Oral history of British science
Land, Frank (13 of 18). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's home, Ivybridge
Land, Fred Frank, 1928- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 13: Living in Woodford, move to Manor House, Hackney; SD's role as Select Committee D advisor c1973, under Airey Neave. Comments on FL's role as a select committee advisor: advising MPs, providing questions; little notice taken of recommendations regarding computer industry; later role on Department of Trade select committee. [05:55] Description of pre-meeting and meeting arrangements: civil servants, such as Hastings from sub committee D; hostile treatment of industry witnesses; [09:14] meeting room layout and practices; [12:24] importance of advisers to MPs. Story about report being attacked in Parliamentary debate by MP Emma Nicholson, who he later met on a train. Remarks on: report being sidelined; report informing policy makers; importance of specialists to advise government; civil servants' defence against a hostile committee, in the style of 'Yes Minister'; importance of advisers to committee; relationship with and quality of MPs [closed between 18:10 – 19:11] Remarks on: key early 1970s committee concerns over formation of ICL; ICL's hiring of American Wilmot as head; second committee concerns; importance of clerk of committee in drafting of report, named 'The Land Report' of which FL can't remember the main thrust; meetings held in the House of Commons; Parliamentary Committee on Computer - PITCOM. [23:55] Comments on FL contacts with industry: differences between UK and Germany. [25:40] Comments on FL research interests: evaluation of the value that computing adds; working with stock exchange, Barings Bank, industry, ICI; working through groups such as IFIP 8.2; joint project with EM on ICI and with David Skyrme at DEC. [29:05] Remarks: on ICI system to introduce word processing to secretarial staff, resulting in EM book 'Designing Secretaries'; [30:03] writing reports for company and academia, example of a Treasury report; change in emphasis when he worked at LBS toward more consultancy work; feeling our of place at LBS as he preferred research to consultancy; FL's well paid consultancy job for BT c1988. [35:10] Comments on: scope of reports, emphasis on IT people; circumstances of contact with clients; [36:46] gap between practice and academia, with reference to early LEO report; difference to Germanic model of academia; FL visits to Germany, such as BIFOA at Cologne for business but not personal reasons; supporting England in football.
Interview with computer programmer and information systems theorist Frank Land.