BT exec to run government AI and tech regulator
BT’s group director of regulatory affairs is to chair a new government ‘Regulatory Horizons Council’, as first reported by Sky News.
Cathryn Ross will remain in her position at BT while leading the new public body.
Still in the process of being set up, the new body will advise the government on regulatory reform needed to support the introduction of technological innovation.
According to a statement written by Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Chris Skidmore in June of last year, it will “complement and draw upon existing horizon-scanning activity across government to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.”
The Council will advise on where greater public dialogue is needed to build trust in how innovation is regulated, he said.
It will develop a regulatory system for the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ including in sectors such as artificial intelligence, robotics, HealthTech and green alternatives.
It is also hoped to improve the UK’s influence “by establishing a partnership with the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop regulatory approaches for new technologies.”
Ross was formerly CEO of the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat), the independent economic regulator for the water and waste water sector in England and Wales.
She has previously worked across a number of different sectors advising on economic, regulatory and competition issues.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial said that the new Regulatory Horizons Council “will play an instrumental role in ensuring the UK has the most agile and innovation-friendly set of regulations anywhere in the world.”
The spokesperson added that an appointment announcement would be made “soon” and there were “strict codes in place” to prevent conflicts of interest which could arise from a chair holding dual roles.
Business secretary Andrea Leadsom reportedly approved appointment to chair.
Leadsome wrote this Sunday in The Times that the business department had become known for close relationships with a group of representative organisations which in her view was “too small”.
From today, regular meetings will take place with an expanded group which includes trade association for UK tech companies, techUK.