- Former civil servant Norman Driskell oversaw lucrative deals between the Home Office and Amazon’s cloud computing division while he was chief digital officer for the Home Office.
- Driskell is now a director of Amazon’s cloud computing business and there are concerns he may have breached government transparency rules.
A senior civil servant who oversaw multimillion pound government contracts with Amazon has taken a job with the ecommerce giant without seeking the necessary approvals first, The Times reports.
Norman Driskell, the Home Office’s former chief digital officer, allegedly broke rules designed to stop civil servants exploiting public sector work for personal benefit when he joined Amazon as a director in May.
Amazon was unable to confirm or deny whether the allegations in the report are true, while the Home Office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Driskell reportedly left a £130,000 a year government salary to join the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) leadership team of Amazon Web Services (AWS).
There were two large contracts that the Home Office signed around the time of Driskell’s departure but the extent of Driskell’s involvement in those deals is unclear.
The Home Office reportedly paid the US firm £1.2 million in the 18 months prior to Driskell’s departure, which happened in November 2016. In February 2017, just three months later, the Home Office awarded AWS a two-year contract worth £4.8 million, according to The Times.
Under the new contract, the Home Office will reportedly move immigration data from a remote provider to an “in-house AWS solution.”
Senior civil servants are required to seek approval if they wish to take a job in a similar field within two years of leaving under under government transparency rules that are designed to stop former civil servants benefiting from information obtained during their time in government. They’re also in place to stop civil servants from favouring company’s in the private sector in the hope of gaining a job with them.
Amazon’s cloud computing business gave Driskell a “community hero” award for setting up and running a user group in his own time, according to Driskell’s LinkedIn page.
A Home Office spokesperson reportedly told The Times that there is a well-established system in place for dealing with departures.
“While we ensure we deliver on our responsibilities to promote them to our staff, the department can only act on applications that individuals bring to our attention as outlined in paragraph 6 & 13 of the guidance on business appointment rules,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
An AWS spokeswoman said: “Amazon takes compliance very seriously and we are committed to work with the Home Office to ensure compliance with applicable Civil Service Rules.”
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