News > Brexit, Trump, a perplexed society, and what next for 2017?

Published: Wednesday 11th January 2017
Brexit, Cyber Security, Digital Policing, Health and Social Care, Trump,

Brexit, Trump, the eclipse of Cameron and Renzi were all unexpected events.  In a piece of work undertaken for the Metropolitan Police Service early in 2016, Cityforum pointed out the instability likely to follow from the lack of confidence of many citizens in their leaders and the self-satisfaction of elites within communities and organisations.  This instability has been a feature of many of the apparently unexpected developments that have happened in 2016, contributing to the rise of so-called ‘post-truth’ insurgency politics.

More surprises are likely in 2017, but it may be 2018 before the barren nature of many over-sold populist remedies become clear to those many who have accepted the promises made in 2016.

For the next year we see defence and security rising as areas of concern, particularly since in a number of countries, not least the UK, capability enhancements intended for 2030 are needed now.  We shall be looking at Intelligent Defence and Smart Power with our new Chief Strategist, Professor Paul Cornish, with whom we will also be focusing on Defence and Security Exports.  Legitimate Defence Exports have the potential to pay some of the bills for procurement, if we still have the reputation, equipment and services foreign governments wish to buy.

Cityforum will be continuing to develop its Cyber Security work and we look forward to our annual Summit in the Autumn, developed in association with GCHQ and NSA.  The cyber-attack possibilities are growing exponentially and will certainly affect the safety of smart cities and the security of the Internet of Things, a new area of focus for Cityforum next year.

Policing a perplexed and perplexing society and an examination of what transformation should really mean, is the subject of our February policing round table.  Throughout 2017, the importance of judgment, experience and the best use of people will be central to our policing series on the future of the service.  Technology and digital policing will feature, with the caveat that neither will provide a ‘silver bullet’.  Cityforum has undertaken a number of studies and reviews for police forces and PCCs over the last year and will be working on more in 2017.

Health and Social Care and their societal impacts is taking a more prominent place in our work next year.  In 2016 we discussed initiatives that improved delivery for the citizen without costing the earth and these will be explored in greater depth at both ends of the age-spectrum.

The economic challenges following Brexit will be a big subject for us and in particular we shall look at migration controls, industrial strategy, transport and infrastructure, and at the regionalism and localism agendas.  The UK alters its policy priorities and ways of meeting its objectives with a frequency that is not always helpful to delivering durable solutions to problems that are often long-term.  We shall continue in our round tables and analytical work to draw on the experience of other countries.

Asked about what worried him, that wise Prime Minister Macmillan replied ‘Events, dear boy, events’.  We look forward to continuing to help public bodies and corporates in planning for and responding to uncertainly.

Marc Lee, Chairman Cityforum
December 2016