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Former GDS head Mike Bracken quits Co-op

He'd only wanted to work 3 days a week, apparently

Former head of the Government Digital Service Mike Bracken has quit his job as chief digital officer at Co-op to work on advising governments.

In a blog post Bracken wrote: "It’s been a brilliant two years with a fantastic organisation. As I said when I joined, my focus was to create a Co-op fit for the digital age, based on an open, agile culture and excellent digital services.

"I had intended initially to only work three days a week for the Co-op but found myself so engaged with the organisation, I had less time than I would have liked to continue my Non-Executive work."

Bracken joined the Co-op as part-time chief digital office in August 2015, following his shock departure from GDS, with a number of GDS top brass following him to Co-op.

His successor at GDS Stephen Foreshew-Cain also took at role at Co-op after he was effectively ousted from his role by the current head Kevin Cunnington. One insider said Foreshew-Cain is expected to take Bracken's role as chief digital officer.

Bracken has been named as visiting professor at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London and will become an advisor to the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Centre for Public Impact.

"I hope to find more time to be part of the Independent Review Group at Google Deepmind," he added.

He also has a book in the pipeline: Redesigning Digital Public Services: The Strategy is Delivery.

However, the track record of GDS has come into question. Most notably the disastrous Rural Payments Agency's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) IT system - intended to be one of its digital exemplars.

A National Audit Office also said earlier this year that GDS has "found it difficult to redefine its role as it has grown." ®

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