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During this rapidly changing time, PICTFOR continues to operate as a forum for discussion between Parliamentarians, industry, academics and other stakeholders on strategic issues facing the tech sector and we are grateful for your continued interest and support.

As the largest and most active APPG, PICTFOR is finding innovative ways to continue providing a forum for the internet, communications and technology sectors and interested parliamentarians to communicate on pressing topics.

We will be keeping members updated on our activities in regular newsletters to further promote and engage with the tech sector during these unprecedented times.

February

PICTFOR had a busy start to 2020 hosting two hugely successful events, with more than 35 parliamentarians from both sides of both houses attending the meetings:

The Cyber Security breakfast was the first CEO Forum of the year and was very well attended by parliamentarian and industry leaders who gathered to discuss: How does the UK remain world leading in this sector? 

We were delighted to be joined by a senior representative of NCSC as our keynote speaker, who engaged in a detailed and robust discussion with all those present about how industry and Westminster could further support the UK in terms of cyber security both nationally and personally. We heard an interesting and diverse range of insights from industry leaders such as BT, Ericsson, Revolut and Capita.

At the end of February, PICTFOR hosted our Parliamentary Welcome Reception in the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion. As one of our largest annual events, we brought together parliamentarians with senior industry representatives from our membership and additional stakeholders such as Revolut, Ericsson, TikTok, DevelopHER and Facebook. This was a chance for PICTFOR’s members to network with new intake MPs following the election in December 2019, whilst engaging in strategic discussion on tech policy.

We were delighted for the evening to be sponsored by PICTFOR members Google and Internet Association who each detailed work they have been doing across the UK. The event was headlined by an address from Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman MP – a former PICTFOR Co-Chair – who discussed the ambition and dedication to technology that is at the core of the new Government.

  • Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure
  • Darren Jones MP, PICTFOR Co-Chair
  • Lord McNally, PICTFOR Treasurer
  • Ronan Harris, Vice President & MD UK & Ireland at Google
  • Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive, Demos
  • Daniel Dyball – Executive Director, Internet Association

March

Toward the end of March, PICTFOR hosted an open call for input asking our members and the wider tech community: How can the tech sector help to keep Britain’s SMEs going? How can the tech sector support SMEs, the nation, government and Parliament on covid-19?

The response we have received from the tech sector has been fantastic and we are extremely proud to be working with such an insightful, innovative and dynamic community – insights that span the PICTFOR community, from start-ups and charities like the Good Things Foundation, to our corporate members such as BT and Fujitsu.

PICTFOR are in the process of compiling these submissions to form a report which will be used to brief Government and Parliamentarians on how the sector is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to detail the further recommendations made by our industry stakeholders. The report will also be shared amongst those who contributed and on our website. If you would like to receive a copy please email the secretariat at admin@pictfor.org.uk.

April

PICTFOR is proud to be the largest and most active APPG, and we have been busy exploring options to continue this activity during these changing times. As the next stage of our COVID-19 response we will be hosting a virtual roundtable to discuss the report and to hear from Government and Parliamentarians on the submissions.

With changes to parliamentary activities and the legislative agenda, as well as the change in priorities for members due to the current pandemic, we have re-arranged some of our planned schedule of events to reflect the needs and priorities of our members, and include virtual events during the period of lockdown. Full details of our updated virtual events programme can be found here.

May

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures put in place to cope with the spread of the virus, PICTFOR will hold a CEO Forum roundtable event in May on the theme of ‘Investment’ – discussing how industry and parliament can go on investing in vital tech infrastructure in the wake of the current crisis. This event will be open to our corporate level members and will involve Ministerial insights from DCMS.

June

Having consulted our industry members and parliamentary Vice-Chairs, we have decided to hold either our Connectivity roundtable or our Online Harms event in June – as a group we want to be able to respond to the change in the legislative agenda with a well-timed event – discussing either the online harms bill or what the industry and Westminster have learnt from the rapid switch to remote working due to social distancing measures, and asking how parliament and industry can further collaborate to ensure we all have access to the digital world, keeping us connected.

Once the lockdown period has ended and Parliament returns, we plan to hold a number of ‘in-person’ events through the year, as originally planned, and we look forward to seeing you at these meetings.

Since the outbreak, we have all been adapting to new way of working – all across the tech sector we have seen bold responses to this challenging period. PICTFOR will continue to provide a forum in which these responses, and strategic issues facing the sector, can be discussed. For more information on our events, to discuss membership or any of the initiatives detailed in this newsletter, please email the secretariat at admin@pictfor.org.uk. 

You can view PICTFOR’s 2019 finances here: PICTFOR – 2019 Final Approved Accounts (updated logo)

Please note: This is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All- Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in this report are those of the group.

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

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