Weekly Events Blog: June 7th - June 15th | IPT

In the last week we held three virtual events covering topics such as supply chains, high streets and access to broadband. We were joined by a number of high-profile panellists including Owen Woodley from The Post Office as well as Stephen Timms MP, Chair of Work and Pensions Select Committee.

The Future of the High Street Post-COVID

On Monday 7 June, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘The Future of the High Street Post-COVID.’ The discussion was chaired by Matt Vickers MP, Chair, Future of Retail APPG and welcomed guest speakers Owen Woodley, Chief Commercial Officer, The Post Office, Damien Drumm, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, John Lewis and Professor Jens Nordfalt, Centre for Marketing, Business and Society, Bath University. The discussion focused on what steps can be taken the revive the high street and in person retail experiences as we begin to ease restrictions post-COVID.

Key discussion points:

  • Emphasis on the COVID-19 Pandemic significantly increasing digital retail and impacting physical stores, however shopping has also moved closer to home. Reconnecting residents with high streets and hometowns rather than traveling to larger centres
  • The reality that the sector was already going through a significant period of readjustment before the pandemic, closures of stores have accelerated trends that already existed 
  • The importance of physical stores to bring variety and offer choice to consumers, allowing for browsing, surprise purchasing and the social experience 

Achieving Access: The Broadband and 5G Rollout

On Tuesday 08 June, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Achieving Access: The Broadband and 5G Rollout.’ The discussion was chaired by Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Select Committee on Work and Pensions and member of the Broadband and Digital Communication APPG. The meeting welcomed guest speakers Stephen Speirs, Customer Experience Product Management Leader at Cisco and Karl Liriano, Head of Innovation, Strategy and Architecture at O2. The discussion focused on the challenges faced by the Government aim to connect 1m homes and businesses to 5G mobile networks by 2025. 

Key discussion points:

  • The Shared Rural Network is working well with the ambition to address the digital divide and create 5G access for the majority of the UK. Industry experts expect 90% of the population to have 5G access in the next five years
  • The majority of 5G deployment follows a top-down approach in which urban areas lead as these provide the largest gains. However, rural communities are often left behind in transitions, escalating the digital divide across the UK
  • What is the future beyond 5G? What technologies can be envisioned for the future and how can innovation be fostered whilst considering social, economic and environmental challenges that could be met by new technology?

Building Transparent Supply Chains

On Tuesday 15 June, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Building Transparent Supply Chains.’ The discussion was chaired by Fleur Anderson MP, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to Cabinet Office and welcomed guest speakers Mark Henderson, Director of Procurement and Supply Chain, Cadent Professor Naomi Brookes, Professor of Complex Programme Management, Warwick University and Professor Andy Crane, Centre for Business, Organisations and Society, Bath University. The discussion focused on what measures can be taken to bolster supply chains while improving transparency and navigating trade frictions.

Key discussion points:

  • The importance of supply chain transparency as a key focus within industry. Transparency should be pursued to analyse risk exposures, strengths and weaknesses within supply chains
  • How Brexit and the global pandemic has emphasised the importance of supply chains and how unprecedented situations like these have been a wakeup call for many companies who have had to gain a deeper understanding of their supply chains at every level
  • The issue of Modern Slavery and the need for a top-down approach; the power dynamics between different size businesses are important to consider. Larger organisations s at the top of the chain must set an ethical example to enforce good practice down the line