Data Office, which leads the government’s digital, data and technology functions.

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He also has oversight of the Crown Commercial Service procurement agency, which operates a range of government technology buying frameworks. Central government departments spent £9.2bn on technology products and services in the 2021/22 financial year.

The Cabinet Office revolving door continues to turn

Quin had held the Cabinet Office minister role since October last year, having been appointed when Sunak took office. He said he was resigning to  “concentrate on projects” in his constituency of Horsham in Sussex.

His departure means there have now been 15 different ministers with responsibility for the government’s digital agenda in the past decade, with the role passing between Cabinet Office ministers and more junior MPs working in the department. The political turmoil in 2022, which saw the prime minister’s job pass from Boris Johnson to Liz Truss to Sunak, meant there were six different people on the job during the year, including three in October alone.

With major projects currently in the works including the OneLogin system, which aims to provide a single digital identity for accessing all government services, Glen's in-tray is likely to be busy.

Read more: The King's Speech ignores AI and sets up new UK government vs Big Tech battle

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