Government IT leader will leave post as MP for Horsham at the next election
Francis Maude, part of the team responsible for spearheading the Government’s IT and digital strategy over the past few years, has announced he will be stepping down as an MP.
The MP for Horsham and Cabinet Office minister has decided to call time on his 32-year career working in Parliament following this year’s general election, saying it was time to “make way for a younger candidate”.
Maude’s departure will be keenly felt in the technology sector, where he played a key role in helping set up Gov.uk, the central government domain for 312 agencies and government organisation websites, as well as the cloud procurement framework G-Cloud.
He was also part of the team behind the creation of the Government Digital Service (GDS), Whitehall’s coding arm responsible for driving digital public services, which is now being copied in both the US and Australia.
Maude also played a key role in establishing the government’s cyber-security policy, setting up the UK’s Cyber Security Information Partnership (CSIP) and the creation of the UK Computer Emergency Response Team.
In a letter to the Horsham Conservative Association, he wrote: “I was first elected to the House of Commons in 1983 just before I was 30, and will be nearly 67 by the time of the election in 2020.
“Public service continues to exercise great appeal.
“However, 27 years is a long time to serve as a Member of Parliament, and I believe now is the right time to make way for a younger candidate to carry the Conservative flag in Horsham.
Mr Maude also said he was “increasingly optimistic” that the Tories could win the general election.
Industry observers were quick to pay tribute to Maude’s hard work following the announcement, while praising Maude’s record in charge of the Cabinet Office.
“Francis Maude’s leadership has raised awareness of the importance of digital as a driver of efficiency across the public sector and under his direction we have seen some important initiatives, most notably the creation of GDS and a strong focus on opening up the public sector market to small businesses,” said Naureen Khan, associate director for central government at industry trade body TechUK.
“We commend the minister’s work to make the UK a global leader in cyber security.
“However, as the minister himself points out, there is still much to do. It is vital that the next government continues with the civil service reforms, and we are encouraged by the recent high profile appointments bringing in experienced leaders from the private sector, such as the new CEO of the civil service, John Mazoni, who must continue the reforms.”
What do you know about public sector IT ? Take our quiz!