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In a break from recent tradition a relatively quiet week on the Brexit front. I suspect merely the calm before the storm and with 43 days to go it won’t be long before the clouds start gathering again over Westminster. Whatever the shape of the deal on the 29th March, the reoccurring and ultimately encouraging theme from our events this week was that innovation, be that electric vehicles or the digital economy, could be the key to guiding UK Plc through an unknown future.

On Tuesday we heard from Andrew Burgess, Deputy Director for Energy System Transition at Ofgem. Andrew addressed a range of themes, in particular the extensive work being done through the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan to make sure the regulatory environment and consequently power networks are fit for purpose to meet the exponential demand and supply risks of electric vehicles. A true tour de force of the many challenges and opportunities arising from this burgeoning sector and a fascinating insight into the future of the energy market.

On Wednesday afternoon, BEI was delighted to host the newly appointed ICAI Chief Commissioner, Tamsyn Barton and Review Team Leader Paul Harvey as they presented their finding on the ICAI review on the UK’s approach to funding the UN humanitarian system looking at relevance, efficiency and effectiveness. With a more than 200% increase in demand for assistance since 2011, the review found that DFID has successfully used its funding and influence to strengthen UN humanitarian agencies but needs to do more to deliver on its commitments to ensure effective accountability to affected populations and to stream line its own reporting requirements. Some recommendations were put forward to DFID and the response from government was received a few days ago.

On Wednesday evening we also had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Ian Campbell, Executive Chair of Innovate UK. Innovate UK is an industrial strategy fund providing financial assistance and connecting together the best of the UK’s R&D and Infrastructure organisations. During the evening Ian shared with us the 4 Global Challenges that Innovate UK see as critical to address within the next few years: Artificial Intelligence and Data, an Ageing Society, Clean Growth and Future Mobility. In order to tackle these challenges, cross-sector engagement is needed more than ever. Bringing business, government and organisations across the country together will be crucial if we are to make a real difference to the nation’s future quality of life.

An interesting and topical programme of events next week. On Tuesday afternoon we welcome the Georgian Ambassador to the UK, HE Tamar Beruchashvili who will be briefing us on commercial opportunities for UK companies in Georgia. On Wednesday we will hear from Met Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick CBE, on “Keeping London Safe” and on Thursday Philip Rycroft CB, Permanent Secretary to DExEU, will be updating us on where we stand with just a over a month to go!

With the first signs of spring in the air and a rest week in the Six Nations, I’m off to tend to the roses. Hope to see you at one of our events soon.

Have a good weekend,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 19th February – BEI Meeting
Meeting with H.E. Chris Rampling MBE, HM’s Ambassador to Lebanon
H.E. Chris Rampling MBE, HM’s Ambassador to Lebanon

Tuesday 19th February – BEI Meeting
Meet the Georgian Ambassador to the United Kingdom
H.E. Tamar Beruchashvili, Georgian Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Wednesday 20th February – D Group Dinner
Keeping London safe
Commissioner Cressida Dick CBE QPM, Metropolitan Police


British Expertise International Awards:

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019