Simon Hart confirmed as GDS minister

Written by Sam Trendall on 29 August 2019 in News
News

Role as minister for implementation also includes responsibility for IPA, Geospatial Commission, and Civil Service HR

Credit: Parliament UK/CC BY 3.0

Simon Hart has been confirmed as the minister with responsibility for the Government Digital Service.

As part of the cabinet reshuffle undertaken by Boris Johnson in his first few days as prime minister, Hart (pictured above) was appointed as a parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office. It was expected that he would be made the effective replacement for Oliver Dowden – who has been promoted from minister for implementation to the overall minister for the Cabinet Office. 

But official sign off on Hart’s precise role and duties did not arrive until this week – one month after he was initially appointed as a minister.


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He has now, as expected, been appointed as minister for implementation. 

This position comes with a wide range of duties which, in addition to looking after GDS, covers oversight of the Geospatial Commission, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, Government Property, Civil Service HR, cybersecurity, and public appointments.

Hart will also hold ministerial responsibility for commercial models, shared services, and the Government Commercial Function. Unlike his predecessor, there is no explicit mention of the Crown Commercial Service in his list of duties – nor in the specified responsibilities of any other Cabinet Office minister.

PublicTechnology had contacted the department requesting clarification on who holds ministerial responsibility for CCS. We were awaiting response at time of publication. 

Hart Joined parliament in the 2010 election, since when he has served as the Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire.

Prior to being elected to parliament, he served as chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, an organisation which seeks to “to promote understanding and acceptance of the rural way of life”. He remained as chairman of the alliance until his appointment as a minister, at which point he was required to relinquish the role.

The Countryside Alliance is perhaps best known for campaigning in favour of fox hunting, and Hart himself served from 1988 to 1998 as master of what was then known as the South Pembrokeshire Hunt.

In addition to his new ministerial brief, Hart is also the prime minister’s trade envoy to Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. During his time in parliament, he has sat on various select committees, including the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee – of which he is currently a member.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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