Members & Friends,

As we conclude another week in politics, I’m afraid I remain confused on how Brexit will be achieved and therefore have decided to ignore it entirely and focus on our in-house activity.

The week kicked off when Justine Greening MP joined us and tackled the difficult topic ‘How Reform of HM Treasury Can Unlock Britain’s Potential’. She gave an inspirational talk on Human Capital, barely utilised and possibly resulting in fewer of us feeling that we have a ‘real’ stake in Britain. There was an interesting discussion on the long-term viability of whether or not it was sustainable for public finances to be run over a 5-year period or longer. We have in front of us a monumental opportunity to run our public finances differently and no country has yet cracked effective social mobility. If the UK could achieve this first, it would create a real opportunity for us.

Accessibility to higher education as a way of maximising social mobility is a particular interest of Justine’s and she also shared innovative university and student funding ideas which were being prepared before she left the Department for Education. These sought to both maintain the fee structure paid by HMG to the universities whilst replacing the current form of student education and maintenance loans with a non-regressive, post- graduation payment programme. These ideas were actively advanced by Justine later in the week and picked up across the national press.

Tuesday was the highlight of my week, judging the vast number of entries to the British Expertise International Awards 2019 (#BEIAwards19). A challenging afternoon of debate chaired by our President, HRH The Duke of Gloucester has, I’m delighted to announce, produced a shortlist of projects and achievements that UK PLC should be very proud of. Specific company and project details can be found in the BEI newsletter.

View the 2019 Awards shortlist →

Whether you have entered the competition or are waiting for next year, the Awards Dinner showcases the best of the British professional services sector and is an excellent networking event. This year His Royal Highness and I will be joined by Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of Trade and Export Promotion at the Department for International Trade to present the winners their awards in the company of members and guests from around the world. Booking is open so please do join us.

Concluding the week on Thursday, the D Group lunch focused on Russia. The speaker, MD of CrossBorder Capital Michael Howell, shared his views on why the Russian economy has been doing rather well in recent years, all things considered. Higher oil and gas rates, large-scale exporting of military goods and a surplus agriculture production were all named as factors in Russia’s current resilience. Michael drew comparisons with the situation in the Soviet Union in the years before its collapse, as well as modern China – where a basic economy producing capital goods works but can run into problems where it begins diversifying into consumer goods.

Have a wonderful weekend all, we hope to see you soon and look forward to hearing your news.

With best wishes,


Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International

Event highlights:

Tuesday 29th January – BEI Meeting
How to Design Better Development Programmes in Complex Systems
Andrew Koleros, Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, Palladium
Mark Oldenbeuving, Senior Expert, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, Integrity

Wednesday 30th January – D Group Lunch
IoT disrupting the way industries are delivering their product & services
Rob Evans, Director Ecosystems and Channels, GE Digital

Monday 4th February – D Group Lunch
Is the Norther Powerhouse needed more than ever?
Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Norther Powerhouse and Local Growth, Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government

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