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Alison Seabrooke

Leadership and consultancy in a range of policy areas:

Bank Workers Charity
Interim chief executive for an organisation providing support to current, former and retired bank employees and their families. October 2020 – September 2021

SASH (Safe and Sound Homes)
Interim chief executive for an organisation that provides vulnerable young people facing homelessness, with a safe and stable place to stay. November 2019 – June 2020

Groundwork West Midlands
Interim chief executive reviewing the operations and opportunities of one of Groundwork UK’s federated trusts. Change management to deliver a sustainability strategy. December 2018 – October 2019

Visiting Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States
From 2014, speaker and participant in BUILD – Bilbao Urban Innovation Leadership Dialogues – leading to a Fellowship. January 2019 – September 2021

Sutton Coldfield Town Council
A review of the health and wellbeing needs of residents of Sutton Coldfield. Review of their Community Grants Scheme and training on grant management and administration for elected members and officers. May 2018 – June 2019; November 2021 –

The report is available from here:…/Community-Development-Report.pdf 

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 – November 2018; February 2022 –   

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 

Vice Chair IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) 2019 –

Trustee ASDA Foundation 2012 – 2019

Community Development Foundation (CDF)
Between 2005 – 2016 chief executive of CDF. 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, converting it to a social enterprise in 2011, achieving operational efficiencies and delivering £ms grants programmes and support at a community level. This covered multiple policy areas, working with all sectors and delivered by a highly collaborative and productive staff team.


The articles below provide an insight into some of my interests and experience.

Interim reflections

In 2018, after many years enjoying directly employed status, followed by an interesting consultancy portfolio, I took a step into contract-based, interim work. Two years and two interim chief executive placements later, I have used a short break to capture some key learning points, that might be helpful to others who are new to, or are considering this particular type of work.

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What’s in the tin?

I am sometimes asked what I do for a living with an expectation that my response will comprise a simple word or two. I don’t, though, have an easily identifiable profession or job which says what it does on the tin, such as engineer, sales assistant, teacher. I have...

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Sutton Coldfield Town Council; a community development approach to health and wellbeing

In October 2018 I concluded a project for Sutton Coldfield Town Council, to consider the health and wellbeing needs of its population and how a community development and engagement approach could help address local priorities. I combined a data review to identify local priorities and listened to local organisations to understand the reality on the ground. In addition to providing firm evidence to support future allocation of resources, there were some unexpected outcomes of the research.

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Who gives a Pluck?

There is nothing like reading a good book, but I am bad at it. Daily demands, aka a lack of personal discipline, reduces me to an online daily digest of public affairs, contemporary articles and content that might serve well in a trivia quiz. The only way to devour one is to chain me to a chair; I am, therefore, a holiday reader. This is a review of Madeleine Albright’s book, Fascism: A Warning

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Looking back, to look forwards

The Marshall Plan was a bold gesture to rebuild the economies and spirit of western Europe after WWII. As we enter a fragile period of post war politics, this article explores our need to consciously engage with our past as we attempt to shape our future, drawing on personal insights. It highlights the importance of transnational dialogue in advance of BUILD 2017, held in Detroit and initiated by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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What is a community?

We often debate the definition of community, particularly when designing policy or programmes. The problem is that there are different definitions of community and that we too often disconnect our professional expectations from our personal experiences.

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Health and social care; shifting markets, models and money.

Shifting the weight of demand from clinical to community care and responsibility from clinicians to citizens is critical to the future viability of our national health services. NHS England’s 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans set out how areas in England will approach this over the next few years. But how easily will clinicians and commissioners find it to incorporate community-led responses into the health and social care eco-system?

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Magnetic cities

What does it take to create a magnetic city? This post looks at the different approaches city leaders should consider when planning for urban transformation.

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The evolution of Big Local

Local Trust’s chief executive, Debbie Ladds, invited me to write an article that, on the closure of the Community Development Foundation (CDF) in March 2016, provides an insight into Local Trust’s beginnings and the relationship between the two organisations. Here’s the story.

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What next for UK Cities, as we Brexit?

The shock of the UK Referendum result has provoked a multitude of reactions and self-searching, both at home and abroad. For me, it has opened questions I hadn’t even considered before the vote, which could have a permanent impact on the UK’s nations.

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A legacy for community development

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.

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That’s all folks … or is it?

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.

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Congratulations on your closure!

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.

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BUILD Bilbao; what’s in a word?

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.

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Odgers Interim November 2019

Case Study: Interim CEO of Groundwork West Midlands
Narinder Uppal, Odgers Interim membership & trade bodies consultant, speaks to interim CEO Alison Seabrooke about her recent assignment as CEO of Groundwork West Midlands

Guardian Society Profile April 2016

This isn’t the end for local activism
The head of the axed Community Development Foundation on how local organisations already hit by cuts will have to pick up the slack.

BUILD Bilbao October 2016

Bilbao Urban Innovation and Leadership Dialogues
From September 16-19, 2015, BUILD convened over 100 civic leaders and urban practitioners from GMF’s network in the U.S. and Europe to discuss strategies for leading transformative change in cities for BUILD's second annual convening.


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