The Government's Strategy for Growth - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence from Department for Business, Innovation and Skills


Q.40  Request for information on the organisation of the international trade advisor network

While the loss of RDA and Government Office resource means a reduction of 50 trade advisors, UKTI is looking hard at all of its budgets to identify where efficiencies can be made to recycle into its front line activities.

In terms of the organisation of UKTI's trade advisers, UKTI remains committed to providing international trade adviser support to exporters and potential exporters across England, with delivery as close as possible to its customers. UKTI is looking at gaining efficiencies in how that network is administered so as to maximise resource at the front line. But that resource is not uniformly efficient, and UKTI will be looking to improve efficiency across the network up to the levels of the best. It will combine that with a greater focus on collaborative working to extend the reach of the network.

Q.56  Request for information on the research done around the decision to end the Fixed Rate interest export finance scheme

The consultation document, impact assessment and Government response can be found at the ECGD website at:

Q.65  Request for more information on Catalyst and Business Ambassador Network

UKTI makes significant use of leaders and influencers in the business community to help communicate messages to companies and entrepreneurs about the attractiveness of the UK as a place from where to grow an international business. The launch of Catalyst represents a new strand of this.

The network has been running as a pilot for the last year and now has 100+ members. The vision is to create a network of up to 500 business leaders and influencers, British born or anglophile and in the UK or overseas, who will work with UKTI, and other parts of Government, to promote the UK's reputation as the international business partner of choice.

In respect of the Business Ambassadors network, although elements of the Business Ambassadors' work will echo that of Catalyst UK members their engagement is deeper and more managed. Business Ambassadors are not, currently, part of the Catalyst UK network, but could be regarded as a senior tier. Where Business Ambassadors are engaged in overseas missions, we anticipate that Catalyst members would complement their work e.g. through participation in local events.

Q.77  Request for more information on how the lessons learned from the "Your Freedom" exercise will feed into the Red Tape Challenge

The Red Tape Challenge process has been informed by lessons learned from Your Freedom, in particular regarding resourcing, IT capability and stakeholder engagement. To ensure that this project is appropriately resourced, the Cabinet Secretary wrote to all Permanent Secretaries, asking that they prioritise it and provide the necessary resource. The website was built in-house by Number 10. We have also allocated further resource to provide for a web developer to make necessary improvements during the first few months of the project to ensure that we respond quickly to user feedback.

Prior to the launch of the retail theme, key stakeholders such as British Retail Consortium, British Chambers of Commerce and Association of Convenience Stores were consulted over both the content of the website and its design. Before the launch of each theme, the lead department will work closely with their stakeholders to ensure that it meets their needs. There is also an individual of renown within the different sectors appointed as sector champion to encourage and facilitate stakeholder engagement on the website.

There were three strands to Your Freedom - one of which related to reducing regulation although in general the comments were extremely general (hence the sector-specific focus of the new Red Tape Challenge). Where comments on specific regulations were made, these will be added to those collected from the Red Tape Challenge website.

QQ.84, 85, 89  SME Surgeries

What are SME Surgeries?

On 11 February 2011 at the SME Strategic Supplier Summit David Cameron and Francis Maude announced a broad package of reforms designed to significantly open-up the public sector marketplace to SMEs. Included in the package was the concept of Product Surgeries - opportunities for SMEs to "pitch" innovative products and services direct to a panel of senior procurement and operational professionals from central government and the wider public sector. They will be held at regular intervals at locations throughout the country. The panel will be able to offer thoughts and advice on any further development and will ask the kind of questions of the supplier that they could expect when bidding for a contract. Through the new Innovation Launch Pad the Cabinet Office has subsequently invited SMEs to pitch their business ideas on how they can help to provide better value for money in the delivery of Government's business.

Surgeries will be led by Stephen Allot, the new Crown Commercial Representative (CCR). The Crown Commercial Representative (CCR) network, including the SME CCR, became operational with effect from 1 April 2011.

This initiative will be in addition to the other channels to market that SMEs currently use i.e. SBRI, and will not replace or form part of any tender process.

Q.84  How will SME Surgeries be funded?

All events will be funded directly by the departments that are running them.

Q.85  Where are we in the process of setting them up?

The Innovation Launch Pad was announced by Cabinet Office on 28 March 2011.

In May there will be a Civil Service voting phase which will identify the top submissions. In June, these companies will then be offered coaching by our volunteer entrepreneurs (such as Mike Lynch and Hermann Hauser). The Surgery itself will take place in central London in early July where the top submitters (around 10 companies) will present their proposals to an audience of Civil Service buyers. The goal is to raise internal awareness within the Civil Service of innovation to inform future procurements.

DWP and DfE will also hold surgeries over the summer on solutions for Universal Credit and education cost saving ideas respectively.

Q.89  What is the role of Stephen Allott? How was he selected as a special representative? Is it a part time or full time role?

His task will be to build a more strategic dialogue between HM Government and smaller suppliers - giving those suppliers a strong voice at the top table. The role is on a part-time basis (two days per week). In terms of his selection, Cabinet Office issued a job specification, suitable candidates were invited to submit a CV and statement of suitability, followed by interviews.

Q.95  How will IP Attaches be resourced and how many of them will there be?

Q.96  Who will they be chosen and where will they be based?

IP attachés will be funded from existing IPO budgets. IP attachés will provide a focal point in host countries for supporting UK businesses with IP related issues, promoting UK business interests and working with local IPR enforcement agencies. This will be a small network, up to 4 attachés, based in key markets for UK businesses. Although not finalised, likely countries include China and India.

We expect the first IP attaché to be in place by the end of this year and others to be in post the year after. The US, France and the EU all have IP attachés based in key emerging markets. We are speaking with these attachés to help refine our thinking and develop our approach.

We expect that the IP attachés will be in post for four years, subject to a review of their effectiveness. After the roles and responsibilities of the posts have been established, the recruitment process will be finalised. This process may need to be different for different markets. Decisions on the process for recruiting IP attachés are likely to be taken within the next six weeks.

QQ.99 - 100  Has the Services Directive been implemented in full, and why the December 2011 deadline?

Member States were required to implement the provisions of the Services Directive by 28 December 2009. In the UK, the Provision of Services Regulations, which came into effect in December 2009, implemented the provisions of the Services Directive. The UK Regulations fully implement the Directive.

In addition, UK legislation was comprehensively screened to ensure that it met the requirements of the Directive and was amended if needed. The vast majority of these amendments were completed by December 2009, but a small number were concluded during 2010, and one remaining technical issue, concerning licensing of pedlars, will shortly be amended.

The Services Directive is an ambitious, complex directive, unique in its far-reaching application. As such, Europe-wide implementation has not been a simple or straightforward process. Member States undertook a peer-review process which followed the implementation date. This clarified aspects of the Directive, as well as maintaining the pressure and impetus to complete correct implementation across Member States.

The complex nature of the Directive, and the significant changes it necessitates for some Member States with high degrees of regulation, as well as the significant technological and administrative demands, has meant that full implementation of the Directive has not yet been achieved in all Member States. Whilst we appreciate the hurdles to be overcome, it is not unreasonable to expect that Member States would be compliant by December 2011 - two years after the required deadline of December 2009 - in particular given the crucial importance of services to economic growth.

12 May 2011

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Prepared 17 June 2011