Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

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The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) was a ministerial department of the United Kingdom Government created on 5 June 2009 by the merger of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).[1]

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) was the department for economic growth. The department invested in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow a business. BIS also protected consumers and reduced the impact of regulation. BIS was a ministerial department, supported by 48 agencies and public bodies. [2]

In July 2016, BIS merged with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to form the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). [3]


Spinning Fukushima nuclear meltdown

Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

In June 2011, BIS was involved in a public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident before the full extent of the radiation leak was known.

The Guardian revealed that a BIS official emailed the Nuclear Industry Association and nuclear companies on 13 March 2011, two days after the disaster. The official argued it was not as bad as the 'dramatic' TV pictures made it seem – even though two explosions at reactors on the site were yet to happen. The official said that if companies sent in their comments, they could be incorporated into briefs to ministers and government statements.

On 7 April 2011, the Department for Energy and Climate Change's Office for Nuclear Development invited companies to attend a meeting at the NIA's headquarters in London. The aim was 'to discuss a joint communications and engagement strategy aimed at ensuring we maintain confidence among the British public on the safety of nuclear power stations and nuclear new-build policy in light of recent events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant'.[4]



  • Sajid Javid - Secretary of State
  • Anna Soubry - Minister of State for Business and Enterprise
  • Jo Johnson - Minister of State for Universities and Science
  • Ed Vaizey - Appointed Minister of State with responsibility for digital industries on 15 July 2014.
  • Lord Maude of Horsham - Minister for Trade and Investment (with FCO)
  • Nick Boles - Minister of State for Skills and Equalities.
  • Lucy Neville-Rolfe - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Minister for Intellectual Property
  • George Freeman - appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences at the Department for Business in July 2014.

Previous Ministers

  • The Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable MP, Secretary of State President of the Board of Trade, Overall responsibility, business and banking. Lost his seat in the 2015 general election.
  • The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State, Universities and science, innovation, space. Retired as an MP at the 2015 general election.
  • Michael Fallon, MP Minister of State, Business and enterprise. Is now defence secretary.
  • Lord Green, Minister of State, Trade and Investment from January 2011 to December 2013.
  • Lord Younger[5] - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Intellectual property
  • Greg Clark appointed Minister of State on 7 October 2013 and Minister for Universities and Science on 15 July 2014. Is now secretary of state for Communities and Local Government Secretary
  • Matthew Hancock MP, is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with Department of Education) - Further education, skills and lifelong learning. Is now a minister of state at the Cabinet Office
  • Ian Livingston was appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment on 11 December 2013.
  • Jo Swinson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Employment relations, consumer and postal affairs. Lost her seat at the 2015 general election.

Civil servants

The Permanent Secretary is Martin Donnelly, following the departure of Simon Fraser CMG, on 26 August 2010.

Special Advisers

Former Special Advisers

  • Ashley Lumsden - From July 2014 to May 2015. Prior to this Lumsden was a Political Consultant a Greater London Authority for two years. Lumsden was Leader of the London Borough of Lambeth, Liberal Democrat Group for eight years between 2006 and 2014. He was also a London Agent for the Liberal Democrats from September 1999 until June 2012. Lumsden worked as the Executive member for finance for the Liberal Democrats between 2002 and 2006 as well as being Chair of the Pension Fund. [6]
  • Emily Walch - Since April 2012 : 'Walch was given a specific brief by Cable to keep an eye on policy that would need careful management within the Liberal Democrat party and to bring a strategic communications approach' [7]
  • Lottie Dexter
  • James Wild - was Special Adviser to Vince Cable from November 2012 – July 2014. Prior to this, he was account director at Hanover for three years. Wild was public affairs manager for T-Mobile UK from 2005 – August 2009. He also worked as a senior account executive at Politics Direct from 2001 to 2003. Wild worked at the Conservative Research Department as a policy adviser in 2000. [8]
  • Nick Hillman - From 2010 to 2013, Nick Hillman was special adviser to David Willetts, the universities and science minister, and from 2007 to 2010 was his chief of staff while in opposition. He left politics in January 2014 to take up the role of director of the Higher Education Policy Institute [9]

BIS Press Office

The BIS press office is led by Aileen Boughen, the hugely experienced Head of News (and wife of Channel 4 News’s former assistant programme editor Malcolm Boughen). A former BT press officer, Boughen knows business backwards and is ably assisted by Simon Steel [7]


Subsidiary elements

Non-ministerial department

Office of Fair Trading | K Trade & Investment | Competition and Markets Authority

Executive agency

Companies House | UK Space Agency | The Insolvency Service | National Measurement Office | Skills Funding Agency | Intellectual Property Office | Met Office | Land Registry | Ordnance Survey

Executive non-departmental public body

Higher Education Funding Council for England | Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service | Arts and Humanities Research Council | British Hallmarking Council | Construction Industry Training Board | Economic and Social Research Council | Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council | Engineering Construction Industry Training Board | Medical Research Council | Natural Environment Research Council | Office for Fair Access | Science and Technology Facilities Council | Student Loans Company | Technology Strategy Board | UK Atomic Energy Authority | UK Commission for Employment and Skills | Capital for Enterprise Limited | Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council | Competition Service | Competition Commission | Consumer Focus

Advisory non-departmental public body

Council for Science and Technology | Low Pay Commission | Industrial Development Advisory Board | Land Registration Rule Committee | Regulatory Policy Committee | Export Guarantees Advisory Council

Tribunal non-departmental public body

Competition Appeal Tribunal | Central Arbitration Committee | Copyright Tribunal | Insolvency Practitioners Tribunal


Certification Office | Office of Manpower Economics | UK Green Investment Bank | Groceries Code Adjudicator | Government Office for Science


The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is a donor to the Science Media Centre. [10]



See also:

Precursor departments:


Address: 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET Telephone: 020 7215 5000 Email:


  1. Number 10, Prime Minister's Office: Changes to the machinery of Government Friday 5 June 2009
  2. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills GOV.UK, accessed 1 October 2014
  3. Ian Johnston, Climate change department closed by Theresa May in 'plain stupid' and 'deeply worrying' move, The Independent, 14 July 2016, accessed 14 September 2016
  4. Rob Edwards, Revealed: British government's plan to play down Fukushima, The Guardian, 30 June 2011
  5. The Viscount Younger of Leckie appointed as Business Minister
  6. Ashley Lumsden LinkedIn profile, accessed 2 October 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills The House, Parliaments Magazine, Vol.5, 11.2012, accessed 1 October 2014
  8. James Wild LinkedIn profile, accessed 2 October 2014
  9. John Elmes Q&A with Nick Hillman Times Higher Education, 30.01.2014, accessed 2 October 2014
  10. SMC, Funding, accessed 29 September 2013. See also Science Media Centre - Funding