Monday, 29 November 2021

UK’s top civil servant is set to stay in Downing Street

Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

MANCHESTER: Downing Street has placed an advert for £135,000 job to head up “skunkworks” in Number 10, in what appears the latest in Dominic Cummings’ shakeup of Whitehall.

The new job will be responsible for a new data science unit in Number 10, aimed to “transform” decision-making in government.

A skunkworks is a term originating in America during WWII for a project developed by a small and loosely structured group focusing on radical innovation.

The civil service advert says the role will involve leading a new “analytical unit known as ‘10ds” – which stands for “10 Data Science”.

It says: “The vision of 10ds is a skunkworks type organisation that builds innovative software to allow the PM to make data driven decisions and thereby transform government”.

Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief aide, is known for his disdain for traditional civil servants.

He has said his focus after Brexit will be the establishment of a British version of the US’s Advanced Projects Research Agency (Arpa).

He recently instructed government advisers to read a book on Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock, as well as High Output Management by Andrew Grove.

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