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UK Gov attempts to modernise telco law with new hire

Cutting Red Tape

The UK Government is advertising a new position to ensure telco legislation is modernised following Brexit; knowing about the telco industry is not necessary though.

The new position, Head of Telecoms EU Exit Policy and Legislation, will be located in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and will be responsible for running a team of six, with the mandate of modernizing the legislative environment for the telco industry. Part of this will include translating the European Electronic Communications Code into British.

As you would expect for such a complex and ever-evolving, the perfect candidate would have years of experience in the TMT space, with a firm grasp on current and future trends. Or maybe not. ‘Knowledge of telecoms would be welcome but is not essential’ according to the job description.

Perhaps we have discovered why the UK government finds it so hard to effectively regulate the current telco environment, as well as writing rules which offer freedom to be creative for the future digital environment; it isn’t necessarily hiring people who know the industry.

The telco industry has been the subject of much disruption over the last few years, directly influencing the fortunes and failures of other segments as well. Considering digital will form the foundations of any and all successful businesses in the future, the importance of suitable legislation, which is adaptable enough for future change but stringent enough to ensure accountability today, cannot be underplayed. This will be an immensely complicated, and of course, a thankless job but the best way to safeguard success would surely be to hire someone who knows the industry inside-out.

Of course, the new Head of Telecoms EU Exit Policy and Legislation should not be blamed. Some might argue the inappropriate appointment of individuals rises right to the top of the pile. Take our Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock as an example.

Hancock briefly worked for his family’s computer software company, before finding employment as an economist at the Bank of England, specialising in the housing market. He then moved onto becoming an economic adviser to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, before being elected as an MP. During his time as an MP, Hancock’s work has focused on social housing, skills and energy, before being appointed to his current position.

Again, it would be unfair to blame Hancock for his rise to his current position as he is a career politician specialising in handshakes, smiles and PR quips, but unfortunately he does not seem qualified for the role. We’re sure he is a perfectly charming and intelligent individual, but working for his family’s software business, during a period which is incomparable to the current digital landscape, does not provide enough experience to make him a suitable leader for the UK’s grand digital ambitions.

Some might also point out that the role of an MP is to surround themselves with experts and collect as many opinions as possible. This is a reasonable thing to assume, but if the Minister of State for Digital and Culture (who has no or little experience in telco) is being advised by a Head of Telecoms EU Exit Policy and Legislation (who has no or little experience in telco), there might be a problem. What we have is a failure in the system, and individuals who don’t plan on sticking around long enough to fix it.

The position is still open for applications, so we do hope there are a few candidates with an appropriate level of experience in the telco space applying. That said, we remain pessimistic considering the government’s ability to make a glorious mess of most things associated with progress and creative thinking.

If you do fancy applying for this position, we’ve copied some of the other essential criteria with our take on what the descriptions actually mean.

  • Seeing the big picture (As long as not looking past end of current government)
  • Delivering at pace (Ignoring public sector tendencies, you don’t have long so work fast)
  • Collaborating and partnering (Ignoring the UK’s divorce from EU)
  • Leading and communicating (Through documents which are at least 25,000 words and incomprehensible to the general public)
  • Making effective decisions (Ignoring UK Government tendencies, you don’t have long so made good choices)

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