Centre for Competitiveness N I

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Centre for Competitiveness N I's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Centre for Competitiveness N I is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.cforc.org

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES
The increasing numbers of cases of
misdistribution and of exorbitant
charges that pass across my desk are a
direct result of local councils ignoring
government guidance, and it’s clear
why – it’s the exclusivity that’s the
problem. When probate genealogists
work competitively, they are keen to
monitor the work of rivals for errors and
omissions, helping to ensure accurate
research results. What’s more, when
they work in competition, they are of
course also motivated to lower theirfees.
Working towards reform
I didn’t arrive at this analysis overnight.
It is the result of four years’ research.
We took advice from specialist public
law, probate and competition law
counsel, and had extensive discussions
with chief executives, heads of legal
departments and senior auditors in local
government. Perhaps more importantly,
on QC’s advice, we sent Freedom of
Information Act requests to hundreds of
local authorities in England and Wales
in order to build up a detailed picture
of what was happening andwhy.
We’ve published our research findings,
as available on our website under
“Fairness Campaigns.”Questions have
been raised in the House of Commons
and we have made representations to
the Government Legal Department,
asking them to reinforce their guidance.
We have also devised a practical
solution to the problem, designed
to ensure that every intestacy case is
dealt with correctly, whatever its value,
while maintaining competition and
oversight. Of course, it cannot match
the effectiveness of a BVD referral,
but when a case cannot be referred to
BVD, it’s a safe option. According to the
Empty Homes Network “it is hard to see
the downside for public authorities and
beneficiaries” in the solution we suggest.
When our industry began to change
in 2007, we responded by focusing
on concrete, quantifiable solutions
that enhanced our reputation for
probity and reliability. We’ve taken
the same approach to the other
challenges we’ve met across the
years.If procedures are questionable,
we expose them. When something is
unlawful, we challenge it. Facts and
fairness matter. Probate research is
unregulated, but there is no need to
let it degenerate into lawlessness.
If procedures
are
questionable,
we expose
them. When
something is
unlawful, we
challenge it
Recognising excellence
through history prize at
University of Suffolk
29CENTRE FOR COMPETITIVENESS N I |
CIVIL SOCIETY
Director and Chief Executive
BobBarbour
Belfast City Hall
The Centre for Competitiveness is an independent, private
sector, not-for-profit, non-partisan, membership organisation.
Established in 1990 in partnership with seed funding support
from the Department of the Economy and the International Fund
for Ireland, its mission is to actively support the development
of an internationally competitive economy in Northern Ireland
through innovation, productivity and quality excellence. Director
and Chief Executive Bob Barbour tells the
Review
more.
The centre is governed by a private sector board of directors and is self-funding through
membership and the provision of services. Over the years, we have established a
portfolio of unique international strategic partnerships including universities to
support our activities to ensure that our services to members and clients are at the
leading edge in competitiveness principles and practices. We are staffed by a small
resource pool of highly qualified professionals from senior positions from industry
who deliver our services to the public, private and the voluntary sectors.
Our background
Northern Ireland is relatively less competitive than the other UK regions because
of historical and current difficulties dominated by politics, size of the public
sector and location. The province receives relatively large income transfers from
central government, so residents can enjoy the same living standards as other
parts in the more competitive regions of the same country. An economic baseline
analysis in 1995 carried out by Michael Porter of Harvard University summarised
the economy in Northern Ireland as dominated by the public sector with an
FACTS ABOUT
CENTRE FOR
COMPETITIVENESS N I
»Director and Chief Executive:
Bob Barbour
»Founded in 1990
»Based in Belfast
»Services: Innovation,
productivity and EFQM quality
excellence
»No. of employees: 7, with 8
associates
Centre for
Competitiveness N I
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | CENTRE FOR COMPETITIVENESS N I
insular, conservative culture driving a
dependency on government, leading
to a lack of innovation and creativity
and entrepreneurship. This was
underpinned by a class-dominated
education system that provided
university education to a selectnumber.
Since the Good Friday Agreement
in 1998 the region has come a long
way through enabling strategic
investments in infrastructure with some
restructuring of the public sector by the
Northern Ireland Executive Programme
for Government. There have been
some significant headline successes;
however, many of the underlying issues
impacting the region’s competitiveness
remain and need urgent attention
against the backdrop of the fast-
changing economic world order
impacted by advances in technology,
speed, customer expectations, culture,
society and regulation.
The current lack of a functioning
executive is a major impediment to the
proper functioning of the economy, and
there are currently no economic policies
and strategies for energy, infrastructure
and other key economic drivers to
provide the strategic direction of travel
for growth and competitiveness. There
is a need to continue to drive structural
change within the public sector and
reduce the amount of duplication in the
provision of some services to industry
where no market failure exists. This
policy alone would promote a self-
dependent, healthier and more robust
private sector. It is important to stress the
support that the centre can contribute in
respect of productivity, innovation and
quality excellence to the private, public
and voluntary sectors, and the need for
this support within NorthernIreland.
Overcoming challenges
Separated by sea and air from the
mainland and the rest of Europe,
Northern Ireland must compete in an
environment where energy and the cost
of transportation are higher requiring
goods and services to be brought in,
converted and shipped out again. While
there have been some notable exporting
successes recently by a few Northern
Ireland companies, there is much more
to do to encourage businesses to move
outside of their comfort zone in the
local market, manage risk and expand
and grow outside of Ireland and the
UK and into global markets.
While the measurement of
competitiveness can be challenging,
and there is no internationally
agreed definition with numerous
methodologies and indicators, the
Centre lists productivity growth at the
level of the firm as one of its main
fundamental measures for business
and economic performance.
We have a focus with our limited
resources on assessing organisation
performance against the world-class
Queen’s University
Belfast
Titanic Belfast, and
Harland and Wolff
The current
lack of a
functioning
executive is a
major
impediment to
the proper
functioning of
the economy
31CENTRE FOR COMPETITIVENESS N I |
CIVIL SOCIETY
EFQM Business Management
Performance Framework. This
framework identifies gaps against
standards for leadership, people
and culture management, business
processes, customer and impact
on society. The international
competitiveness focus area is also
supported using additional mechanisms,
tools and techniques developed with
our international partners to embed
sustainable innovation, agility and
good practice within any organisation
including the tools and techniques
to develop individual road maps for
specific organisations’ journey to
Industry 4.0 and beyond.
Embracing our potential
A future driver of international
competitiveness and growth in
Northern Ireland is linked to university
education and skills. In this critical area
of investment, government spending
on university grants and institutional
support is being reduced. Due to
headcount restrictions Northern Ireland
has always had to export many of its
brightest and best overseas for their
university education because of the
lack of placements with the result that
these graduates seldom ever return to
contribute to the local economy.
As in other parts of the UK, Northern
Ireland is going through a period of
cultural transformation in business with
technology impacting all of our lives
including the transition to digitalisation
of the infrastructure, decarbonisation
and the decentralisation of energy
supply towards the emergence of a
new economic framework and changes
to regulation.
These changes require leadership and
risk taking by a reinstated Northern
Ireland Executive to bring clarity on the
way ahead for society, business and
the region. A recent survey published
in the Consumer Insight Report
reflects a worrying sense of pessimism
among consumers in Northern Ireland
and the prospects for the economy,
some of which is exacerbated by the
uncertainty of Brexit, energy bills and
the cost of food, which ranked among
the most common worries.
Looking ahead, the challenges facing
the Northern Ireland economy are
the same as those facing other parts
of the UK while coming from a
“behindsituation”.
These emerging challenges have
relevance to what we are seeking
to provide solutions to with support
from our international partners and
through the application of the EFQM
Business Management Performance
Framework underpinning our mission of
assisting, encouraging and supporting
international competitiveness in Northern
Ireland now and in years tocome.
As in other parts
of the UK,
Northern Ireland
is going through
a period of
cultural
transformation
in business
»STRUCTURAL AND OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES
»Managing demographic diversity with people working longer in
multicultural environments while having their own values and
thinking differently.
»Self-organising and self-managing systems with enlightened
organisation structures and practices.
»Intensified demand for skills and the effect of automation with the
creation of new roles and the demand for new skills, competencies
and experience.
»The rise of technology and digital disruption and technological
advancement, and with it ever-faster communication.
»A sharing economy and trust sharing moves us beyond ownership
towards the collaborative economy powered by the ability to share
rather than own.
»Scarcity of resources and competition for the same strategic
resources increasing environmental responsibility and accountability
still further.
»Meeting ever-increasing regulation and preparing to compete
under new regulatory regimes.
»Geopolitical uncertainty and localisation in the global economy
such as shifts in attitudes, protection of local markets, east vs west
and instability in commodity prices.
»Ever-increasing environmental crisis and the importance for
organisations to adopt circular economy practices reducing their
carbon footprint and the promotion of good corporate citizenship.
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | CENTRE FOR COMPETITIVENESS N I
insular, conservative culture driving a
dependency on government, leading
to a lack of innovation and creativity
and entrepreneurship. This was
underpinned by a class-dominated
education system that provided
university education to a selectnumber.
Since the Good Friday Agreement
in 1998 the region has come a long
way through enabling strategic
investments in infrastructure with some
restructuring of the public sector by the
Northern Ireland Executive Programme
for Government. There have been
some significant headline successes;
however, many of the underlying issues
impacting the region’s competitiveness
remain and need urgent attention
against the backdrop of the fast-
changing economic world order
impacted by advances in technology,
speed, customer expectations, culture,
society and regulation.
