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Monitor Group

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether any Minister or official in his Department and its predecessors has had (a) meetings, (b) communications and (c) other contacts with the Monitor Group in the last five years. (295328)

[holding answer 26 October 2009]: According to departmental records there has been infrequent contact between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (and its previously named Departments) and the Monitor Group, whose headquarters are based in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Department's main contact with the Monitor Group has been with the Foresight ‘Horizon Scanning Centre’, an initiative operated within the Government Office for Science (formerly the Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Trade and Industry).

On 3 March 2005 the Horizon Scanning Centre issued an invitation to tender to a number of organisations, including Monitor Group Europe, for a project seeking research and other support to write the ‘Sigma Scan’: a collection of papers looking forward at emerging trends, potential new issues, opportunities and threats, and the possible implications.

On 15 March 2005, Monitor Group Europe wrote to the Department indicating they did not wish to proceed to tender.

In addition, a Director of the Foresight programme (of which the Horizon Scanning Centre is part), Professor Sandy Thomas, met a representative of the Monitor Group, in 2008, for an introductory meeting about Foresight's plans to develop a new communications strategy. However, no further meetings were held, and Monitor was not subsequently involved in development of the strategy.

The Department received a letter from the Monitor Group in 2005 relating to a general inquiry on the allocation of funding in the education sector and a request in 2008 from the Group's Munich office for information on the UK building sector.

We have no records of any Minister meeting with the Monitor Group on departmental business.