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UK Government Digital Service suffers talent exodus

But the headcount at the junior level continues to expand.

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Government Digital Service (GDS) witnessed the exit of ten senior civil servants in the last financial year ending April, raising concerns over the performance of civil services reforms.

The exits have resulted in worries over why the service is not able to “hang on” to its most experienced staff, the BBC reported.

Established within the Cabinet Office in 2011, the GDS assists the government in its efforts for digital transformation.

It works with various departments to launch and enhance online services.

An MP for the opposition has described the senior level exits as “alarming”.

Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron said: “It should be deeply worrying to see some of the brightest talent in the civil service leaving public service to go and work in the private sector

“Ministers need to make sure that staff feel empowered and engaged, and at the moment it’s clear that many civil servants feel neither.”

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In the financial 2015-16, the GDS saw 10 senior civil servants – of deputy director level and above- leaving their jobs, according to a freedom of information request made by BBC.

As of March 2016, the service employed 21 people in senior level posts.

However, it was not made clear about how of many of the 10 departees moved to other services of the government and how many had quit the civil service completely.

Before 2015, only one civil servant of senior grade had left the service as per the records.

In September last year, Mike Bracken joined the Co-operative Group as chief digital

Mike Bracken is now Chief Digital Officer at The Co-op.

Mike Bracken is now Chief Digital Officer at The Co-op.

officer after quitting as executive director of GDS.

The civil servant exodus has triggered concerns over “the performance of a service at the forefront of civil service reform,” the publication said.

Cambridge Labour MP and chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on data analytics Daniel Zeichner said: “At this critical time it is alarming to learn that significant numbers of key people are leaving the Government Digital Service.

“The sector is key to our competitiveness and future prosperity – we cannot afford to be losing key people at this important time.”

In contrast, the service has seen a positive development at the junior level staff, with their total number at GDS HQ increasing from 135 in April 2012 to 387 at the end of April this year.

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