The current lack of a functioning
executive is a major impediment to the
proper functioning of the economy, and
there are currently no economic policies
and strategies for energy, infrastructure
and other key economic drivers to
provide the strategic direction of travel
for growth and competitiveness. There
is a need to continue to drive structural
change within the public sector and
reduce the amount of duplication in the
provision of some services to industry
where no market failure exists. This
policy alone would promote a self-
dependent, healthier and more robust
private sector. It is important to stress the
support that the centre can contribute in
respect of productivity, innovation and
quality excellence to the private, public
and voluntary sectors, and the need for
this support within NorthernIreland.
Overcoming challenges
Separated by sea and air from the
mainland and the rest of Europe,
Northern Ireland must compete in an
environment where energy and the cost
of transportation are higher requiring
goods and services to be brought in,
converted and shipped out again. While
there have been some notable exporting
successes recently by a few Northern
Ireland companies, there is much more
to do to encourage businesses to move
outside of their comfort zone in the
local market, manage risk and expand
and grow outside of Ireland and the
UK and into global markets.
While the measurement of
competitiveness can be challenging,
and there is no internationally
agreed definition with numerous
methodologies and indicators, the
Centre lists productivity growth at the
level of the firm as one of its main
fundamental measures for business
and economic performance.
We have a focus with our limited
resources on assessing organisation
performance against the world-class
Queen’s University
Belfast
Titanic Belfast, and
Harland and Wolff
The current
lack of a
functioning
executive is a
major
impediment to
the proper
functioning of
the economy
31CENTRE FOR COMPETITIVENESS N I |
CIVIL SOCIETY
EFQM Business Management
Performance Framework. This
framework identifies gaps against
standards for leadership, people
and culture management, business
processes, customer and impact
on society. The international
competitiveness focus area is also
supported using additional mechanisms,
tools and techniques developed with
our international partners to embed
sustainable innovation, agility and
good practice within any organisation
including the tools and techniques
to develop individual road maps for
specific organisations’ journey to
Industry 4.0 and beyond.
Embracing our potential
A future driver of international
competitiveness and growth in
Northern Ireland is linked to university
education and skills. In this critical area
of investment, government spending
on university grants and institutional
support is being reduced. Due to
headcount restrictions Northern Ireland
has always had to export many of its
brightest and best overseas for their
university education because of the
lack of placements with the result that
these graduates seldom ever return to
contribute to the local economy.
As in other parts of the UK, Northern
Ireland is going through a period of
cultural transformation in business with
technology impacting all of our lives
including the transition to digitalisation
of the infrastructure, decarbonisation
and the decentralisation of energy
supply towards the emergence of a
new economic framework and changes
to regulation.
These changes require leadership and
risk taking by a reinstated Northern
Ireland Executive to bring clarity on the
way ahead for society, business and
the region. A recent survey published
in the Consumer Insight Report
reflects a worrying sense of pessimism
among consumers in Northern Ireland
and the prospects for the economy,
some of which is exacerbated by the
uncertainty of Brexit, energy bills and
the cost of food, which ranked among
the most common worries.
Looking ahead, the challenges facing
the Northern Ireland economy are
the same as those facing other parts
of the UK while coming from a
“behindsituation”.
These emerging challenges have
relevance to what we are seeking
to provide solutions to with support
from our international partners and
through the application of the EFQM
Business Management Performance
Framework underpinning our mission of
assisting, encouraging and supporting
international competitiveness in Northern
Ireland now and in years tocome.
As in other parts
of the UK,
Northern Ireland
is going through
a period of
cultural
transformation
in business
»STRUCTURAL AND OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES
»Managing demographic diversity with people working longer in
multicultural environments while having their own values and
thinking differently.
»Self-organising and self-managing systems with enlightened
organisation structures and practices.
»Intensified demand for skills and the effect of automation with the
creation of new roles and the demand for new skills, competencies
and experience.
»The rise of technology and digital disruption and technological
advancement, and with it ever-faster communication.
»A sharing economy and trust sharing moves us beyond ownership
towards the collaborative economy powered by the ability to share
rather than own.
»Scarcity of resources and competition for the same strategic
resources increasing environmental responsibility and accountability
still further.
»Meeting ever-increasing regulation and preparing to compete
under new regulatory regimes.
»Geopolitical uncertainty and localisation in the global economy
such as shifts in attitudes, protection of local markets, east vs west
and instability in commodity prices.
»Ever-increasing environmental crisis and the importance for
organisations to adopt circular economy practices reducing their
carbon footprint and the promotion of good corporate citizenship.

www.cforc.org

The Parliamentary Review Publication, in which this article originally appeared, contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster