The DTI is fast securing a reputation as the Department of Tirades and Inefficiency under current industry secretary Peter Lilley. In a confidential letter to Lilley, Roger Boardman, representing the multi-million pound Association of Electronics Telecommunications and Business Equipment Industries, complained that the majority of his 900 AETBEI members 'now judge the DTI to be nonsupportive and merely the focal point of a totally inadequate industrial policy'. In the following five pages Boardman lambasted government policy, point by point, to conclude: 'The message from our company members is very simple. Please take the time to find out what industry needs to be effective and successful, and take action within the DTI and other government departments. Boardman's plea would elicit a heartfelt yea from Dr Raymond Donnelly of Heriot-Watt Business School, embarrassed participant in a recent DTI briefing on doing business in Hungary. 'The briefing was so inept and so ill-informed that it succeeded in putting some companies off visiting Hungary - companies which had already agreed to go,' he reports.
The sponsoring bank, Clydesdale, was sufficiently upset by the DTI's performance to pull out of the venture and it only later emerged that the hapless guide to Hungary's commercial perils had never been to Hungary himself. That seems to be about par for the totally inadequate DTI course.