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Leaders to advise on Wales' digital future; MOVE FOLLOWS REVIEW OF OUR CREATIVE INDUSTRIES.

Byline: RHODRI EVANS

A NEW board has been set up to advise the Welsh Assembly Government on all aspects of the digital economy.

Leading business figures and technology experts have been appointed to serve on the new Digital Wales Advisory Board.

The creation of the board was announced in a written statement by Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, yesterday.

Its creation is the result of a recommendation by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his review of the creative industries.

The board will advise Ministers on key aspects of the digital agenda - including infrastructure, skills, competitiveness, public service delivery, as well as digital inclusion.

The new board will be made up of eight experts. They are: Dr Sangeet Bhullar, the founder and executive director of Wise Kids, a nonprofit organisation providing innovative training programmes and consultancy in new media, internet and mobile technologies; Simon Gibson, the chief executive of Wesley Clover, a venture fund specialising in seeding technology companies and a member of the advisory board of the Charity Bank inWales. He previously co-founded Ubiquity Software Corporation; Andrew Green, the chief executive officer of the National Library of Wales; Professor Gareth Hughes, until his recent retirement, the chief executive of the European Regional Information Society Association (ERIS) - a European regional network association committed to supporting members' economic and social development through computer-based innovation; David Hylands, the chief information systems officer atWrexham County Borough Council and a local government representative on the Public Sector Broadband Aggregation Project; Huw Jones, the deputy chairman of the Wales Employment and Skills Board and previously S4C's longest serving chief executive; Ron Jones, the newly appointed chair of the Creative Industries Panel and executive chairman of Tinopolis, one of the UK's largest independent television production companies; Jean-Franois Schmid, director of research and technology at BT Innovate & Design.

The Deputy Minister said the board members had both a high degree of subject knowledge and significant direct delivery experience.

"This will ensure the board can provide Ministers with the highest possible level of expert advice on a complex, cross-cutting subject area that is constantly evolving," she said.

"I am delighted they have agreed to serve on the board and take time from their busy schedules to support the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure Wales can capitalise on the opportunities of the digital age.

"Their combined expertise and knowledge will be invaluable as the digital agenda cuts across all Ministerial portfolios, with a range of departments responsible for delivering a range of policies and projects. " Simon Gibson said: "I welcome the recognition and development of a pro-active digital strategy for Wales. "A competitive and technically advanced telecommunications infrastructure is critical for the future of our economy. These communication networks can be achieved by utilising a blend of the appropriate technologies to ensure all citizens in Wales have access to the services and applications which will assist future economic growth and improve the quality of life.

"The board will work with the Welsh Assembly Government to drive the clever provision of digital services and encourage partnerships between the various government departments, public sector agencies and private companies."

The board has been set up for an initial 12 months and will meet on a quarterly basis with the minutes of each meeting published on the Welsh Assembly Government website. Its inaugural meeting is tomorrow.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 2, 2010
Words:555
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