Acting as shareholder for, and leading the establishment of, UK government’s arm’s length bodies
UKGI manages a portfolio of 27 businesses (including financial institutions managed by UKFI) in which the government has a shareholding, working with more than 10 different government departments and management teams to help these businesses optimise their performance to operate as commercially as possible.
British Business Bank
The British Business Bank is a government-owned economic development bank that makes finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, allowing those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. The Bank manages the UK government’s access to finance programmes for smaller businesses within a single commercially-minded institution.
It is not a bank in a conventional sense. It does not finance businesses directly, but instead provides funds and guarantees to private sector partners, enabling them to finance a greater number of smaller businesses (either through debt or equity). It uses economic evidence to design programmes that address market failures affecting smaller businesses across the economy and to improve smaller businesses’ awareness of the finance options available to them.
UKGI was instrumental in the establishment of the British Business Bank. The role included advising ministers on the rationale and options for creating a single business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The new Bank combined existing teams and new teams recruited to provide expertise in innovative areas such as wholesale solutions. UKGI also led on state aid approval for the Bank and its programmes and on the appointment of initial Board members for the Bank.
While the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the sole shareholder of the British Business Bank, UKGI has a specific team made up of colleagues with both private sector and civil service backgrounds which leads on the British Business Bank’s governance and the shareholder relationship on behalf of BEIS.
UK Government Investments also lead on advising ministers on the establishment and monitoring of the British Business Bank’s targets and performance against its strategic objectives, in collaboration with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Post Office Limited
Post Office Limited (POL) is the company that manages and runs the UK’s network of 11,600 post offices. It is a commercial business operating in competitive markets and the network provides access to a range of services including mails, financial, government and telephony.
UKGI oversees government’s 100% shareholding in Post Office on behalf of BEIS, which involves a range of activities. UKGI holds a seat on the POL Board and Audit and Risk Committee, and oversees and participates in corporate governance activities such as the approval of the business’s longer term strategy, executive and non-executive recruitment, and director remuneration. The shareholder team monitors financial and operational performance of the business against that long term strategy, holding the business to account in delivering against its commercial and policy objectives. UKGI are also responsible for ensuring the business is provided with sufficient investment and subsidy funding to achieve its target of being commercially sustainable in the longer term, whilst meeting its social obligations, particularly around minimum network coverages requirements. Finally, UKGI advises ministers on both commercial and policy issues, supporting them in Parliament and with the wider set of stakeholders who have an interest in Post Office matters.
Ordnance Survey Limited (OS) is Great Britain’s National Mapping Agency. It collects, maintains and distributes the most accurate and up to date geographic information for Great Britain. The paper maps for which it is perhaps best known only account for a relatively small section of its activities. As the digital economy grows it is increasingly involved in the development of new technologies such as drones, autonomous vehicles and smart cities as well as providing an incubator for new data businesses.
UKGI acts as the shareholder on behalf of the BEIS Secretary of State – there is a small team in UKGI that deals with day to day governance and financial issues and one of our executive directors sits on the OS Board as a Non-Executive Director. Alongside providing core corporate governance and ensuring a robust business plan, UKGI has also been actively involved in working with OS on issues such as:
Vesting OS from a Trading Fund to a Government Company to allow for a more commercial focus and operational flexibility.
Supporting OS’s engagement with government policy on innovation and data such as through the creation of its business incubator.
Working across government to deliver the new Geospatial Commission.