UKC3 2.0

This week sees the end of an era, if that is not too dramatic. Having been trading for just 18 months, UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3) has been through the process of replacing some of its directors. The six of us have been together since long before that, working with the support of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to get the project off the ground.

Apart from my own company, this is the first time that I have been involved in setting something up from scratch. My other directorships have been when joining existing enterprises. Creating the company was not that hard but before we could get any funding from DCMS we had to have a lot of process and procedure in place, much of which can come after the event when it’s your own venture. 

Things such as governance, declaration of interests, cluster recognition policies, funding disbursement policies, reporting procedures, financial controls and strategy all needed to be in place in a short space of time. Opening a bank account was hard due to the impact of COVID and the government’s bounce back loans. The whole business banking sector was clogged up keeping existing operations going rather than setting up new ones.

Anyhow, the board put in a huge effort to get that all sorted and our first year was considered a success, so much so that we were funded into our second year, or first if you consider the first as a pilot. We are guaranteed some further two years of funding, though at a tempered amount.

In our plans it was always agreed that an election would be held to elect new or reflect existing directors. Originally this was going to be at the end of the pilot year but there was so much going on that it felt prudent to wait until the new year had been set up and funding dispersed, at least in part. Two directors wished to step down, including the Chair and so, for continuity purposes, I suggested I stay on for another year.

After inviting all of the clusters to propose a candidate we had nine nominations for the five positions, three went to existing board members and two new members were added. Whether I would have been reelected I will never know yet the whole process has been fascinating. Whenever you get involved in something new there is always so much to learn.

It’s all been a bit emotional. Now to sort out Companies House and the bank account.

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