COVID-19 and How the UK Government is supporting businesses

COVID-19 and How the UK Government is supporting businesses

Madano has developed the following infographic to help inform businesses what support mechanisms the Government has announced to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.

It provides a simple overview of what the mechanism is, who it is aimed at and how it can be accessed, in plain English.

If you would like to speak to us about the challenges you are facing from COVID-19, please contact Claire Cu­ff at [email protected] or Evan Byrne at [email protected]

The Budget That “Gets it Done(ish)”- What the 2020 Budget Means for Energy, Environment and Technology

The Budget That “Gets it Done(ish)”- What the 2020 Budget Means for Energy, Environment and Technology

Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has delivered the new Government’s first Budget, since the December 2019 election. Despite only being in post since February 2020 and having to tackle the emerging Coronavirus crisis, Sunak set out what a 5-year Conservative Government means for the technology, energy and environment sectors.

Take a look at our analysis of what the Budget means for the Energy & Environment and Technology sector in our mailer by clicking here (also pictured below):

International Women’s Day 2020 – The Women Who Inspire Us

International Women’s Day 2020 – The Women Who Inspire Us

Sunday 8 March was International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s campaign theme was #EachforEqual, promoting the message that we can all actively choose to “challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.” With this in mind, members from each of our practices have highlighted inspirational women from different backgrounds and fields that have made huge impacts to our world as we know it.

Margaret Calver – Kat Dominiak (Creative)

Kat Dominiak

Female designers have had a huge impact throughout the history of design and their works are engrained in our everyday lives. It isn’t a surprise that historically the male-dominated graphic design industry hasn’t always had the best reputation for gender equality. However, female designers have played an important role in establishing graphic design as we know it today.

Did you know Margaret Calver’s work has helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the UK? Her very simple and easy to understand graphic language is on every single road sign and signpost across the entire country. She helps you get safely to work, school or home. Margaret is a typographer and graphic designer mainly known for her collaborative work with Jock Kinnir on the design of Britain’s roads – she’s a creative icon that had a huge impact on the design industry.

“With talent, dedication, and creativity in spades, women are – and always have been – killing it in graphic design.” – Rebecca Gross

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw – Elisha Raut (Insights)

Elisha Raut

You might have heard of the term intersectionality somewhere in the stratosphere. Maybe it’s because you’re engaged in critical race theory, or because you once eavesdropped on a pretentious and overly jargonated conversation at a LEON (just me?), or perhaps somewhere in between. In a reductive nutshell, it’s the idea that a person’s lived experience is contingent upon several overlapping axes of their identity, and it’s a foundational concept that was developed approximately 30 years ago by lawyer, professor, philosopher, and theorist, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.

While the inception of the term was mostly within the context of legal advocacy, where discrimination regarding sex and discrimination regarding race were treated as mutually exclusive entities, it has now pervaded many areas of academic and everyday discourse.

While Crenshaw’s past achievements could span novels, she remains consistently active in educating the masses, not just through academic avenues, but also as a public speaker. Many of her highly engaging and thought-provoking talks are available on YouTube.

Although the term intersectionality has entered the everyday vocabulary of many people who may be characterised as, and sorry in advance for using this term, “woke”, it has also faced criticism from the anti-woke crowd. This is the main reason her continual educational efforts are still invaluable: in the information age, we can (fortunately and unfortunately) still believe whatever we want, whether it is justifiable and evidenced, or not.

Rosalind Franklin – George Mitchell (Healthcare)

George Mitchell

Science is supposed to be paving the way for the future and yet, when it comes to gender equality, it is stuck in the past. At present, less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and they continue to be overlooked and undervalued in a male-dominated field. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Rosalind Franklin, a chemist and x-ray crystallographer who, in May 1952, captured an image that would quite literally change the DNA of biological and healthcare research.

Franklin’s seemingly uninspiring and blurry ‘Photo 51’ would lead Watson and Crick to discover the DNA double helix, for which they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Since then, we have sequenced our genome, increased our understanding of genetic disease and even learned how to edit our DNA.

Franklin died in April 1958 from ovarian cancer, possibly caused by exposure to the very x-rays which led to her discovery, something for which she was not recognised until the years following her death. With the Nobel Committee still unwilling to award posthumous prizes, Franklin remains one of the greatest unsung heroes in the history of biology and healthcare research.

Admiral Grace HopperBen Gascoyne (Technology) Ben Gascoyne

While the typical tech sector stereotype is male-led, you should know that some of its earliest and most influential innovators were talented and inspirational women.

That includes Grace Hopper, an American mathematician who began her career in computer science as World War 2 began. Working with the very first computers throughout the 1950s, she pioneered the development of programming languages that were based on natural languages, such as English, instead of abstract mathematical symbols.

