Tech North is losing two more senior leaders

Coral GraingerTech NorthCoral Grainger is head of skills and talent at Tech North.

A government agency tasked with developing the technology sector in the North of England is losing two more senior staff just weeks after the head of the agency left, Tech City Insider reports.

Paul Lancaster, Tech North’s community engagement and partnerships manager, and Coral Grainger, Tech North’s head of skills and talent, are reported to have declined offers to extend their contracts from April.

The departures come less than a month after Claire Braithwaite, head of Tech North, announced she was leaving.

Tech City Insider claims that Braithwaite left following a post-spending review dispute with Tech City UK over budget and autonomy.

Braithwaite reportedly concluded that she was unable to support a new Tech City UK delivery plan that placed Tech North’s budget and programme under the control of Tech City UK, which has its headquarters in London.

One of the first big names to leave Tech North was Tech North board member Alex Depledge, who cofounded on-demand cleaning service Hassle. She is yet to publicly state her reasons for leaving but it’s believed she is also unhappy with the way Tech City UK handled Tech North.

Tech North was created to join up the tech ecosystems across Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Sunderland into one giant internationally renowned tech cluster.

The official launch of Tech North was delayed by several months, bringing early criticism from the Labour Party. The scheme was announced by former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in October 2014 but did not get going until mid-way through 2015.

Last July, the organisation’s business plan was also criticised by one of the entrepreneurs it was hoping to support, after they saw a business plan outlining the vision for Tech North. “They don’t seem to have actually been able to get a strategy together,” said a Techworld source — understood to be a leading startup figurehead at the core of one of the cities included in the Tech North scheme. “I still don’t understand what they’re supposed to be doing,” they said at the time.

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