Dragon's Den star Piers Linney will "reform UK tech industry" in new government role

Joanna Shields, Chair of Tech City UK, will be joining the Prime Minister’s Digital Taskforce as adviser on the country's digital economy, while current Dragon's Den TV star and business expert Piers Linney is also being offered a consulting role in central government.

Shields was appointed to her unpaid role as part of June's London Technology Week, an event to celebrate the capital’s tech credentials.

“We must continue our leadership position and create the building blocks to ensure Britain becomes the most capable and competitive nation in the digital economy,” claimed Shields in a statement to a UK tech publication.

The Digital Taskforce is led by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, supported by Ed Vaizey who gained the new title of Minister for Digital Industries as part of Prime Minister David Cameron's early Summer Cabinet reshuffle.

Shields is set to bring digital expertise to the group, advising PM David Cameron on policy matters relating to the digital industry with a particular focus on entrepreneurship.

Shields is joined at the heart of government's digital advisory cohort by Linney, co-CEO of UK cloud services provider Outsourcery co-CEO Piers Linney has been appointed to the Cabinet Office SME panel.

This 2011-formed organisation is focused on helping smaller-sized businesses win public sector contracts and other issues they may face.

“The public sector provides a massive opportunity for SMEs, which are the engine of the economy,” claimed Linney.

“The aim of having SMEs account for 25 per cent of direct and indirect central government expenditure is within reach," he added, before expressing his belief that "the G-Cloud framework in particular" is a world leading example of how IT procurement should evolve to drive value for money and broaden supply bases to introduce more competition and innovation.

Crown Representative for SMEs Stephen Allott praised the work the panel has done so far and welcomed Linney to the board.

“The SME panel has been doing a fine job in acting as sounding board for Cabinet Office policies and offering excellent advice at how best to make it easier for smaller firms to pitch for and win government business,” Allott claimed.

“Piers will offer the board further experience from the IT sector and we look forward to his input,” he added.

Other members of the SME panel include other small-to-medium business owners from a number of different sectors and industries across the UK.

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