That may seem obvious now, but was met with resistance at the time. Delivering her vision for computing made programming more accessible for everyone who followed her and paved the way for the tech giants you know today, like Microsoft and Apple.

Somehow, alongside a hugely successful career in computing, Grace Hopper found the time to rise to the rank of Admiral in the US Naval Reserve. Admiral Hopper passed away in 1992, but today, social enterprises such as the fantastic Stemettes are making sure that girls across the UK can follow in her footsteps and are inspired and empowered to take up STEM careers, including in the tech sector.

Mary Prince – Hoda Awad (Energy and Environment)

Hoda Awad

Mary Prince was a courageous woman who helped to change Britain as we know it. She was an enslaved woman who campaigned in the 1800s for abolition.

In 1829, Mary was the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament, arguing for her human right to freedom. She was also the first black woman to write and publish an autobiography, which was a key part of the abolitionist campaign in Britain. It was during that very same year that her peers in the abolitionist movement introduced a bill proposing that any slaves must be freed.

Mary was an inspiring woman who invented political activism almost 100 years before other more well-known movements began to gain traction, such as the Suffragettes.

With modern society becoming increasingly competitive and divided, it is more important than ever that we champion and communicate the achievements of women. We have a shared responsibility to remove barriers and create opportunities so that, regardless of gender, anyone can fulfil their potential. By working together towards gender equality and providing women and girls around the world with heroes and role models, we can inspire the next generation and create an environment from which we can all benefit.

International women's day
A Seismic Shift in the Cabinet –  What the Reshuffle Means for Energy, Environment and Technology

A Seismic Shift in the Cabinet – What the Reshuffle Means for Energy, Environment and Technology

The Government has delivered its first significant reshuffle since the December 2019 election. Despite briefings beforehand that it would be scaled back, on the day it has been seismic. Take a look at our analysis of what the reshuffle majority means for the Energy & Environment and Technology sector in our mailer by clicking here (also pictured below):

Let’s Talk HIV

Let’s Talk HIV

Once considered a death sentence, claiming more than 32 million lives since records began, there are now nearly 40 million people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Increasing access to effective prevention, treatment and care, means that people who develop HIV are now able to live long and healthy lives.

Even with all these advances, a cloud of fear, prejudice and poor understanding still cast a shadow over individuals with HIV, reinforcing the importance of education and awareness days. 1st December 2019 was World AIDS Day, where organisations and individuals aim to raise awareness, knowledge and remove the stigma around HIV and AIDS.

HIV continues to be unwittingly spread in the 21st Century, with many people seeing HIV as a health issue of the past. The issue feels a lot closer to home here in London, where 34% of new cases in the UK are diagnosed. There are now, however, multiple drugs that are helping to reduce these numbers, allowing individuals with HIV and those at highest risk to live normal lives.


Some of the various ways that HIV CAN NOT be transmitted “Myths About HIV and AIDS” –

HIV IS transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids with an infected individual, the most common of which is through sexual intercourse without a condom. Despite the misconceptions of many, heterosexual individuals are at an equally high risk of infection. In further contradiction to the stigma around the disease, HIV can also be transmitted without sexual intercourse, through sharing of needles or maternal inheritance during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

HIV is VERY RARELY transmitted through oral sex and kissing and only in occasions where there is exchange of infected blood.

HIV is NOT transmitted through air, water, mosquitoes, saliva or touching.

With effective treatment, HIV may not be transmitted at all!

Treatments and Prevention

Antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) have been available since 1987, and work by reducing the amount of virus (or viral load) in the blood – allowing the immune system time to repair itself. By taking a daily dose of ARVs, individuals can keep their viral load at an undetectable level, which is now understood to mean that they can also not transmit the virus to others.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)

Started by the Prevention Access Campaign, the slogan is intended to educate and remove the stigmas around transmission of HIV. U=U is based on scientific evidence that when the viral load in the blood of people with HIV is undetectable, they are unable to transmit the virus to others.

The most effective way to prevent the transmission of HIV is through the use of condoms during sex, but there are other methods that have been proven to significantly reduce and prevent the risk of infection.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily use of ARVs by HIV-negative individuals (people who do not have HIV), to prevent infection from their HIV-positive sexual partner. Studies have shown that, if taken correctly, PrEP can be 100% effective. If an individual not taking PrEP is exposed to HIV, they can start a course of an ARV called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours to prevent infection.

Despite the availability of effective treatments and an ability to control the transmission of HIV, the wider public remain uneducated about these advances, leading to the retention of historical beliefs about the virus and those who carry it.

Tackling Stigma

Rugby Union legend Gareth Thomas completing a 140.6-mile Ironman following his announcement that he has been living with HIV.

