E RADAR has welcomed the launch of the new Digital Policy Alliance (DPA) as a 'major step' towards helping the UK's online economy get smarter and more competitive by stimulating fresh thinking and joined-up leadership at a time when it's needed the most.
Launched on Friday, the DPA is the UK's new policy voice of the digital, Internet and technology sector, forged from the Information Society Alliance (EURIM). With the ever changing priorities of a fast-moving online economy, the new group aims to help show government the unprecedented potential of digital innovations to build a stronger economy and more efficient and inclusive public services.
The DPA is a not-for-profit organisation that informs public policy through expert reports, briefings for parliamentarians and officials and dissemination and networking events. It works with industry, charity, trade association and observer members to help identify solutions to policy, regulatory and legislative problems impacting UK competitiveness and to help ensure taxpayers.
DPA is already "working to provide expert solutions to broadband roll-out through the sharing of existing local authority infrastructure" and has brought in ex-Downing Street adviser, Sean Worth, and Lord Erroll, a cross bench peer with experience in the technology sector, to help oversee its policy work.
Edward Phelps, Secretary General of the new DPA, said:
"Government urgently needs to review its strategy for broadband roll-out. Government has failed to inject competition into the broadband market leaving many innovative providers unable to offer their services. The current approach would appear completely at odds with the localism agenda.
The Alliance is the only organisation which brings together industry experts with charities, civil servants and politicians to show Government the unprecedented potential for public good that digital technologies offer."
Sean Worth added:
"I believe the next big digital revolution will happen in public policy governments using powerful digital technologies to promote growth and jobs, while at the same time building a better networked and inclusive society. Broadband is a big part of realising that vision, so I'm delighted to be working with the Digital Policy Alliance on this crucial issue."
Broadband roll out is one of several UK critical issues that stops companies from competing across a global economy. The fragmented EU Single Market is preventing up to 60 per cent of cross border e-commerce, UK employers are reporting a lack of IT and business skills from school and college leavers, and cyber crime and financial fraud continue to rise. With around 20 years of the 'commercial' Internet behind us, it's felt we need to learn from our past mistakes and get smarter in how we take the next generation forward. This means stronger, more flexible policy strategies that can respond quickly to the challenges of the digital environment.
E RADAR's Will Roebuck said:
"The British economy can no longer afford us to spend time discussing issues without taking action quickly. The UK has many clever organisations working in their own areas of expertise around technologies and how we are using them. The Digital Policy Alliance is an effective way of channeling their good work into the debates and decision-making streams that matter without treading on anybody's feet."
E RADAR's Dr Daniel Dresner is already supporting some of the Alliance's work by working with Joint Masters students from Manchester University's School of Computer Science and Manchester Business School. New students will be providing fresh thinking on information governance issues that members of the Digital Policy Alliance have raised in the Autumn.