Windsor Debates

As the Chamber’s flagship event, Windsor Debates formulates clear and decisive messages that help shape and frame TVCC’s strategic policy direction and wider programme of activity. Topical subjects provide opportunity for thought-provoking, insightful discussion.  This ensures we continue in our role as the leading voice in presenting the business case for the Thames Valley into Government, senior officials and key stakeholders representing the region. New insights emerging from these events are fed into our Business Manifesto, which outlines the opportunities and challenges the Chamber wants to champion in the year ahead.

During the Debates, we apply the spirit of the Chatham House rule to foster a lively and interesting discussion.

Historically a one-day event, held twice a year in the prestigious setting of Vicars’ Hall, Windsor Castle, the most recent debates (September 2021 and March 2021) have taken place using digital platforms.

The next Windsor Debates is scheduled for Friday 18th March 2022: ‘Creative Industries and Film: Thames Valley – UK’s creative heart’

We hope to return, in 2022, to meeting face to face in the historic surroundings of Windsor Castle. The September 2022 Windsor Debates is scheduled for Friday 23rd September.  

Building back better: Strengthening digital and physical infrastructure – Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th September 2021 Virtual (Zoom) event

The theme of the most recent Windsor Debates reflected one of the key priorities of our 2021 Business Manifesto, namely to “promote the need for investment in a resilient infrastructure network for the Thames Valley, strengthening provision of physical and digital networks that will support the region’s future sustainable economic growth and innovation.”

During the September 2021 Windsor Debates, we continued to build on the topic of sustainability which was central to the March 2021 Windsor Debate. This session was particularly pertinent as we near the autumn COP26 (November 2021 in Glasgow). We will be feeding outcomes of the Debate into the office of Alok Sharma, President of COP26. The event was facilitated by Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero.

Supporting Resources: Cicero’s Guide to COP26; EY’s Sustainability 101: A short guide to key concepts and terminology; PwC’s Unlocking capital for Net Zero Infrastructure

Please view the September 2021 programme, below. 


Thursday 23rd September 2021

Session 1: Introduction and scene setting
14:00-15:30 Paul Britton, Chief Executive, TVCC, Bill Gornall-King, Group President, TVCC and Miranda Barker, Chief Executive, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce opened this introductory session in conversation with Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero, on the key themes of Windsor Debates. Keynote speakers: Hugh Milward, General Manager, Corporate, External, Legal, Microsoft Hugh outlined the underlying themes of this event and contextualised them, providing a localised, UK wide and global perspective on the overall direction of action to address climate change and sustainability. James Pincus, Corporate Finance Partner, PwC James spoke on the role of infrastructure in delivering the UK's net zero target by 2050, infrastructure & ESG and the need for cross sector collaboration. Net Zero Panel Discussion Miranda, James and Hugh discussed net zero in conversation with Iain Anderson. Why should businesses be aiming to be net zero?  What is the Government’s role in this?  What is the role of these two Chambers, and others around the country?
Session 2: Towards a stronger, more sustainable digital infrastructure
16:00-18:00 The focus of this session was on digital infrastructure, applications for delivering sustainable development and ‘net zero’ ambitions, as well as the efficiency of technology and the various benefits of 5G. Keynote Speakers: Simon Haston, Chief Technology Innovation Officer: Regions and Devolved Government, BT Martin Tufft, Director Public Sector, London and the South East, BT Enterprise Simon and Martin discussed how businesses can build back better by having a ‘digital fabric’. Helen Moore, Market Entry and GTM Strategist, Valley Spark Helen shared information about what major US West Coast businesses are doing to move towards net zero. Marko Jovanovic, Head of Marketing & Communications, Ericsson Marko spoke about how different sectors will benefit from 5G.


Friday 24th September 2021

Session 3: Future resilience of the built environment and physical infrastructure
09:30-11:30 This session focussed on two areas: Part 1: Built environment and Part 2: Physical infrastructure Part 1: Built environment During this part of the session the panel discussed the importance of environmental planning as well as decarbonisation, battery technology, and multi-modal transport. Panellists: Anita Kasseean, Partner and Head of Environment & Planning, Blake Morgan LLP Nia Watkins, Regional Asset Manager, Electrification, Network Rail Lucy Wood, Director - Environmental Planning, Barton Willmore Ben Lewis, Infrastructure & Energy Planning Director, Barton Willmore Part 2: Physical infrastructure During this part of the session we focussed on future water planning and resources, as well as sustainable fuels and the electrification of the aviation industry. Panellists: Sarah Bentley, CEO, Thames Water Rachel Solomon Williams, Deputy Director, Head of Low Carbon Fuels, Department for Transport Matt Gorman, Director of Sustainability, Heathrow Howard Dale, General Manager, Kawasaki Motors UK
Session 4: Closing session
12:30-14:00 Paul Britton, Chief Executive, and Bill Gornall-King, Group President, TVCC, summarised the outcomes of discussions in earlier sessions alongside keynote speakers. Keynote Speakers: Shevaun HavilandDirector General, British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Shevaun summarised the key takeaways from the two days of debate.  As Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Shevaun also spoke about how the network will advocate for agreed priorities. Professor David Simon, Professor of Development Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London David explained and outlined the potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships, and methods to make progress. These are very different from conventional consultations but have demonstrated potential to overcome suspicions, hostility and to build common ground and trust. Relevant examples, including from our region, illustrated the points. Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero, and Facilitator of Windsor Debates Iain shared his thoughts on the full event, the conclusions reached, recommendations to be made, and a look forward to the March 2022 Debates.



“The event was superb! Very well run with a great upbeat tempo and vibe in the room. I also got a great deal from the speakers you had…one of the most engaging seminars I’ve been to in years…”.

Karl Simons, Thames Water

“May I congratulate you all on your part in creating and delivering what was undoubtedly the best ever Windsor Debates held by the Chamber and I have attended almost all of them. The best in every respect, not only as regards to the engagement of the audience but the excited buzz in the room throughout the day and during the evening”.

Bill Gornall-King, Boyes Turner


Please read more about our most recent Debates:

March 2021: Building back better: Promoting intelligent climate planning and decarbonisation at speed

The overarching theme of the March event reflected the Chamber’s ongoing focus on a low carbon, green economy and on showcasing commercially transferable best practice, leadership and innovation from across the Thames Valley – a key priority within our 2021 Business Manifesto. We discussed and challenged the business case for sustainability and examined how we as a business community can work together to meet current and future challenges and inform the work of COP26, led by UK President, Alok Sharma.

September 2020: Restart, Rebuild, Renew – the ‘new normal’ post Covid-19

During the course of this week-long, digital event, we hosted 9 sessions covering themes ranging from Technology and The Future of Travel (imminent and medium-term) to Mental Health and A Scientific Perspective on COVID-19. We also discussed The Future of Trade with the USA, hosted an MPs’ Roundtable and held a conversational session with Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson, US Ambassador to the UK.

September 2019: ‘Strengthening the workforce in the Thames Valley – Mental health, diversity and inclusion in the workplace’

During this Debate we explored the benefits of promoting diversity, inclusion and good mental health in the workplace. Industry speakers examined international developments and shared real-life examples of how strategies have been implemented and their impact on employees. We were privileged to welcome former Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, as our keynote dinner speaker.