Leadership and consultancy in a range of policy areas:
SASH (Safe and Sound Homes)
Interim chief executive for an organisation that provides vulnerable young people with a safe and stable place to stay, when they have nowhere else to go and supports their often complex needs. Providing leadership and strategic direction to the senior team in readiness for the permanent postholder. (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 the annual convening of leaders engaged in multiple aspects of urban spatial and human development (BUILD – Bilbao Urban Innovation Leadership Dialogues), leading to a Fellowship. Includes collaboration with the European Foundation Centre on moving from ideas to action focusing on effective partnerships. (January 2019 – )
Sutton Coldfield Town Council
A review of the health and wellbeing needs of residents of Sutton Coldfield and recommendations on the priorities for community development and investment. Followed by a review of their Community Grants Scheme and training on grant management and administration for elected members and officers. (May 2018 – June 2019)
The report is available from here: www.suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk/…/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)
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 IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) 2019
Trustee ASDA Foundation 2012 – 2019
Community Development Foundation (CDF)
Between 2005 – 2016 I was chief executive of 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, 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.
See more about my career path…
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.
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...
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.
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
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.
The Good City Economy is making great strides in peer learning across UK cities. What though, of the opportunity for peer learning beyond the UK as Brexit and post-Trump politics unfold? Can philanthropy at home help us keep connected beyond our small island?
It’s exactly a year since the Community Development Foundation ceased to trade – this blog reflects on the ways in which a legacy can be left.
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.
Delivering a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) has its challenges, but will it be helped or hindered through a new approach to working with communities?
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?
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.
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.
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.
Why has Jo Cox’s murder provoked an international response; this blog considers the response to a single gun crime incident in the UK, compared to the mass shootings in Orlando.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.