The Industry Forum Ltd, 20 St Andrew Street, EC4A 3AG, London
+44 (0)20 7434 0090
The Industry Forum Ltd, 20 St Andrew Street, EC4A 3AG, London


About us

The Industry Forum promotes constructive dialogue between public policy makers, industry operating in the UK, and leading commentators. It has operated for over 30 years and has established good relations with the main political parties, the parliamentary select committees, trade associations, think tanks and consultancies.

Focusing on current key issues, it provides opportunities for policy makers to explain policies and objectives face-to-face with businesses that can give practical and unfiltered feedback. The aim is that this process should lead to economic and social benefits by improving public policy related to business.

The Industry Forum is set up as an independent not -for-profit company unaligned to any political party or interest. It is registered under the Companies Act and operates in accordance with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

Our aims

The principal aim of the Industry Forum is to facilitate dialogue between policy-makers and businesses operating in the UK in order to assist the development of effective policies that meet the economic and social needs of the country.
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In order to fulfil our principal aim we try to keep abreast of key current issues of concern to businesses and to policy makers. These are usually identified to us by our members who cover a wide range of activities, by policy makers, and by other commentators in think tanks or academia.

Our meetings are focussed, informal and conducted under the Chatham House rule. They allow for policies or issues to be outlined and then subjected to constructive questioning and discussion.

Through the more than 500 meetings we have held since 1993, we believe that we have made some contribution to the development and understanding of practical and useful policies and to building good relationships between the busy worlds of politics and industry.
Our history
The Industry Forum was established in 1993 to improve communications between businesses and the politicians determining 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.
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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.

After the financial crisis of 2008, the political scene became more fluid and planning and regulatory decisions more difficult. Throughout this period, the Industry Forum kept up a high level of activity engaging Government ministers and shadow teams in the discussion of key issues.

Following the 2010 changes that established the direct election of select committee chairs by secret ballot, the Industry Forum recognised the increasing importance of these committees, and increased the number of meetings with the chairs of select committees.

Following the 2015 general election, with many pressing issues and decisions facing the country, the Industry Forum increased 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. We recognised the business and economic risks associated with the Brexit referendum and took every opportunity to discuss these and to pursue policies that would minimise economic harm. During the pandemic we maintained a full programme of online meetings

Now, in 2024, with the economy in mild recession and a general election pending we believe the role of purposeful and informed dialogue in developing successful industrial and trade policies has never been more important.

Project partnership
In order to keep up-to-date with policy issues and policy development, we liaise closely with other think tanks, universities and consultancies. From time to time we cooperate with other organisations on projects.

Prior to Brexit, which we opposed, we worked on an EU project to suggest how members states could work together more effectively. We have run events with the New Economics Foundation on innovative ways to help rebalance the economy, and we worked with multiple partners on a collaborative project to investigate whether a Standing Commission on Responsible Capitalism, operating somewhat like the Law Commission, might have averted some of the problems that contributed to the 2008 banking crisis. We worked with cross-bench peer, the late Bob Kerslake, on the Kerslake Review of the Treasury and with the German Embassy on a report and conference on ‘The Road to Zero Emissions’. During the pandemic we researched and organised an online conference on the dangers of digital exclusion.

For the future, we see that the only way to cover the range of issues of concern to our members is to cooperate more widely with other organisations and we will increasingly be working in partnership on events, research and policy consultancy with likeminded and complementary project partners.

Support us
Historically the work of the Industry Forum has been made possible by the subscriptions and generous hosting of events by our members who pay an annual fee. To extend our work in the future we are also be looking increase our income stream from donations and paid consultancy work.
In order to keep up-to-date with policy issues and policy development, the Industry Forum liaises closely with other thinks tanks, universities and consultancies. From time to time we cooperate with other organisations on projects.