Skip to main content

British Intergovernment Services Authority

Volume 571: debated on Monday 25 November 2013

Other countries are increasingly seeking support from the British Government to help them to design and deliver better civil infrastructure. Britain, with a combination of Government expertise and industrial capability, is well-placed to provide this support. And we are establishing Government to Government (G2G) arrangements with other countries to do so. These G2G arrangements offer significant benefits to the countries with which we are working. They also offer valuable benefits to Britain. They can open new export opportunities for British companies; help foreign countries to develop infrastructure we would like them to have; and build stronger bilateral relationships. They particularly support our prosperity agenda.

As with any major contract, these G2G deals can carry commercial risk, and they require specialist private sector commercial skills. To manage risk and to enable the Government to bring in the skills needed for successful delivery of G2G programmes the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is establishing a new Government-owned company, the British Intergovernment Services Authority Ltd, or BISA.

BISA is already established as a private limited company. It is not yet trading. But over the coming months, and as G2G business flow requires, we intend that it will grow into a fully operational company. In my official capacity I hold BISA’s shares. The shareholding will pass automatically to my successors. BISA will have its own chief executive and board. The chief executive and board members will between them have the range of business, programme and international political skills required for success. The chief executive will be accountable to Parliament. The work of BISA will be overseen by a cross-Whitehall panel, which will provide advice to me as shareholder. BISA will be wholly funded by revenue from work it does for foreign Governments. BISA will establish subsidiary companies to deliver individual G2G programmes.

BISA is established under the Companies Act 2006. As a limited liability company it will contain its own legal and financial liabilities. So these liabilities will not be underwritten by the British Government. It will apply corporate best practice, in particular in the areas of risk management, financial management, transparency, recruitment, bribery and corruption and human rights.

We expect BISA to operate across a range of different sectors. If BISA works on programmes involving export of licensable goods it will be subject to the same export controls as any other company exporting from the United Kingdom.

BISA is a resource for the whole of Government. It can support other Government Departments’ export efforts through: assisting the development of G2G opportunities; structuring G2G deals; developing and managing G2G contracts; and provision of specialist staff.