I work on projects in a range of policy areas:
Radioactive Waste Management (RWM)
Providing strategic and practical advice to a UK public body and BEIS on a community consent-based approach to a nationally significant infrastructure project. (July 2016 – )
Sutton Coldfield Town Council
A review of the health and wellbeing needs of residents of Sutton Coldfield and recommendations on the priorities for community engagement and investment. (May 2018 – )
BBC Children in Need
A review of its UK grant-making and grant management processes; recommendations to the board endorsed and implemented. (February 2017)
NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
Reviewed neighbourhood and community-led, non-clinical approaches to health and social care across rural and urban areas in a Midlands county, for their STP submission. (July – November 2016)
Trustee ASDA Foundation 2012 – present
You can read more about my work in my blog posts.
Between 2005 – 2016 I was chief executive of the Community Development Foundation (CDF). Originally established in 1967 as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) and charity, its role covered all four nations, working across policy, practice, research, evaluation, programmes and consultancy. I led CDF’s work building its business portfolio and partnerships, achieving operational efficiencies and delivering £ms in contracts across multiple policy areas, with all sectors, through a highly collaborative and productive staff team.
On cessation as a public body in 2010, I swiftly shifted CDF to its independent social enterprise status, whilst securing Big Lottery Fund’s £200m endowment to set up Local Trust and deliver the Big Local programme and Cabinet Office’s £80m Community First programme.
Between 2012 – 2016, Trustees agreed a strategy to invest CDF’s reserves in communities, in response to the effects of the financial crisis. In 2015 I presented options to Trustees for future investment in community development and in December 2015 it was agreed to pass substantial funds and intellectual property rights to Local Trust, established with similar charitable objects. CDF ceased to trade in March 2016, a decision that commanded respect as one that could be adopted by other charities.
The articles below provide an insight into some of my interests and experience.
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My most recent posts…
We are constantly told that devolution is needed to give power back to local communities. While an admirable statement, it implies that communities are currently disengaged and unable to offect change. This is not the case.read more
The decision to close CDF was taken in the context of the evolution of community development and of CDF – from 1967 as a non-departmental public body and charity with offices in the nations, to an independent social enterprise in 2011, delivering a number of products and services primarily in England. Devolution of power and money – first to nations and now cities and localities – has influenced the way in which we operate and shaped the way community development is applied and resourced. This blog provides detail on the final outcome of where nearly £850k of cash plus intellectual property assets have been transferred.read more
A month ago I published my post about CDF’s decision to close. This note is a follow-up to that news. Today we sent our last monthly external newsletter, detailing where CDF’s assets will go (funds, products, services, archives) to our 13,000 friends, colleagues and clients.read more
Brave’, ‘strategic’, ‘congratulations’, ‘thanks for the CDF legacy’ – not phrases you would expect when an organisation takes a decision to close. But these are the overwhelming sentiments I have received since announcing late December 2015 that CDF will soon cease to exist, after nearly 50 years. With charities hitting the headlines at the tail-end of the wave of recalibration of big business (in which I include the public sector), CDF has, as usual, done things differently.read more
The second BUILD international conference opened up insights into different nations’ priorities for urban transformation and what this might mean for local communities. This is the winning entry in the blog competition.read more
Over the past few weeks the charity sector has been drawn into the debate about government proposals to limit potential charity ‘lobbying’ by inserting clauses into grant offer letters. NCVO has recently written a letter to the Prime Minister countersigned by charity CEOs, and is actively briefing peers, politicians and government officials about the proposed move. Here the sector is challenged to think more broadly and keep its eye on the bigger picture.read more
The passion we continue to share at CDF is the need to advocate for those working at the grassroots – the local activists, community groups and volunteers and those who support them from all sectors – and how they rise to local challenges and create opportunities for their communities, regardless of the odds. Empowering people to influence and act upon the decisions that affect their lives has been central to our work, The overriding commitment is to make sure that the recipient of CDF’s resources is able to keep the flame alight.read more
Stories of the devastating impact of debt on individuals and communities are never far from the headlines. The Government’s u-turn decision to cap payday loans this week has been welcomed by many charities and campaigning organisations, not least by our very own Community Investment Coalition (CIC). Here are examples of where community organisations, including housing associations, are tackling debt in their own areas.read more
Over the year, we’ve enjoyed a growing understanding and relationship with a number of housing associations up and down the country. But just as we were getting to know a bit more about each other July ‘happened’. The government’s announcement of the Right to Buy, cuts to government funds, layered on changes arising from the ‘bedroom tax’ and universal credits, has sent the sector into a bit of a spin.read more
When philosopher Desiderius Erasmus said Prevention is better than cure, I doubt he thought we would still be stating the obvious over 500 years later.read more