The Industry Forum was established in 1993 to improve communications between businesses and the politicians shaping public policies. The Industry Forum founders recognised that many businesses, while not politically aligned, could give useful and constructive advice and guidance in the development and implementation of policy initiatives. They understood the benefits of constructive dialogue in developing policies and regulations to meet public interest, social and economic goals.
Initially the ability to discuss plans and policies with business people appealed mainly to opposition politicians without access to the Civil Service. Over the years, however, Government ministers and officials have appreciated the ability to explain and discuss policy issues, in a confidential unfiltered environment, with key industry players.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, the political scene has been more fluid and planning and regulatory decisions more difficult. Throughout this period, the Industry Forum has kept up a high level of activity engaging Government ministers and shadow teams in the discussion of key issues.
Following the 2010 changes that provide for the direct election of select committee chairs by secret ballot, the Industry Forum has recognised the increasing importance of these committees, and has increased the number of meetings with the chairs of select committees.
Now, following the 2015 general election, with many pressing issues and decisions facing the country, the Industry Forum is increasing its activities to cover urgent current issues and longer term strategic needs which will affect the prosperity of the nation, as well as the operations of individual organisations and sectors. The role of purposeful and informed dialogue in this process has never been more important.