Brextrapolations: The FISP Brexit Brainstorm

By | September 16, 2016

Seeking pathways through the fog of uncertainty, FISP explored the potential Information Society impacts of the Brexitting process with a small seminar that brought together leaders in Law, Finance, Regulation, Politics, Policy Development, Communications and Business. The discussion will now further inform a FISP paper to be published here shortly.

Huge uncertainties make it impossible to deduce likely outcomes but the ground can be staked out with a range of extreme scenarios. The eventual Brexit outcomes will almost certainly rest somewhere between these polar positions.   The framework provided by SPC Network’s Richard Cadman did however alert all delegates to a very significant change in Government – the reintroduction of a Departmental remit for Industrial Strategy.

Renaming the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) signals a shift towards a more-interventionist policy approach with significant potential impacts for the independence of regulators.

It is far too early to sense the direction and force of an Industrial Strategy but early indications suggest that, far from ‘picking winners’, the rationale is to bolster the UK’s flow of Inward Investment. The oversight of Ofcom remains with DCMS but the BEIS appointment of Greg Clark MP with his background experience at Boston Consulting Group suggests that long-term digital infrastructure design issues (future-proofing, resilience and energy efficiency) may now get a far better hearing.

Concerns for the future policy directions of the EU served to highlight the pragmatic, moderating and constructive influence of the UK over the past two decades. This discussion also highlighted the contrast between Brexit motivations that were focused on local UK issues and the nature of digital communications that are inherently regional and global and a multi-sector enabler of economic growth.

Further commentary and links to the FISP seminar papers will be published shortly. Please register on this site for further updates.