THESE are the questions around our decision to accept makers of digital products into Made in Britain. If you have a question that isn't on this page, email it to email@example.com and one of the team will respond. Let us know if you DON'T want your name to be published.
First question: "What prompted the decision to allow digital members to join Made in Britain?"
Answer from John Pearce, CEO: “Like the rest of British industry we are moving with the times. The smart factory revolution has made software a part of everyday life for a lot of Britain’s manufacturers and some of the smartest digital control systems are being produced right here in Britain. We have been getting more and more expressions of interest from companies who make virtual products and because we take all suggestions seriously, we have been looking at how we can accommodate them. We easily created a category for creative industries a couple of months ago and this digital expansion simply feels like an extension of that.
“When we looked at our eligibility criteria and terms and conditions we found that the requirements for digital manufacturers were very similar to those we had for physical manufacturers. We were already in the process of reviewing our membership criteria, so we spent some time working out how we could create a welcoming home for digital businesses alongside our more traditional members. We think we’ve got it right.”
Question: "What do you hope to achieve by allowing digital manufacturers to join?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: "By opening up membership to software manufacturers, we are recognising that manufacturers of digital products are as important to the British economy as manufacturers of a physical product. This is a growing sector in Britain and one we should be proud to shout about."
Question: "Will there be a digital version of the Made in Britain mark to distinguish between digital members and physical maker members?"
Answer from Steven Booth, art director: "No. The digital products will carry the same Made in Britain mark as physical products. I have created an animated version of the mark that can be used on software start-up screens but this will also be used in video productions and animations featuring the Made in Britain brand (see right). We are keen to emphasise the many similarities between digital makers and physical makers, not the few differences."
Question: "Are you becoming a trade body for digital manufacturers?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: “We are not to be considered a trade body for software manufacturers; we are a membership organisation giving a licence for members to use the official, protected Made in Britain mark and adding their details to the member directory, which is used by procurement professionals to source quality British-made products.”
Question: "Do you have any particular types of digital manufacturers in mind? Who do you expect/hope to see join?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: "It's early days for us and we are excited to see which specific sector our new members will come from. Initial thoughts are those with a software product that is useful to manufacturers."
Question: "In terms of eligibility, do the new members' R&D facilities have to be in the UK? How else will you check provenance in line with the stringent criteria for traditional manufacturing members?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: "Yes, the business has to be registered in Britain, and all the development has to take place in Britain using 100 per cent human resource in Britain. The application process is the same as traditional members, we ask them to read our eligibility criteria on our website and read fully our T&Cs before applying. We ask for information about their eligibility in the application form and by submitting their application they confirm they agree to the terms of membership, part of which is complying to the definitions of provenance."
Question: "What about coding? Coders are often based abroad. How much of the team needs to be present in the UK to qualify?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: "See above question, 100 per cent in Britain."
Question: "So all the code has to be written in Britain, is that correct?"
Answer from John Pearce, CEO: "No. They might incorporate sections of code that were written elsewhere but our stipulation that “one hundred per cent of labour/human resource that made the finished product carrying the mark, was in Britain at the time the product was first offered for sale” is exactly the same for digital makers as it is for physical makers. We know that some small parts of a Vauxhall Vivaro van are made overseas but nobody would deny that the van is made in Britain."
Question: "How will digital manufacturers be treated differently to physical manufacturers as members of Made in Britain?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: "They won't. Digital members will be added to the same directory and their product details will be included in new categories added to the category list. We recently added 'creative industries' to the list of categories and this went without any problems. We see digital products as an extension of this and all members will receive support in sales, marketing, PR/comms and export, just like physical manufacturers. We might hold digital-themed events but they will be open to physical manufacturer members if they would like to attend."
Question: "Our business provides software service, so can we join Made in Britain?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: "If you are only providing a service using software developed by another company you are not eligible. If you provide a service for the product that you developed yourself then you are eligible."
Question: "Can website developers join?"
Answer from Nicola Kemble, operations director: "No. Because they are not developing a product that can be packaged and sold, we consider them to be service providers only."