Alan Belfield Appointed Business Chair of UK’s Professional & Business Services Council

Source: 6/11/2021, Location: Europe

Alan Belfield, group chair of Arup, has been appointed to lead the Professional & Business Services Council (PBSC), together with Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Kt, Minister for Investment jointly at the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Representing one of the UK’s largest sectors the council is a partnership between industry and government and spans accountancy, actuarial, advertising, architecture, consultancy, engineering, law, recruitment and surveying. The council works closely with sector leaders, trade associations and professional bodies to make sure that the voice of the sector is heard by government. Alan is taking over from Nick Owen, UK Chair of Deloitte, who served as co-Chair since 2016.

Alan Belfield has been the Chair of Arup Group since April 2019 and has worked at the international design, engineering and consultancy firm since 1992. A mechanical engineer by training, during his 27-year career at Arup, Alan has built the firm’s consulting business with specialists in management consulting, planning and technology.

Alan is taking over as Business Chair at a crucial time for the professional business services (PBS) sector. Employing 4.7 million people, its output is crucial to the UK economy, adding £217 billion of gross value in 2020 alone, and has in recent years outperformed it as a whole. The sector now provides a third of the UK’s total services exports, with the UK coming second only to the US as the greatest exporter of PBS in the world. As with many other industries, the sector has faced significant challenges during the pandemic, with huge disruption caused by new, remote working practices testing both business generation abilities and the health and wellbeing of employees.

The PBSC is made up of the following working groups, covering priority areas working in partnership with the government to inform thinking on the future direction of the sector and its contribution to the UK:
- Responsible Business – promoting and accelerating responsible business practices, including the Net Zero agenda
- Skills and Inclusion – engaged on access to skills and understanding future skills needs to support business growth
- Importance of Place – supporting the government levelling up agenda and promoting growth across all areas of the UK
- International Trade – focusing on exporting the UK services

“The Professional and Business Services sector is crucial to the Government’s agenda across a number of fronts – from achieving net zero emissions, through reducing regional inequalities, to boosting international exports. The PBSC has played a major role in recent years in helping forge a better understanding between businesses and the Government. I look forward to us building on this foundation, working closely together to make sure the potential of the sector is fully realised as an important part of the country’s post-Covid recovery, and helping the country move to net zero. ”Alan Belfield, Chairman

"I also very much look forward to working closely with the new PBSC Deputy Chair, Sally Jones. Sally is a Trade Strategy Partner at EY and has been leading the PBSC Secretariat for the last five years. She has extensive knowledge of the sector having worked across all of the Council’s activities, and will be a key support in helping me to convene the PBS leadership, drive collaboration on impactful initiatives and build upon the Council’s relationship with government." Alan said.

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