by Barry McKeown
In an article by James Purnell, in the FT of 15th August, the former Labour UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport comments on the Whitehall rumour that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to be abolished. If so, then how shall this disruption affect the Spectrum Auction by OFCOM and furthermore what of OFCOM itself and the forthcoming New Communications Act (currently too focused on cyber security), which Minister and which Parliamentary Select Committee shall have oversight here?
Currently there is a known imbalance between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and CMS. But given the spectacular success of the Olympics, the governance of sport and the significant financial legacy being sought from the “sport” function by the government, then it is obvious that some high level visibility and consideration by Ministers is underway but whether this is the correct step needs to be carefully thought through into an integrated and coherent strategy, which can be put in place quickly, as opposed to just woolly statements from Ministers about the “UK leading the way” and “being ahead of country X”.
Accordingly, it is worthwhile reviewing the wise words of the Chairman of the FCC, previously highlighted in this blog, whereby he has identified the trends relating to Healthcare and Education as being given special attention in the US administration for cooperation and coordination with other US Departments of State and their Agencies such that they may be integrated into the communication era - surely sport has a role to play here also.
In Communication Technologies there is absolutely no reason or justification for the UK settling for third place behind Team USA and Team China or having third rate regulators such as OFCOM.
The real question here is therefore - is the UK Government prepared to settle for third place?