The major milestones of the Government Digital Service: a GDS timeline from concept to government as a platform

Where is GDS now, five years on from its formation? A timeline of major events, projects and milestones


The Government Digital Service or GDS is a unit within the Cabinet Office that has set out from the beginning to spearhead digital transformation within government.

Throughout its lifetime from its formation in 2011 through to the present it has been an eventful place to be: from Universal Credit to G-Cloud and key figures coming and going.

Despite being very much the darling of ‘digital’ in the UK, GDS has frequently been under threat. High-profile departures sparked rumours of discontent within the department, it has frequently faced budget cuts, many of its staff have been placed on insecure, short-term contracts, and now there are rumours circulating that it will be dissolved altogether – with snap appointments as new heads of the organisation fanning the flames.

But it has also been instrumental in delivering projects that the sitting government has been proud to put forth as examples of its digital savvy, for example, the award-winning GOV.UK website and the fact that it was drafted in to save some face for the beleaguered Universal Credit programme.

Here Computerworld UK takes a look at some of the major milestones of GDS to date.