Misconceptions have been publicly challenged over the past couple of decades, with celebrities and sportsmen speaking about their experiences with HIV – from Charlie Sheen to Magic Johnson. One of the most high-profile cases in recent years in the UK has come from Rugby Union legend, Gareth Thomas, who revealed in September 2019 that he had been living with HIV, through a video titled “I’ve got HIV and it’s OK”. Thomas decided that he wanted to educate himself and others and tackle the stigma of carriers being ‘frail and sickly’, by completing a 140.6-mile Ironman challenge. Thomas’ willingness to communicate in the media around this, as a high-profile and well-respected sportsman, enabled wider attention to be brought to the virus, and physically demonstrate that HIV no longer needs to be a death sentence or a limitation.

Initiatives like World AIDS Day, and the efforts of those such as Gareth Thomas, will always be vital for raising awareness about HIV and tackling stigma. Communication is essential to remind everyone that people who develop HIV are now able to live long and healthy lives, without infecting others, in order to reduce the stigma associated with this condition.

Written by George Mitchell, Programme Executive

Madano advises clients across the healthcare sector – if you’re interested in learning more please drop us a line. You can also follow Madano on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Election Manifestos 2019 – Side-by-Side Policy Comparisons: Technology

Election Manifestos 2019 – Side-by-Side Policy Comparisons: Technology

Ice sculptures may be the fashionable metaphor in British political life right now, but assiduous voters who have taken the time to study the manifestos will be hoping that these policy pledges are carved in stone, rather than chiselled from ice.

Watching colleagues from our Energy and Environment and Healthcare teams conduct their side-by-side policy analysis this week, our technology team has been quietly waiting in the wings. Let’s take a look at the technology related policies across a few different areas.


Connectivity Policies

Madano Analysis – By far the most aggressive move was Labour’s pre-announced plan to nationalise parts of BT to deliver high-speed broadband to the nation. The move caused discussion about whether the Internet is, in fact, a public utility and how crucial access is to equality. While not nationalisation, the Tory plan to invest £5 billion to connect premises deemed not commercially viable to connect via the open market represents significant state intervention. The Lib Dem proposal is sensible but does not define clear plans to accelerate bringing high-speed internet to existing properties.

Big Tech and Tech for Good

Big Tech Tech4Good

Madano Analysis – The Tories and Labour promise to get tough on big tech, with Labour pledging to tax the titans in part to pay for the National Broadband Service. The Conservatives say less than the other two parties about how they will produce a safer, fairer tech ecosystem, but they borrow language from the Online Harms review which has been conducted on their watch, building to legislation. The Lib Dems seem to have the best understanding of some of the future challenges we will face as a society thanks to technology advances in AI and automation, and their thinking around a code of ethics and skills anticipate the potentially massive disruption we face.

Skills and Innovation

Skills Policies

Madano Analysis – Well, we may well need a lot of investment in skills if, as expected, the open labour market for tech firms shrinks significantly on January 31st. Labour has gone all in on clean tech and the Tories focus heavily on a visa scheme to mitigate Brexit, but all three recognise the vital importance of lifelong learning, pre-empting a period where technology makes skills obsolete ever more quickly. The Lib Dems perhaps have the proposals with potentially the broadest impact (a rising tide raises all boats approach), whereas the Conservatives are more targeted with policies designed to help the best talent and/or drive commercialisation. It’s a “comprehensives” vs. “grammar schools” debate for the 21st century!

Future Mobility

Future Mobility Policies

Madano Analysis – Singing from the same sheet, the main parties all agree on the need to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and passing legislation to set air quality targets. Labour’s pledges seem to think beyond EVs in a broader “future mobility” vein, with the mention of car clubs. Labour is stripping a decade of the CCCs recommendation for the end of ICE vehicles. Given the Committee on Climate Change prevaricated and then demurred on bringing forward the ban to 2035, Labour’s ten-year acceleration seems quixotic. Both the Lib Dems and the Tories think beyond simply the automobile, with the Conservatives pledging to build on investment in electric flight and Lib Dems looking to boost innovation in zero-emission technology like hydrogen fuel cells.

Health Tech

Health Tech Policies

Madano Analysis – With a focus on frontline technology, the Conservatives continue to lean towards digital health services that can improve efficiency within the NHS or reduce the strain on it. Labour also wants to invest in frontline services but are more vocal on the need to spend more on advanced, emerging technology like AI for diagnostics and also on traditional machinery like more MRI and CT scan equipment.


Skills Policies

Madano Analysis – To maintain the UK’s competitiveness as a knowledge-based economy, significant R&D will be a prerequisite, and all three parties make ambitious commitments to expand total R&D spending. Labour and the Liberal Democrats both commit to a 3% of GDP target, while the Conservatives back the more immediately deliverable target of 2.4%. But the most significant difference might be the Conservatives’ proposal to create an ARPA-style agency to fund high-risk, high-reward research.

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