Special Election Webinar

How are Parties approaching the AI Revolution?


Written by Ben Yardley, Learning Coordinator


Artificial Intelligence is, in the words of AI specialist and consultant Tom Bryant, no longer a trend or science fiction. It could be one of the most transformative innovations that we see in our lifetime, with profound implications for almost every area of public administration and governance. As a result, it is perhaps surprising that the subject of AI has received relatively little media attention during an election campaign where issues such as tax, immigration, the cost of living and healthcare have taken centre stage. 

On Thursday, Civil Service College's Director of International Partnerships, Jonathan Pearse, was joined by Tom Bryant to discuss the policy implications of this rapidly-changing technology and to assess each of the main political parties' approaches to AI. Tom Bryant is a former Senior Advisor to the Cabinet Office, where he led digital skill transformation initiatives; he is currently a consultant and trainer specialising in artificial intelligence and Generative AI integration and transformation. He is also an Associate Trainer with CSC, delivering programmes in AI Ethics and AI in Public Policy. 


To watch the full interview, watch the YouTube video at the bottom of the page


On where the parties stand

Each of the main political parties offer a very different approach to the adoption and regulation of artificial intelligence. Whereas the Conservative Party prioritise innovation and a "light touch" approach prioritising economic growth, the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Green Party emphasise the need for careful regulation, especially when it comes to Frontier AI.

Broadly speaking, each of the parties' approaches to AI align with their main political objectives. The Labour Party's commitment to integrating AI into its overarching industrial strategy and the Green Party's pledge to use AI to advance sustainability are just two examples of how this issue pervades almost every area of governance. 

Tom also notes that it is often necessary to read between the lines to gain a full picture of what each party might achieve while in government. Although the Reform Party do not explicitly mention AI in their manifesto, it is likely that this would be a tool they rely on heavily to achieve their stated commitments of reducing government bureaucracy and reducing the amount of time that police officers spend on paperwork. 


On the application of AI in public service

When faced with the avalanche of new ideas coming from parties competing for votes, it is easy to forget that areas of the UK public sector has experienced a significant evolution in the past few years when it comes to artificial intelligence. Tom notes successful use cases including the upgrading of the technology used in medical imaging in the Department of Health, which has led to a more accurate detection of diseases including cancer. Similarly, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has integrated AI into its satellite imaging to monitor forest and agricultural coverage around the UK. 

From advanced cybersecurity and national defence to traffic management, artificial intelligence could mean significant change across all areas of government. However, Tom is keen to stress the value of education in this area; he says, "it's not AI that's going to take our jobs, it's people who know how to use AI that can take our jobs.". As with all innovations in the past 200 years, AI will shift the employment market to some extent. Although it is likely that AI will lead to some tasks that were previously done by workers becoming automated, it will also create new jobs and opportunities for those who are able to adapt. Therefore, retraining and upskilling the UK's workforce becomes even more urgent and essential. 


Tom Bryant is a distinguished expert with over 25 years of experience leading large-scale change initiatives and developing impactful learning programs for FTSE 100 companies and several world governments. Tom holds a Master’s in HR from the US and began his career at Accenture as a Talent & Organisation Performance Consultant. He later joined the British Government's Cabinet Office (Government Digital Services) as a Senior Advisor, where he led digital skill transformation initiatives. He published the first-ever detailed Digital Skills Matrix for Civil Servants and helped establish the British Government’s first ever internal Digital Academies. Tom has also advised the governments of Malaysia, India, and Jersey on their digital capabilities. Currently, Tom focuses on consulting in AI and Generative AI integration and transformation. He advises clients in government, higher education, financial services, and defence on AI strategy and capability building. Tom is dedicated to helping organisations and governments navigate change and develop adaptive resilience in the age of Artificial Intelligence.


Jonathan Pearse MBE began working in Westminster in 1995 as a Parliamentary Assistant in the office of the then Leader of the Opposition Tony Blair. Following the General Election of 1997, Jonathan worked in the Political Office at 10 Downing Street, firstly as a Political Assistant and then as an Assistant Political Secretary to the Prime Minister focussing on party and stakeholder engagement and the government’s legislative agenda in the House of Lords. From 2007 to 2010, Jonathan was a Special Adviser to the Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council where he worked on all aspects of House of Lords business and political support for Government Peers. Following the 2010 General Election, Jonathan moved to the Leader of the Opposition and Opposition Chief Whip’s Office in the House of Lords as a Senior Political Adviser and Private Secretary. His long experience in both government and opposition covers a wide range of activities including the legislative process, election campaigns and political communications.



Training Catalogue

Complete Training Catalogue
Jan - Dec 2024

New Course

The training aims to help civil servants in ALB sponsorship/partnership roles to gain a deeper insight into the governance and financial management arrangements with which ALBs are expected to comply.

Tailored in-house training

Civil Service College can deliver In-House training within your organisation that is exactly tailored to meet your individual training requirements.

Training Alerts

For more information on how we protect and store your submitted data, please see visit our privacy policy.