Time to smash down the silos says tech leader

UKTCG chair Katie Gallagher with MP Alex Davies-Jones at report launch at House of Commons

A decade of centralised tech policy and delivery through departmental silos has left the UK’s tech potential untapped.

That’s the basis of a report launched in Parliament this week by the UK Tech Cluster Group (UKTCG), led by Manchester Digital’s recently honoured managing director Katie Gallagher OBE.

She told a reception at the houses of Parliament yesterday that policy needs to shift quickly to bring more opportunities to UK tech clusters and businesses.

She said: “In launching the report and our ‘Four Big Ideas’, we’re calling for Government to harness the huge potential of technology and the tech industry to unlock the potential in every region of the UK.

“Across the UK, we have numerous strong and individual tech ecosystems. By creating a digital and innovation policy which supports business and individuals in each region, we can support true social mobility and see real opportunity for businesses to grow alongside the fast-moving innovation within tech.

“In setting out ‘Four Big Ideas’ for the next government, we are ready to help ensure new technologies unlock the potential of every business, every person, and every place. If we want our sector and our local communities to go far, then we need to go together.”

The Parliamentary reception was hosted by Alex Davies-Jones MP, and the in-depth report set out four ways in which development of the tech industry can support social mobility and economic growth.

Alex Davies-Jones MP said: “Ensuring all people and businesses across the UK can participate in and benefit from a growing digital economy is vital to our shared success.

“This report from the UK Tech Cluster Group outlines four crucial ways in which Whitehall, local leadership and industry can better work together to help every place to reach their potential.

“New technologies can support and grow businesses in all corners of our country and offer opportunities for exciting new careers in every community. But we need to work together to ensure national policy encourages local innovation. I welcome this report at a crucial juncture for our economy.”

The report has identified ‘Four Big Ideas to Harness Tech’s Potential Across the UK’. They are:

– A globally competitive tech talent pipeline in every region: ensuring the economy delivers opportunity for all and drives social mobility by unlocking tech talent.

– Driving digital innovation at the foundations: ensuring every business can understand and benefit from the opportunities which tech brings.

– A UK Innovation Policy which gives every place a chance: by embedding digital tech at the heart of regional development strategies and incentivising collaboration.

– Mobilising ecosystems to help businesses to start and grow: by recognising that ‘place’ matters, and tech communities can underpin the success of devolution.

Katie Gallagher added: “We see this moment as a start of a conversation about how good practice from the grassroots can inform better delivery through a new partnership with Whitehall. We need to learn the lessons from the last decade of centralised tech policy and delivery through departmental silos, which has left so much potential untapped. As grassroots tech leaders, we look forward to working with Parliamentarians to put our plans into action.”