Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)DF
TitleDouglas French Archive
Extent164 boxes
DescriptionPapers and sound recordings of proceedings of conferences organised by Westminster and City Programmes, the conference and research organisation dedicated to the financial services sector, established by Douglas French. There are papers for the majority of conferences held from 1979 to 2005, with some gaps, and sound recordings from 1988 to 2010, with gaps
Papers consist of conference brochures, delegate lists, conference files including transcripts of speeches and copies of slides
Much of the material relates to the conduct of economic policy from the 1980s to the 2000s and to views held by financial services leaders, regulators, politicians, and civil servants during this period. Westminster and City Programmes provided a venue for representatives of government, finance, and industry to discuss and negotiate the implementation of government reform, and the papers and recordings reflect the diversity of topics and issues that were debated, written about and legislated on over this time, and provide evidence of the ways in which government interacted and negotiated with representatives of these sectors. Major issues discussed at the conferences include financial reform; monetarism; privatisation; pensions reform; insurance accounting; European Union harmonisation of financial services; e-commerce and internet banking
Access ConditionsConference papers open for research. Audio recordings subject to access restrictions for data protection reasons and because of the physical condition of audio cassette tapes
Finding AidsA temporary handlist is available as a pdf file. Click on the link in the document field below
Access StatusOpen, but subject to some access restrictions
Physical DescriptionThe majority of the sound recordings are on audio cassette and are not accessible. Sound recordings on CD are available to researchers
Creator NameFrench, Douglas Charles, b 1944
Administrative HistoryDouglas Charles French (b 1944) was educated at Glyn Grammar School, Epsom, and St Catherine's College, Cambridge. He stood unsuccessfully for parliament for Sheffield Attercliffe in 1979. He established Westminster and City Programmes Limited in 1979, an independent conference and research organisation dedicated to the financial services sector, hosting conferences at London hotels. French intended that Westminster and City Programmes would identify market trends driven by legislative, regulatory and technological change and to explore and assess them through a conference format. He wanted to address, though conferences and seminars, the then perceived inadequacy of communication between politicians, especially ministers from HM Treasury and the then Department for Social Security, and senior management in financial institutions.

Many of the early conferences were policy orientated, assessing the impact of legislation at Westminster and policy decisions at Whitehall on the business of financial institutions, especially the regulatory environment in which they work and how it affects their approach to marketing. Many past events were held to coincide with government consultative documents and timed to take place during formal periods of consultation, and so contributed to the consultative process itself.

Later, the scope of the events broadened to look at the impact of legislation and regulation on the business of banks, life companies, investment houses and similar institutions, and those who advise them. The conferences and seminars provide a forum for focussed industry debate and aim for objective, non-promotional contributions from industry leaders. Events are interactive, with emphasis on questions and discussion. Speakers are invited to take part on the basis of their merit and standing and reputation within the industry, and contributions are chosen as a result of editorial judgement based on objective research. Researchers specialise in financial services and understand different sectors of the marketplace, factors influencing developments, and the trends likely to shape the future. Delegates usually have strategic responsibilities or are senior opinion formers.
Conference attendees include financial services leaders, regulators, and government ministers and officials.

Douglas French was elected to the House of Commons at the 1987 general election as Conservative Member of Parliament for Gloucester. He served as special advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Geoffrey Howe. He was re-elected in 1992, and defeated at the 1997 general election. He continues to organise conferences for Westminster and City Programmes

Sources: Westminster and City website,, accessed February 2020; Wikipedia entry for Douglas French,, accessed February 2020
Custodial HistoryThese papers and recordings were collected by Douglas French and kept at his home until 2017 when they were transferred to the University of Birmingham on a temporary loan basis in order for them to be used by Emma Barrett for her PhD research. They were stored at the Cadbury Research Library. The papers were sorted and listed, and some of the sound recordings were digitised by undergraduate student placements in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The University of Birmingham then entered into an agreement with Douglas French to hold the material on a loan basis from January 2020 for the purposes of research and teaching
AcquisitionDeposited by Douglas French, January 2020
CopiesSome of the sound recordings have been digitised but are not currently accessible for research