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Spotlight on a Policy Manager
Nichola Mallon, Head of Trade and Devolved Policy
As the Head of Trade and Devolved Policy, my role is split into three key areas. I have lead responsibility for our trade policies and engagement with all customs, borders and trade related stakeholders. On the devolved side I am the policy lead on Northern Ireland and have strategic oversight of activity in the other devolved nations, Wales and Scotland.
Being relatively new to Logistics UK, I have joined at a time of significant change for trade. At the end of February, the EU and UK announced the Windsor Framework to replace the NI Protocol. This has been an immediate priority and I’ve been working through the technical and operational detail of the framework and how this affects members. As logistics is the backbone of the economy, we are in close conversations with the government on the need to ensure the new agreement is implemented in a sensible and pragmatic way that works for our members.
As well as working on the Windsor Framework, I am the Logistics UK representative for members in Northern Ireland to contact for any policy-related issues. There are significant challenges right now, such as the need to progress decarbonisation plans, which are being held back for a number of reasons, including there currently being no devolved government in place.
In Scotland and Wales, as well as our Freight Council meetings, we are planning a series of key speakers, visits and events that really focus on devolved policy, and supported by engagement with the devolved governments on issues of key interest to our members. Just as with the Shippers’ Council and Customs and Trade Councils, my focus is on getting the right speakers at the right events, so members have the information they need when they need it.
Looking forward, we are heading into a very busy period of transformation when it comes to customs, borders and trade. The Cabinet Office has just published its draft Border Target Operating Model (5 April), which is the framework to realise the ambition of the government’s 2025 Border Strategy – to create a world-class border system that protects against biosecurity threats and illegal imports while making it as easy as possible to do business and trade. There will be significant public consultation and we will be writing out to members of our Shippers and Custom and Trade Councils for their views. I will be inviting people from key organisations, including HMRC, to the May council meeting so members can bring their questions for discussion.
There will be further consultations this summer on the changes to custom processes announced in the Spring Budget. It is essential that members share their invaluable feedback on all of these key issues with us as this helps Logistics UK to shape its policy position and ensures we are putting the right asks to government and other stakeholders.
I am really enjoying this new role at Logistics UK. Before joining the trade association, I was an elected representative in Northern Ireland for 12 years. This included being an elected official in Belfast City Council as well as Lord Mayor of Belfast, which was a hugely rewarding and wonderful role. I was also an elected member in the Northern Ireland Assembly and leader of the opposition in Northern Ireland for a time. I also worked for a few years as Special Advisor to the Minister for Environment. However, perhaps my most relevant knowledge of logistics was built during my time as Minister for Infrastructure, where I was responsible for the road and rail network, public transport, water and waste-water, planning and road safety.
In this role I gained a lot of knowledge and experience of many of the issues that members face, in Northern Ireland and across the devolved nations, particularly when it comes to big infrastructure projects. This brings a feeling of familiarity to my new role, however, with the Windsor Framework and UK border transformations, we’re treading a new path, everyone is learning together and we have to make it work for the logistics sector, which is very exciting too.
One of the aspects of my role in Logistics UK that I really enjoy, is supporting members. They are the ones with the expertise. Their can-do attitude, agility and resilience, especially after the tumultuous period they have just been through, from Covid, to Brexit to supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine, is inspiring. I will be working with my colleagues across our policy team to influence government to get the right outcomes for the industry and our members.
My ask of members is to take every opportunity to share feedback and insights, tell us your asks of government, discuss the strategic challenges as well as the everyday. I appreciate the time members take even when they are extremely busy. We need the foundation information so we can do the rest – building policy, engaging with stakeholders and influencing government to get the best outcomes for our industry.
Published On: 20/04/2023 16:00:00
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