alison pritchard, government digital service
© Viorel Dudau

Defra’s Alison Pritchard joins GDS as Director General (interim), beginning her first week as the department’s interim chief

It was announced back in June that Cunnington would be stepping down from his role, following three years of service in the top job as Director-General. Cunnington is off to become the Director-General of the new International Government Service (IGS), a joint initiative front he Foreign Office, Cabinet Office Dan the Department for International Trade.

In June, Cunnington was announced to be leaving the Director-General role after working there for three years. Cunnington will now become the Director-General of the new International Government Service (IGS), which combines remits from the Foreign Office, Cabinet Office, and the Department for International Trade.

The purpose of the IGS is not precisely known to the public yet, but the vague mission statement describes the promotion of government services as a whole to foreign States.

She began her Civil Service career in 1987. She has worked across a range of departments including the Ministry of Defence, HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Her career has seen her enjoy a varied and interesting range of roles, including: spending 5 years in Saudi Arabia with a UK defence programme; leading the independent review of Royal Family and ministerial air travel, and being responsible for gambling and the National Lottery.

Outside government, Alison has experience as Head of Operations for an IT engineering business and on secondment to the third sector as Director of Programmes for a multi-faith research body supporting counter-radicalisation.

Pritchard joins GDS from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, where she has served as director of transformational change since April 2016. Prior to that, she has worked for a variety of Whitehall departments during a 30-year civil service career that has taken in stints at the Ministry of Defence, the Treasury, the Cabinet Office, the Home Office, and the then Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).


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