back to article UK govt's top tech heavyweight Maxwell quits for Amazon job

The UK government’s top tech adviser Liam Maxwell is to swap public life for the private sector, with a global role at tax-efficient cloud titan Amazon Web Services, The Register can reveal. Maxwell – who currently holds the title of national tech advisor to the government, and before that was the first CTO for Government …

  1. Herring`

    Anyone who reads Private Eye will have an idea how effective ACOBA is

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Forgotten, but not gone...

    GDS - Bringing you yesterday's technology, tomorrow!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Maxwell's exit from government is a blow to Whitehall's tech expertise"

    Absolute tosh. Liam Maxwell was literally a high school IT teacher, not some sort of enterprise technology heavyweight. Government technology types will be celebrating his departure. This should be one step further in dismantling the disastrous, fantasist apparatus put in place by Bracken.

    The real fear should be that he's allowed to continue on in all his semi-formal "advisory" roles while being on AWS's payroll. That would be a complete disaster. CabO is enough of a hive of AWS fanboys as it is.

    1. Herring`

      "Absolute tosh. Liam Maxwell was literally a high school IT teacher, not some sort of enterprise technology heavyweight."

      I hope you're not suggesting that Amazon haven't hired him for his technological prowess but for other reasons

      1. macjules
        Paris Hilton

        "other reasons"

        Those wouldn't by any chance be along the lines of "Hey Liam, any chance you can persuade HMRC to dump CapGem and move to AWS?", would they?

        I am quite sure there is a need for I.T. teachers at very high remuneration levels in AWS.

  4. masterofnone

    Best of luck

    Liam did a superb job in spearheading the dismantling of the oligopoly that dominated public sector IT spend. Granted, teh same old names still win the majority of major government contracts, but without his initial guts to tackle this head on, we would not have the sector that supports thousands of SME suppliers presently. It might not be perfect, and you can pick holes in volume of spend, direct spend, ambition of larger departments to embrace SMEs, but its a much more competitive sector than it was 6/7 years ago - and Maxwell kick started that alongside others.

    AWS is winning big and will continue to do so - check out the list of IT vacancies for 'cloudy' type roles and AWS is all over the place. Is this a case of pot kettle? I dont think so, AWS i successful in the UK public sector - in part - due to the forward 'thinkingness' of its partner base. I work with a few of them and they are doing some great work.

    Yes, insight into existing contracts, other cloud suppliers etc might well be one to watch. He might have been a high school IT teacher, but that doesn't dilute his ability - totally daft comment. You dont need to be a tech expert to understand the role in tech in helping the sector to overcome its problems, you just need to be logical. If you think thats the wrong, then my view you are part of the problem!

    1. Dr_N

      Re: Best of luck

      Hello Mrs Maxwell.

      You must be really proud of your son.

      I hope all is well?

      1. masterofnone

        Re: Best of luck

        Very good, yes he is a darling boy and makes mummy very proud!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best of luck

      "but its a much more competitive sector than it was 6/7 years ago - and Maxwell kick started that alongside others."

      This is also absolute twaddle. What's happened is the numbers have been fudged so that subcontractors, including those much maligned IR35 types, are included in the SME spending numbers. Contract structure and market shares have not appreciably changed, with the exception of the growth of cloud spending. Those "SMEs" are the same old subs and locals and freelancers we've always had, and as always they're just contracted in through the SI prime.

      What GDS promoted was a wholesale move to T&M based "agile-friendly" contracting, allowing suppliers of all size to Take The Piss and sit there printing money regardless of whether or not anything was ever actually built. As long as you were doing the daily rituals of a Stand Up and a Burn Down and you turned up to work wearing jeans and you proselytised the virtues of Ruby and Puppet, GDS were happy to give you their blessing and a blank check from CabO.

      Just look at Verify. Look at Universal Credit. Student Finance. Rural payments. Tasked with producing anything more complex than a simple web form and GDS would leave a trail of absolute clusterfucks in their wake, characterised by naïveté, an immaturity in delivery methodology and political protection guaranteeing the money kept flowing until the whole thing had imploded.

      The sooner we're rid of this generation of silicon roundabout antitechnologists and their legacy of fashion before function, the better.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Best of luck


        They did simple web forms? I thought all they did were just information white space pages.

        1. macjules

          Re: Best of luck

          Hey, they did have some WordPress developers who could knock up a page once every 6 months or so. And don't forget that was originally done in Drupal 6 ... that only took around 7 years or so to build. Pretty good going by GDS standards.

          Oh, and what is going to happen to all those huge GDS GitHub repos - do they become property of Microsoft now?

      2. pigeonworrier

        Re: Best of luck

        "of Ruby and Puppet" I mis-read that as Puby and Rabbit. Which is probably utterly fine with certain managers and people who go to lots of meetings. The fact that both are probably from the Anne-Summers catalogue no doubt evades them. I'm off to get stronger coffee.

  5. ma1010

    So, it's the same over there, then?

    It seems Whitehall works about like D.C., then. Get a powerful government position (either in the bureaucracy or elected), use it to your corporate sponsor's advantage, and they will reward you later on with a nice, lucrative job.

    Wondering what job Big Telco has waiting for their little sock puppet Ajit Pai (just to mention one of many such shills).

  6. D Moss Esq

    Norm, this is Liam, Liam, Norm, you may know each other, ...

    Norm Driskell, previously CDO at the Home Office, now Director, EMEA Public Sector at AWS.

  7. Wolfclaw

    Did he have any say in what UKGov purchased and did it award anything to Amazon based on his recommendaions ???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He only changed government data security classification to fit the american hyperscaler's model. So basically has handed over most of the citizen data to AWS from departments like HMRC, Ministry of Justice, DWP, Home Office to name a few...

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "questions about how closely the rules [..] for senior civil servants have been followed"

    I'm quite sure Sir Humphry would state that the rules have been followed to the letter, there is absolutely no cause for concern and everything is under complete control.

    And if you asked him where the proof of the respect of those rules is, Sir Humphry would respond with complete sincerity that those are things that he does not have the authority to divulge.

    Then he would sip his tea impeccably.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This appointment is frankly outrageous, and either the whole world is off on its holiday's, or the Reg readership simply doesn't care that public servants that shape policies that benefit certain vendors are then allowed to take jobs with the vendors without any apparent gardening leave or chinese wall. No coincidence that GDS moved to a "Public Cloud First" policy in January 2017, one month after AWS opened its UK region.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Where's the tech angle?

    Liam Maxwell .. will have seen the progress of companies, including AWS, in winning deals in various government departments, notably and controversially HMRC.”

    * Government minister steers massive contracts to the private sector.

    * Private sector slings big paying job to government minister.

    ‘Yes Minister - Jobs for the boys

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

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