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2017 is set to be a defining year in politics and the Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (Pictfor) is more relevant than ever.

With the Digital Economy Bill going through Parliament, the progression of the UK’s cybersecurity strategy plans, the recent announcements on digital infrastructure and the growing influence of the tech sector, having a forum for discussion is more important than ever.

Pictfor will continue to be one of the most exciting All-Party Parliamentary Groups, and we are delighted to update you on our programme of events for 2017.

We are planning a series of events that will cover a number of strategic issues including connectivity and regulation, skills and diversity, cybersecurity, the internet of things and driving digital growth. Throughout the year this programme will allow Parliamentarians and industry members to understand the challenges the sector faces as well as the opportunities.

We’ve designed our events programme to tackle the most pressing themes coming up in 2017 and based it on feedback from our existing members including Parliamentarians, stakeholders and members from the internet, communications and technology sectors.

Pictfor’s 2017 events programme

In her speech at Pictfor’s 2016 Annual Dinner, Anne McElvoy, Senior Editor at the Economist, noted the twin challenges of globalisation and skills. She encouraged the tech sector to address digital exclusion and to focus on building digital solutions that support the needs of a broader range of citizens. Throughout 2017 Pictfor will return to these themes, as well as exploring the changing dynamics that Brexit will bring.

In January, Pictfor will host a CEO Forum roundtable exploring the UK’s opportunities to excel in the internet, communications and tech sector. Our members will discuss how we can create the best Digital Britain as we leave the EU’s Digital Single Market. We’ll be joined by Jacqueline Foster, the Deputy Leader of Conservative MEPs, and Malcolm Harbour CBE, a Director of the Digital Policy Alliance leading the Working Group that is making inputs to the EU Digital Single Market programme and a former Conservative MEP.

At our next event, also in January, we’ll cover how the UK can advance tech and digital skills and promote diversity, as part of the Nation’s Industrial Strategy. Pictfor Co-Chair and Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation Chi Onwurah MP will be hosting a panel made up of industry representatives including TechUK, Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee, a speaker from the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos and organisations dedicated to promoting skills including CodeFirst: Girls. In addition we will hear from students from Teesside University who have started their own campaign to encourage more women to study STEAM.

One of the central theories behind the growth of the internet is that it is liberating – that anyone can run a successful global business from anywhere. Yet in the UK, we continue to see the benefits of digital growth accrue mainly to London, despite 75 per cent of digital businesses being based outside the capital according to the Tech Nation 2016 report on Transforming UK Industries.

Our February panel will look at best practice solutions, from across the sector, on how all regions can deliver further growth in high Gross Value Added jobs. We’ll hear from Pictfor Co-Chair Matt Warman MP, Tech North’s Director Richard Gregory and Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy, plus speakers who have started successful digital businesses across the country on how the UK can drive local digital growth.

Later in the year we’ll cover further important topics including international trade and cybersecurity, the Internet of Things and privacy.

We’re planning a Pictfor Summer Reception and our Annual Dinner. Our parliamentary briefings will be on upcoming legislation and emerging issues.

We’re planning to hold our first events outside of Westminster with events set to take place in London’s Silicon Roundabout including a panel discussion as well as a young members’ reception for new and young members. In the summer, we’ll also be heading to Newcastle to hold an event on tech in the Northern Powerhouse.

We’re also planning to hold a special guest lecture horizon scanning the future of technology.

It’s set to be a busy productive year for the internet, communications and tech community and for Pictfor. Already we are exploring the possibility of holding two events in addition to those listed on the 2017 programme and we’ll update you on the latest developments on our plans in January.

How can you get involved?

To find out more about Pictfor or if you’re interested in attending any of these events please email events@pictfor.org.uk

You can download the full provisional 2017 programme here.





If you would like further information on this topic or about PICTFOR’s programme of events, please get in touch!

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