Published: 21 February 2023

Reading time: About 5 minutes

Civil Service World recently reported confirmation of plans to break up government department BEIS in a Machinery of Government change, creating a stand-alone energy department and ‘refocus’ of DCMS. With the creation of four new departments, including the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, it’s been reported a focus on technological innovations will ‘help make sure the UK is the most innovative economy in the world.”

However, these mergers result in an impact of changes in government IT and legacy technology including those departments that have considerable digital heap challenges. In our latest blog, we discuss what exactly is meant by Machinery of Government change, the impact this can have on Government departments’ data and the significant expertise and experience Automated Intelligence have to support migrations as part of Machinery of Government mergers.  Automated Intelligence’s Technical Director, David Corkill also provides his views on what departments should consider.

What is Machinery of Government change?

The Prime Minister is responsible for the overall organisation of the Government and the function between ministers. A Machinery of Government (MoG) change is a transfer of functions between ministers which can occur immediately.

What data challenges do Machinery of Government mergers face and why is it important to manage change and transfer of digital records?

The restructuring and merger of departments presents numerous challenges when dealing with vast amounts of rapidly growing data. Taking into consideration the demands such as extracting and moving data sets from one department to another, maintaining adherence to compliance regulations such as GDPR and minimising the risk of potential breaches, government departments have a lot to consider when managing and understanding their data during restructuring. Critically, when managing the transfer of digital records it is important to ensure organisations won’t lose content and context of information as well as the ability to access that information.

MoG mergers result in departments acquiring new responsibilities and staff which need to amalgamate into existing operations. Depending on its data estate, each department will have individual data and migration needs, such as data separation from within complex teams and storage environments, consolidation into unified environments, all while maintaining business continuity with minimal disruption to existing users and services along with ensuring data and security is maintained.

This is why it’s paramount that departments understand what data they have, know where it is and identify the ownership of it, particularly historic data dating back 15-20 years. Civil servants will now have the responsibility of managing this as part of their new department. Each business function and department may differ in opinion on what data needs retained, however a standardised approach will ensure an effective transition of data while reducing cost and increasing staff capacity in carrying out their day-to-day role. Furthermore, departments should migrate data in staged phases to allow large number of users to go live without risk.

As stated by The National Archives, organisations should plan and manage for migrations to ensure:

  • the receiving organisation understand how information is used
  • the completeness, availability and usability of information is maintained throughout the migration process
  • risks involved in migrating information are recognised and mitigated
  • no digital information is destroyed until it is loaded successfully into the new operating environment and has been quality checked.

Machinery of Government

How Automated Intelligence can help.

Automated Intelligence has significant experience and expertise in managing MoG mergers including previously managing the Department of BEIS’ data merge and migration using our AI.DATALIFT platform. The department required over 26TB of data to be extracted from legacy systems and migrated to the cloud, ensuring all data was relocated to prevent risk of penalty or data loss. Read more on how we helped BEIS and other organisations here. Read more on how we helped BEIS and other organisations here.

Further outcomes our customers are achieving are:

  • By transferring all data to one secure place within Microsoft 365, departments immediately benefit from greater information visibility
  • Data analysis carried out by AI.DATALIFT enables organisations to understand what data it holds, and allows quicker access to information
  • Data can be segregated allowing for departmental splits and data realignment to be visually designed in advance. Allowing review, ensuring accuracy and increasing process efficiency.
  • All data can be correctly stored and categorised and is compliant with regulations such as GDPR.

We caught up with Automated Intelligence’s Technical Director, David Corkill who shares his experience of working with organisations during MoG mergers and what to consider during management of data transfer and migrations.

“During departmental splits that we have worked on over the years, understanding the ownership of the data is always key. This includes not only the data that each new department would claim as their own, but just as importantly who the ownership of unclaimed data should fall to. Analysis and understanding of the data in an easy, presentable format is paramount at a time of major disruption for the department. Being able to identify, trace and audit all data is of vital importance through the process. Migrations must also be co-ordinated and allow flexibility as large numbers of users move onto new systems for the newly created departments to ensure minimal disruption to the day-to-day activities of the organisation.”

For further information on our AI.DATALIFT platform, visit our website here or to find out how we can help your organisation understand its unstructured data, contact us at