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Dear Members and Friends,

Another interesting week in Brexit Britain. The PM returned from Brussels with a deal on the table, and it seems that even though there is a great deal of grumbling from both leavers and remainders, there is little time for alternatives without triggering a “no-deal” Brexit – or is there? As we wait for more developments, the truth is the public are fed up and just want to get on with it, as the PM said, “the British people want this settled.”

The streets of London have been busier than usual this week, with the ever-increasing festive season shoppers and the thousands of protesters drawing attention to the unfolding climate emergency. The protestors planned a campaign of peaceful mass civil disobedience apparently with support from almost 100 senior academics from across the UK, including the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Whilst there have been delays in commutes, it’s business as usual.

UK cross-government funds play a vital role in promoting economic development as well as projecting UK influence. On Tuesday BEI hosted Joint Funds Unit Director Joelle Jenny and Head of Prosperity Fund, Daniel Davis, as they shared the work and delivery of UK cross-government funds and how UK-plc can more effectively engage. It appears post-Brexit many more UK government departments will look to accessing ODA funding for a wide range of programmes and many of our members are well placed to explore these opportunities.

On Wednesday, D Group members were treated to an energising discussion with Digital Catapult CEO, Jeremy Silver on the topical subject, “Internet of Things (IoT)”. The discussion covered how early adoption of IoT technology by UK plc can help position organisations ahead of the curve. IoT has wide-ranging applications, and while we may be more familiar with connected consumer devices, the technology is now also being applied to a variety of industrial operations. Whilst many companies tend to be risk averse when it comes to adopting new tech, the potential of IoT technology is such that organisations can benefit greatly by making it part of their long-term vision and changing organisational culture.

ICAI Commissioner Tina Fahm and ICAI Review Team Leader Ian McPherson on Thursday shared details of the review on ‘Achieving value for money through procurement Part 2: DFID’s approach to value for money through tendering and contract management’. Whilst acknowledging DFID’s improvement in their overall approach to procurement, it came as no surprise to members that there were some major concerns highlighted on DFID’s engagement with its stakeholders. A clear need to improve consultation processes with market suppliers, along with a better system of manging information systems and adopting appropriate contract management techniques were identified.

Next week’s event highlights include: the ADB Business Opportunities Seminar on Monday next week co-hosted by BEI and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP). On Tuesday, Ian Stewart, a Partner and Chief Economist at Deloitte will join the D Group for what should be a thought-provoking topic, “Will robots destroy jobs and increase inequality?” and finally on Wednesday Tim Morris, Chief Executive Officer, UK Major Ports Group will share his view on “How Britain's Ports can thrive in the future”

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

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Derrick Sanyahumbi, Director, Government - Prosperity and International Development


Event highlights:

Tuesday 27th November – D Group Dinner
Will robots destroy jobs and increase inequality?
Ian Stewart, Chief UK Economist, Deloitte

Tuesday 4th December – D Group Lunch
Immigration is an economic necessity and we urgently need honest political leadership
James Kirkup, Director, The Social Market Foundation

Wednesday 5th December - BEI Meeting
Infrastructure Finance – Challenges and Solutions
Judith Tyson, Research Fellow, ODI

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019
Submission deadline extended to 1st January 2019