The Cabinet Office has outlined how the Government Digital Service (GDS) is helping departments to recruit their own digital and technology staff as part of a wider drive to build digital capability across government.
GDS confirmed that its team recently assisted the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) in selecting candidates for the role of director general for digital transformation. It was announced that Kevin Cunnington, previously global head of online at Vodafone, started in the role this week.
The appointment represents the first time GDS has taken such an active role in a departmental recruitment exercise and the service’s involvement is likely to be repeated in the recruitment of key digital directors at other large government departments, according to a spokesperson.
A key element of the support GDS provides is its ‘Recruitment Hub’, a service that offers advice on recruitment and HR for digital and technology roles in the civil service. The hub provides template job descriptions, organisational design advice and salary guidance, as well as feedback for departments and coordinated headhunting support.
GDS is also starting to work with departments more closely in sifting, shortlisting and interviewing candidates for more senior appointments, as demonstrated by its work with the DWP.
The GDS advice, which is part of the Government Service Design Manual, says that it can help with senior civil servant roles such as chief digital officer, chief technology officer, head of business IT, head of policy and performance, service manager and technology lead.
More junior roles such as designer, technical architect, developer, user researcher, delivery manager and performance analyst are also covered by GDS’ guidance.
A spokesperson from the Cabinet Office explained that the hub is part of wider efforts to build digital capability across government, as outlined in the Government Digital Strategy. It also ties into civil service reform, which aims to modernise the service, make it more efficient, responsive, digitally engaged and focused on user needs.
The spokesperson added, ” To deliver this transformation, the Government Digital Service Recruitment Hub is helping departments find first-class specialist digital and technology staff from both inside and outside government. Through this hub, GDS assisted DWP in selecting candidates for the role of Director-General of Digital Transformation.
“We are identifying a new generation of leaders with experience of transforming big organisations through technology and culture change and bringing them into government. More of these appointments will follow.”
GDS is also believed to have played a role, although not through the hub, in the choice of the new chief information officer at HMRC, Mark Dearnley, whose role encompasses a ‘Chief Digital Officer’ element.