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Dear Members and Friends,

I hope that everyone managed to get some time off during August. What a week this has been. We are clearly in uncharted political waters.

It is worth registering, amidst the growing antagonism around Brexit, something positive. Our associated research organisation, The British Foreign Policy Group, was prominently involved in last weekend’s widely reported ‘Big Tent‘ political festival of ideas. This is a cross-party gathering to discuss a whole range of issues with audiences of all stripes. Suffice to say that, away from the grinding negativism of much of the press, the spirit of collaboration is alive and well and the body-politic is brimming with energising ideas and policies that will see the light of day once the country is through the current impasse.   

Our events programme kicked off this week with two BEI events on Wednesday, both on Transport, with the Ministers of Transport from Montenegro and Iraq. Both are Regions of growing interest to our Members. Minister Osman Nurkovic, Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs in Montenegro covered all the major projects that are in progress and in planning in the country, including a substantial programme of highway and airport modernisation. The Iraqi Transport Minister, Abdullah Luaibi, also gave a detailed presentation of the opportunities emerging across the country as the Iraqi Government steps up its strategic focus on driving national development through infrastructure. Iraq is attracting ever more interest from our Members, as well as their non-UK competitors and we are active in planning how to ensure UK companies are at the forefront of opportunities there.

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Next week The D Group is hosting two great speakers. On Tuesday Stephen Dance who is the Director of Infrastructure Delivery from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority is speaking on “The Challenges of Planning and Delivering National Infrastructure Projects”. This is especially topical bearing in mind all the recent coverage on High Speed 2 and Crossrail. Why do our large National Infrastructure Projects fail to complete on budget and to the agreed timescale? This is followed on Wednesday with Bernadette Kelly, the Permanent Secretary from the Department of Transport speaking on “Keeping the UK moving: investing in our transport infrastructure”. This is very timely bearing in mind all the preparations that are taking place as part of HMG’s plans to take us out of the EU on October 31st.

British Expertise International also have two events next week. On Wednesday 11th September, we are hosting a member-led panel discussion on “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Infrastructure Sector”. This cross-cutting issue is vital to the success of each and every one of our members working in the infrastructure space. Then on Thursday 12th, we will discuss whether the success of the SDGs centres around effectively channelling business and finance toward economic, environmental and social impacts in a session entitled “Leveraging Impact Investing to Scale Up Economic Growth”.

The D Group and British Expertise International have a full Programme of Events from now up until Christmas. We are in the process of filling the Programme from January to April and if any Members have any speaker or topic suggestions please let us know.

I also have a couple of announcements to share with Members.

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Firstly, I am delighted to announce that the 2020 British Expertise International Awards applications are now open. We would like to invite you to look through the categories, download the offline application form and start drafting your submissions. The deadline for submissions is 6th December 2019. For any questions, please contact Alex Farley and she will be happy to assist you.

Secondly, I’d like to welcome Ed Arnold to The D Group family, replacing James Jones, who has moved to one of our members, Harmonic. Ed joins us having spent six very successful years with PA Consulting and Sopra Steria. He brings with him a wealth of experience which is already being put to excellent use and I would like to wish him a very warm welcome.

On a closing note, the sun is just coming out and I would like to wish all of you a successful and relaxing weekend.

Best wishes,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event Highlights:

Wednesday 11th September 2019 – BEI
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Infrastructure Sector 
Lila Thompson, Chief Executive, British Water
Richard Chapman-Harris, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Mott MacDonald
Kristina Scheibler-Frood, Principal Structure Engineer, Aecom

Wednesday 11th September 2019 – The D Group 
Keeping the UK moving: investing in our transport infrastructure 
Bernadette Kelly, Permanent Secretary, Department for Transport

Tuesday 17th September 2019 – BEI
The Role of Infrastructure in achieving the 2050 Net-Zero Emissions Target 
Simeon Agada, Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Ipek Gencsu, Research Fellow, Climate & Energy Programme, Overseas Development Institute
Alistair Clark, EBRD