Dear Members and Friends,
This week’s tragic events have made us reflect proudly on the togetherness and resilience across the nation. There have been many messages of heartfelt support from friends and colleagues from around the world. We are sure you share our mix of deep sadness for those who lost lives and sustained injuries with the admiration at how Manchester, where many of our members have staff and operations, has reacted and demonstrated its resilience.
Many of us may not think a great deal about what the defence of the realm involves, but Tuesday’s talk by Peter Hennessy and his co-author James Jinks about their book, The Silent Deep, was a timely reminder of ever-present threats and the daily task of confronting them; and how the cold war might feel as though it is creeping back, at least under the waves.
At the request of DFID’s Secretary of State Priti Patel, on Thursday we arranged a workshop with DFID’s Procurement and Commercial Department who engaged with a group of 30 of our members to gather feedback from SME businesses on DFID’s procurement systems and processes. This event was a natural follow-up to the session we ran last summer, looking at how the procurement processes could be made more accessible to the SME section of the market. The feedback provided from the four focus groups will feed directly into the DFID Supplier review that is currently underway.
Plans for the Friday 2nd June Birmingham launch event of the British Foreign Policy Group entitled “The UK election and foreign policy – Brexit and beyond” are shaping well. A strong and balanced speaker line up is now confirmed, including Crispin Blunt MP; Geoff Hoon; and Baroness Smith of Newham. They will discuss the UK’s international position and choices at a critical time for our country. BFPG will also unveil the results of a new national poll of popular views on foreign policy issues, undertaken for them by BMG. Spaces are most definitely limited – however please do contact Alice Campbell to secure your place.
Our Canadian series is gaining momentum and demonstrating where a collective approach can make a massive difference. Recent well-attended members’ engagements with the Canadian Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, and a subsequent roundtable with Janice Charette (Canadian High Commissioner to UK) and Howard Drake (British High Commissioner to Canada) established Canada as an important target of interest to Strategy members. Our next Canadian endeavour will be a private members-only discussion with procurement officials from five Canadian Provinces. Shortly we will be inviting members to come together as a Canadian Working Group to establish a programme of engagement, using our own connections and strengths of members to assemble a world leading offer to the major infrastructure programmes across Canada.
Continuing in the Commonwealth vein, Menna Rawlings, the British High Commissioner to Australia will be joining us here at Grafton Street in July to meet members. The event will take place on Monday 17th July at 16.30, and there are still places available for any members who would like to join us.
Next week we will enjoy the opening of a new art exhibition in our Members’ Room, a Double Solo Exhibition by Cristina Troufa and Juan Domingues in collaboration with ACERVO gallery. All members are most welcome to attend a private view on the evening of 1st June – simply pre-register with Sophie O’Kane.
Best wishes to all.
Director – Networks & Innovation