A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Roadphone'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 Roadphone 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
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
John Wand, managing director
Two-way radios give the UK’s workforce
the power to communicate
Founded in 1948 and based in Bourne, Lincolnshire,
Roadphone NRB is a company providing critical life-safety
radio solutions. They are invisible, but vital to the safe
operations of airports, nuclear power stations and seaports.
To ensure these solutions are not overly vulnerable to exigent
circumstances like network downtime or power outages,
Roadphone NRB provides quality digital radio communication
systems integrating layers of resilience to ensure they are “always
available”. This is an attractive option for key components of
this country’s critical infrastructure, bringing success to both
Roadphone NRB, and the organisations who utilise it.
What’s at stake
Critical radio communications are not often understood by the general population.
They are discrete, but are nevertheless vital for the safety, efficiency and
maintenance of infrastructure. At Roadphone NRB, our key areas of focus are
important infrastructural hubs such as seaports, airports, power stations, large
high-capacity buildings and events management. In addition to facilitating basic
operational communication, we also provide critical support. For example, when
normal communications break down, be that for technical reasons or because of
power outages, our installations constitute a last-resort channel of communication,
ultimately ensuring the life safety of everyone affected by the breakdown. We also
try to prevent against false alarms, which could cost the economy millions. As part
of our broader solutions, Roadphone NRB’s systems also facilitate safe evacuations.
»Managing director: John Wand
»Established in 1948
»Based in Bourne, Lincolnshire
»Services: Design, installation
and maintenance of two-way
radio systems; two-way radio
hire to large-scale public events
»No. of employees: 30
Roadphone NRB
In essence, we are in the business of
making sure our clients’ operations
remain as unimpeded and safe
Because of the stakes we are dealing
with, quality and resilience are crucial
traits we strive for. We want our
systems to be unyielding and able
to cope with whatever circumstance
comes our way. For this purpose, radio
is perfect. Conventional networks like
mobile phone service operators and
internet service providers are prone to
disconnecting and are at the mercy
of too many uncontrollable factors.
Resilient radio communication, on the
other hand, has far fewer hurdles to
leap over and fewer mediums to pass
through; it is, in other words, under
the immediate control of the client.
We even defend our clients against
power outages by designing, installing
and maintaining built-in back-up
Additionally, Roadphone NRB’s hire
division provide communications
solutions to the events industry.
Although these deployments are
temporary in nature, they share the
same core values as our permanent
installations – ensuring quality,
resilience and reliability, and providing
excellent service. When an event
such as the Grand National, Uefa
Champions League Final or French
Open Tennis is at stake, our unrivalled
knowledge of international events
means we’re well placed to assist and
advise event organisers on the best
way to structure their communications.
Ensuring high standards
To be a successful part of this industry,
we believe it’s necessary to be in
possession of some core values. Firstly,
we must be ethical to a degree that
other companies sometimes are not.
This is because the well-being and
safety of so many hinges on getting
our systems right. We therefore
ensure our installations are highly
and imperviously functional, come
what may. Such a sentiment may
sound superfluous, but there are
companies who’ve offered vastly
inferior services, despite paying lip
service to the contrary – which can do
obvious reputational damage to the
sector. Distinguishing ourselves from
these lower-grade services has been a
Secondly, we pay close attention to the
well-being of our staff. We place high
value on the abilities and aptitude our
staff bring to the table and treat them
with the respect they deserve. Doing
so has meant our labour turnover
In terms of growth, we can speak
principally of two areas: our services
and our international presence. Right
now, we have a branded package
called “Endurance Technology®”:
a communications solution custom-
made for each client based upon
their needs. It utilises the most
modern and resilient digital radio
communication, as well as components
which ensure its functionality in even
the most trying of circumstances. The
aggregate effect of this package is
more efficient communication within
Some of the UK’s
biggest events rely
on two-way radios to
operate safely
Quality and
resilience are
crucial traits
we strive for
Highlighting best practice
the organisation, safer emergency
systems and more control for the
client. Growing abroad is also an aim
of ours, which is why – in addition to
our office in Paris – we are expanding
into Barcelona, Belgium and Northern
Europe, with our first project in
Hong Kong successfully completed in
Challenges to surmount
Lying ahead of us are challenges,
though. Radio technology is, like all
technology, updating constantly,
and so we have to remain ahead of
the curve. One of the major changes
in this respect is the convergence
manufacturers are engaging in
between broadband (that is, internet
and 4G LTE mobile phone services)
and narrowband (in other words,
digital radio communication) – the
latter being that with which we are
most concerned. It’s necessary for us
to make sure this newer technology
remains seamlessly integrated with
our systems. Another challenge is
making it clear to clients, the public
and influential people the importance
of narrowband radio communications,
especially in a world where the world
wide web eclipses ever more industries.
In tandem with this digital drive, too,
we must place cyber security high on
our list ofpriorities.
This brings us to a broader political
problem. The government places
too little importance on radio
communications. Underestimation
of its significance in these circles is
endemic, and we’d like to see this
change. At present, the sector is seen
as something pertaining only to taxis
and other non-essential parts of the
economy. We want to emphasise
instead the indispensable nature of our
systems and others like them. Without
critical radio communications, basic
utilities would be greatly hindered,
emergency services stalled, industry,
construction, public transport networks
and commercial enterprise hugely
slowed down. In their absence, safety
too would be jeopardised.
With that said, we do consult
frequently with Ofcom. In order
to promote the use of radio
communications, we provide the
organisation with valued input and
information on best practice within
the industry. We also inform them on
how best to utilise the radio spectrum,
an area in which there are currently
inadequacies in need of improvement.
Right now, similar bandwidths are
not being used to their full capacity,
particularly in London – and it is
primarily this issue that we are pushing
most. We believe that, with proper
use of the spectrum, more businesses
If we can properly communicate
the benefits of PMR (private mobile
radio) and encourage Ofcom to better
understand how to make full use of
the spectrum, yet more success will
come our way. Nevertheless, radio
is a fundamental and ineradicable
technology that’s here to stay. Its utility
has no expiry date, and – because of
this – we can always expect custom for
the crucial services we provide.
Without critical
basic utilities
would be greatly
services stalled,
public transport
networks and
hugely slowed
Headquarters in Bourne,
Lincolnshire, provide
a stable platform for
organic growth

This article was sponsored by Roadphone. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister