We have a fantastic line up of speakers for you at this year’s Solace Summit. In the run-up to the Summit, we will be adding to the speaker line-up, so be sure come back and check for updates.

Dr Margaret Heffernan

Dr. Margaret Heffernan produced programmes for the BBC for 13 years. She then moved to the US where she spearheaded multimedia productions for Intuit, The Learning Company and Standard & Poors. She was Chief Executive of InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and then iCast Corporation, was named one of the “Top 25” by Streaming Media magazine and one of the “Top 100 Media Executives” by The Hollywood Reporter. Dr. Heffernan’s third book, Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril was named one of the most important business books of the decade by the Financial Times. In 2015, she was awarded the Transmission Prize for A Bigger Prize: Why Competition isn’t Everything and How We Do Better, described as “meticulously researched…engagingly written…universally relevant and hard to fault.” Her TED talks have been seen by over eight million people and in 2015 TED published Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes. She is Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership Programme and, through Merryck & Co., mentors CEOs and senior executives of major global organisations. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath and continues to write for the Financial Times. An updated edition of Wilful Blindness is due out in autumn 2018; Dr. Heffernan’s newest book is scheduled for release in Spring 2019. www.mheffernan.com

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE

Baroness Ruby is a portfolio Non-Executive Director and Advisory Director with current positions which include Mace Group, the Department of Education and Bath University. Baroness Ruby was the Chief Executive of MITIE Group PLC, the strategic outsourcing company, employing over 65000 people predominantly in the UK. She joined MITIE in 2002 and was appointed as CEO in 2007. She is one of a small number of women who have held the position of Chief Executive in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 and is the first Asian woman to be appointed in such a role within that group of companies.Baroness Ruby was also an Independent Non-Executive Director of PageGroup, appointed to the Board in May 2007. She chaired the Audit Committee, was a Member of Nomination and Remuneration Committees and also latterly their Senior Independent Director. PageGroup has 35 years expertise in professional services recruitment and currently employs more than 5,300 people in over 160 offices and 34 countries worldwide. She is a member of the Women’s Business Council (previously Chair) and a Member of the European Committee for Internal Markets in the House of Lords. Baroness Ruby is responsible for the Independent Report to the UK Government on Race in the Workplace published in February 2017.

Peter Holbrook CBE

Peter Holbrook has established, developed and supported hundreds of diverse social enterprises over his career. He has advised Government taskforces in the UK and overseas and chaired the Social Enterprise World Forum, the global network of social businesses until 2015. He has previously worked for Oxfam, Greenpeace and various disability charities, and has experience of working in overseas development, community development and public health. Holbrook started his career with Marks and Spencer PLC and also spent several years with Body Shop International. He was appointed a CBE in 2015. He is CEO of Social Enterprise UK the national trade body for social enterprise and represents a wide range of social enterprises, regional and national support networks and other related organisations.

Sammy Woodhouse

Sammy Woodhouse, is the author of #1 best seller ‘Just A Child’, a national speaker, campaigner & fundraiser.  She is one of the 1400 survivors who were groomed and abused in Rotherham.

Her story was published, naming Hussain and the deputy leader of Rotherham council in August 2013. This triggered the Professor Alexis Jay report, which exposed the cover up of 1,400 children being abused highlighting failures in the system in Rotherham. She was also the survivor to open the police investigation (Operation Clover) into her abuse, and all other non-recent child abuse cases in Rotherham. In February 2016, Hussain was found guilty and sentenced to 35 years in prison.


Sammy prompted the Professor Alexis Jay report, which exposed the cover up of 1,400 children being abused and failed in Rotherham, opening the largest investigation of its nature of our time.


Sammy has had private meetings with PM David Cameron, the DfE, Victims Commissioner, MoJ and the Home Office as well as other government officials, commissioners, leaders, heads of children’s services as well as other significant individuals and organsations, in order to drive changes regarding procedure and policy, and to deliver training.


She has also secured funding for a variety of charities, including £3.1million to Barnardo’s.


As a campaigner Sammy is trying to bring awareness and make changes to policies and laws. To date, she has run a variety of campaigns focusing on employment  changes, counselling services, mandatory education, CICA, legal actions against councils, Sammy’s Law, and Loose Women’s never too late to tell campaign.

Through campaigning, she has also helped to raise the profile of child abuse in the media, both in the UK and on an international level.

Fiona Duncan

Fiona has over 20 years’ experience working in the voluntary sector in organisations as diverse as Capability Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Water.


Fiona is closely involved with Corra Foundation,  a philanthropic grant-giving organisation for people and communities experiencing disadvantage, and has driven a new strategy for the organisation that includes supporting communities to drive lasting change in systems, practice and culture. She has contributed to Corra Foundation’s flagship Partnership Drugs Initiative, particularly in relation to its growing focus on the rights and voices of children and young people affected by substance misuse.


The Care Review will be delivered over four stages, aiming to conclude in early 2020.  During this time, it will identify and deliver lasting change in the care system and leave a legacy that will transform the life chances and well-being of children and young people in care.


Those who have lived experience of the care system offer a unique perspective and their voice will be at the heart of the Care Review and heard throughout. Crucially, the Independent Care Review will ensure that it hears from those who have not previously had the opportunity to be heard. Throughout its duration, the Care Review will deliver change, demonstrating that it can – and must – be achieved.

Abdool Kara

Abdool Kara took up the role of Executive Leader, Local Services at the National Audit Office in February 2017. This followed over seven years as Chief Executive at Swale BC, and four years as Assistant Chief Executive at LB Merton. Abdool previously worked for the Audit Commission in a variety of roles, including Housing Inspectorate Operations Manger, Head of Comprehensive Performance Assessment Policy, and on placement as special adviser to the Cabinet Office. Prior to the Audit Commission he had spent ten years in London local government, at LB Ealing specialising in homelessness and housing strategy, and the Corporation of London, leading on performance management. Abdool has a BSc in Political Economy from University College, London; an MSc in Development Studies from Bath University; and an MSc in Housing from the London School of Economics. He is currently the Solace (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) Policy Spokesperson on Evidence Based Policy, and a member of the ESRC Capability Committee. He is married, and has two daughters and a step-son

Stephen Baker

Stephen is the Chief Executive of East Suffolk  Councils, having initially joined Suffolk Coastal as Chief Executive in 2005.  He became Chief Executive of Waveney in 2008.

Stephen’s local government career started in 1982 when he left the private sector and joined Ipswich Borough Council.  He later went on to become Chief Executive of East Northamptonshire District Council in 2002.

Whilst the role of Chief Executive is wide and varied, Stephen has three areas of particular interest: shared services and collaboration; civil resilience and community safety; and growth and economic development.

For many years Stephen chaired the Local Government Delivery Council, a Local Government Association body contributing to the delivery of the improvement agenda by liaising with Central Government on the implementation of major projects and change programmes.  He also chaired the Public Sector Network Programme Board to ensure that compliance practices work for local councils and that the public sector maximises opportunities to support the delivery of a joined up local public service.

Stephen also represented local government on the Nuclear Emergency Planning Delivery Committee, is a contact for the Cabinet Office for the Recovery Advisory Board and has also chaired the Suffolk Local Resilience Forum.

Geoff Mullgan

Geoff Mulgan has been Chief Executive of Nesta since 2011. Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation and runs a wide range of activities in investment, practical innovation and research. Under his leadership it moved out of the public sector to become an independent foundation; greatly expanded its work, partly through creating new units, centres and funds in fields ranging from evidence and impact investment to challenge prizes and skills; and complemented its work in the UK with work in dozens of countries around the world.

Between 1997 and 2004 Geoff had various roles in the UK government including director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office. From 2004 to 2011 Geoff was the first Chief Executive of The Young Foundation. He was the first director of the think-tank Demos; Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP and reporter on BBC TV and radio.  He has helped set up many organisations including Demos and the Young Foundation as well as the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Uprising, Studio Schools Trust and Action for Happiness.

Geoff co-chaIrs a World Economic Forum group looking at innovation and entrepreneurship in the fourth industrial revolution. He has advised many governments around the world and is currently chair of an international advisory committee for the Mayor of Seoul and a member of advisory committees for the Prime Minister’s office in the United Arab Emirates, the French government’s digital agency, the Scottish Government and SITRA, the Finnish Innovation agency.

Dr Amen Mashariki

Dr. Mashariki leads Urban Analytics at Esri. Esri is a digital mapping pioneer that builds big data and analytics software that provides location intelligence and insights for almost every industry.

As the head of Urban Analytics at Esri, Dr. Mashariki is responsible for the messaging and strategy for applying data science principles to urban challenges, ensuring that data-driven decision makers will realize impactful and positive outcomes in urban policy and operations. Previously Dr. Mashariki was Chief Analytics Officer for the City of New York and the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics. He ran the civic intelligence center that allowed one of the largest cities in the world to aggregate and analyze data from across agencies.

Dr. Mashariki also currently serves as a Fellow at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

In 2012, Dr. Mashariki was one of eleven individuals appointed by the President of the United States to the 2012-2013 class of White House Fellows

Immediately after the Fellowship he was appointed the Chief Technology Officer for the Office of Personnel Management.

Amen earned a Doctorate in Engineering from Morgan State University, as well as a Master and Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Howard and Lincoln University respectively.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE

Andrea has over 30 years’ experience in health and social care managing a range of services including those for children and older people.

Andrea joined CQC in October 2013. She leads on the regulation and inspection of adult social care including care homes and domiciliary care. Andrea is also responsible for the registration team supporting all health and care sectors. In collaboration with many others, Andrea played a key role in the development of Quality Matters, the adult social care sector wide commitment to quality launched in July 2017.

Andrea joined CQC from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) where she was Chief Executive from April 2012. Previously she was Chief Executive of the Appointments Commission and was an Executive Director at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for 7 years.

In July 2016 in recognition of her work in social care, Andrea received an Honorary Award of Doctor of Science from the University of Leeds. In the 2018 New Year’s Honours Andrea was awarded a CBE in recognition of her services to adult social care

Andrea is an advocate for the use of social media to share information and learn from others. She tweets at @Crouchendtiger7 and writes occasional blogs for the CQC website. Andrea is passionate about people who use services, their families and carers being at the heart of everything CQC does.

Melanie Dawes

Melanie Dawes took up her role as Permanent Secretary for DCLG on 1 March 2015. She continued this role for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from 8 January 2018. She is also gender champion for the Civil Service and sits on the Civil Service Board and Senior Leadership Committee.

Melanie was Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat (EDS) at the Cabinet Office from October 2011, responsible for overseeing the system of Cabinet decision-making.
Between 2006 and 2011 she was at HMRC, including as one of the department’s Commissioners. She was Director General for Business Tax from November 2007, which involved responsibility for all the business taxes and duties as well as leadership of the department’s relationships with big business. From 2009, she also led the development of HMRC’s overall strategy as a department.

Before joining HMRC, Melanie spent 15 years at the Treasury, including as Europe Director from 2002 to 2006. She started her career as an economist and has worked on public spending, tax and tax credit policy, macroeconomics, monetary policy and the euro.


Rob Whiteman

Rob Whiteman has been CEO of CIPFA since October 2013 during which time the institute has seen its accountancy student footprint extend to 80 countries and new specialisms launched in areas such as counter fraud.

Previously, Rob has held CEO roles at the Home Office for the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the Improvement & Development Agency (IDeA). He was CEO of LB Barking & Dagenham from 2005 to 2010 and non-executive roles have included the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

He is presently the NHS chair of the North East London STP Board.

A well-known UK and international commentator on public service finance and leadership, Rob is a Technical Adviser to the Board of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Adam Lent

Adam Lent is Director of the New Local Government Network – a think-tank working with almost fifty local councils and their partners to deliver more creativity, collaboration and self-determination in public services. He has worked previously as Head of Economics at the Trades Union Congress and Director of the Action and Research Centre for the Royal Society for the Arts. He has researched and written extensively throughout his career on democratic engagement, the labour market and public policy. His latest book, Small is Powerful, was published in 2016 by Unbound. He holds a PhD from Sheffield University

Alix Bedford

Alix Bedford is a strategic risk professional with over 15 years’ experience working both with and within the public sector initially as a Strategic Risk Consultant with Zurich Municipal. Alix’s current focus is supporting the delivery of strategic risk management solutions across Zurich Municipal segments through the provision of risk insight, training and coaching. Prior to this Alix spent 7 years as the lead officer for risk and performance management at Swindon Borough Council, and has experience in a variety of fields including policy development, corporate planning, performance management, programme and project management and business resilience. Alix is a member of the Institute of Risk Management and was their Certificate qualification student of the year for 2016.

Dame Louise Casey DBE CB

Over the last 17 years Dame Louise has been
instrumental in the development of a number of
bespoke social policy programmes for Government.
Drawing on her experiences leading homeless charity
Shelter, Dame Louise has consistently delivered brave
and innovative solutions to long standing social
problems ranging from homelessness to anti-social
behaviour to troubled families.
Throughout this, Dame Louise has maintained her
commitment to the charity sector and has been a
driving force in the establishment of the Institute for
Global Homelessness, with the aim of delivering an
international solution to homelessness across the
At the request of the Prime Minister, she led a review
into opportunity and integration in some of our most
isolated communities.
Dame Louise was awarded the Companion of the
Order of Bath (CB) in the Queen’s birthday honours
list, 2008 and made Dame Commander of the Order
of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen’s birthday
honours list, 2016.

Paul Najsarek

Paul is the chief executive of Ealing Council where he is leading the Future Ealing transformation programme which is focusing on community outcomes. His past roles include acting chief executive of Harrow Council and senior social care and corporate roles in Harrow, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hertfordshire. He was previously chief executive of Bolton Council.

He has led major projects including a £1billion regeneration programme in Harrow and a housing programme that built 2,500 homes. He also led the implementation of the Greater Manchester devolution deal for Bolton Council. He has significant experience of partnership working at both national and local level including leading for SOLACE on community wellbeing as its spokesperson, regeneration for the West London Alliance, and adult services for London Councils.

Paul has directly managed and improved front-line council services, despite reducing council budgets including delivering transformation savings of £100million in Harrow. In his role as statutory DASS at Harrow, he led the transformation of the service from the worst rated in the country to amongst the best.  He was head of policy at the Audit Commission and was also part of the central government team that drafted ‘Every Child Matters’, a policy that has transformed children services nationally.

Robert Weaver

Robert Weaver, Deputy CEO at Tewkesbury Borough Council has over 20 years local government experience, predominantly within the regulatory and development management sectors. He is passionate about improving services for local communities, through transformation and innovative service delivery and appreciates the benefit of more contemporary forms of income generation in meeting this aim.


Robert is currently undertaking research work for the completion of an MBA, exploring the relationship between non- financial risk management and governance arrangements associated with local authority commercial investment programmes. Robert is undertaking this work in light of limited existing research exploring this relationship and the connection with the moral dilemma facing many Councils of how and where to invest, whilst remaining true to the purpose and principles of local government.

With many councils either already involved in commercial investment activity, or thinking of setting up such programmes, Robert hopes his work could lead to the creation of a non-financial risk management framework to assist local authorities alongside more traditional financial risk management processes

Barry Quirk

Barry joined Kensington and Chelsea as interim Chief Executive in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017. He agreed take on the role on a permanent basis in September 2017. He is the longest serving CE in UK local government; he was previously Chief Executive of Lewisham Council. He has worked in London local government for 40 years; with service and management experience in six Councils.

Barry has been involved in policy development and public management at regional and national levels for two decades. He served a four year term (2002-6) as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of HM Revenue & Customs. He was an independent member of two capability reviews of HM Treasury (in 2001 and 2008). And for five years (until 2010) Barry served the UK Government as its National Efficiency Champion for English local government. In 2007 he produced a landmark report for Government on the potential transfer of public assets to community groups. Barry has been both the President and Chairman of SOLACE (the national association for local government chief executives). He is a senior member of the International City Managers Association (ICMA) based in the USA.

Barry has a PhD in social & political geography and a CBE for services to London local government. He is on the Council of Goldsmiths, University of London. He writes regularly on public policy and management and his book, Re-imagining Government, was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2011 to critical acclaim.

Chris Naylor

Chris Naylor is Chief Executive of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. He leads delivery of the Council’s aims: encourage civic pride; enable social responsibility; and grow the borough. He brings to this task a particular strategic focus on: the redesign of public services so that they tackle the pivotal root cause of a presenting social need; the application of behavioural science and insight in a public-sector setting; inclusive growth; and community engagement, capacity building and civic renewal.

He joined Barking and Dagenham from the London Borough of Barnet where he was Chief Operating Officer. Previously he was Corporate Director of Resources in Tower Hamlets and Director of Resident Services at Hammersmith and Fulham.

Chris is a Chartered Accountant and has a degree in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, specialising in contemporary social theory. Chris was born and brought up in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where he was educated at Wickersley comprehensive school.

Chris is married to Sophie and is the proud father of Joe, Dan and Betty and thrilled to be step-dad to Grace.

Martin Reeves

Martin has been Chief Executive of Coventry City Council since April 2009. He was the Chief Executive and the Head of Paid Service of the West Midlands Combined Authority March 2016 to September 2017. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive.

Martin was previously Head of Performance Improvement at Westminster City Council in the heart of London. He was also Programme Director for WorkSmart the City Council’s flagship transformation programme.

Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher, and has a PhD in applied economics.

He is a Governor on the Board at Coventry University; is the first Honorary President of LARIA (Local Authorities Research and Intelligence Association) and on the board of the Centre for Cities.

He was the President of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) in 2013.

He is the Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion.

In 2015, Martin was invited onto the independent taskforce, which produced the new 5 year national cancer strategy.

He chairs the national cross system board for sustainable health & social care.

He is also a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Advisory Board.

In 2018 Martin was once again included in the top 50 of the Local Government Chronicle’s list of most influential people in local government.

Max Wide

Max is an experienced local government consultant and is currently an Associate Director Future Cities Catapult. He was formerly Strategic Director of Business Change at Bristol City Council, and an Executive Director at Barnet and Suffolk Councils.

Max’s career began in welfare rights and led, through working with homeless people in the third sector, into local government. Max worked for many years in adult care with people with learning difficulties in Hillingdon, in training and development and then in corporate transformation In Enfield. He led the work of SOLACE in leadership and cultural change, and whilst there was the author of books on organisational development (Transforming your Authority) , cultural change (The Working Council) and leadership in political environments (Leadership United). An experienced peer review and peer challenge leader, he has worked with many senior teams delivering transformation programmes across Councils. He was a member of the Solace Policy Board leading on Innovation and Commissioning. Max has also worked extensively in the private sector and spent six years at BT Global Services as Director of Local Government Strategy and at iMPOWER as a Director. Max has been recognised by LGC as one of the top 30 most influential voices in local government.

Max is a graduate of Henley Business school, has two sons and lives in Somerset

Zoё Croom

Zoё Croom is a labour rights consultant at twentyfifty. Zoё brings a wealth of on-the ground experience across Asia, Africa and Europe.

Zoё focuses on working with companies to deliver practical solutions to improving labour conditions in their supply chains. She brings expertise in stakeholder engagement engaging stakeholders at every level of the supply chain. Her experience includes social audits, human rights impact assessments, supply chain risk assessments and capacity building training. She has developed training on modern slavery, grievance mechanisms, age verification systems and responsible recruitment. Alongside this, she also managed a multi-stakeholder programme in Bangladesh delivering Human Resources and Productivity training to garment factories.

Zoё has worked across a range of industries and with clients that include agriculture, FMCG companies, fashion houses, retailers, electronics firms and development finance.
Before moving into ethical trade and labour rights, Zoё worked in publishing, where she worked with Accountancy and Law Association bodies to develop CPD courses. She is a keen traveller, having spent 3 years living in China, as well as having spent time in Taiwan, India and Bangladesh, giving her sensitivity to local contexts and challenges.

James Barlow

An Associate Director at twentyfifty, James has over 14 years’ corporate responsible sourcing, sustainability and leadership development experience in PepsiCo, where he built the European practice team. He has a further 10 years’ commercial, operational & R&D experience in Unilever & Campbell’s. He is a past member of the PepsiCo Human Rights Council and Leadership Development Faculty & the AIM-Progress Leadership Team.

He works with private, public and third sector clients in the fields of sustainability, human rights, leadership development and as an executive coach and facilitator.

He developed & executed strategy to improve environmental, human rights’ & broader supply chain risk performance across multi-billion USD spend including in the high-risk agriculture supply chain & he managed the complex PepsiCo human & environmental sustainability ‘Global Scenarios & Strategies for 2030’ project which set a framework for global Environmental Sustainability strategy & transformed agricultural supply chain strategy & multi-tier engagement.

He catalysed the breakthrough ‘50% carbon / water reduction in 5years’ collaborative potato supply chain initiative which delivered multiple benefits for growers & PepsiCo, and won the UK FDF & The Grocer national industry awards in 2017.

He is a certified Integral Development Coach, holds an MSc Responsibility & Business Practice (Bath) & an MEng Chemical Engineering (Cambridge). He is married with 3 teenagers and lives in Oxfordshire.

Joanne Roney OBE

Joanne has been the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council since April 2017.   During the last 18 months she has dealt with a number of unprecedented events including the Manchester Arena Bomb. Joanne is driving the Council through the fundamental changes to Health and Social Care.  She is lead Chief Executive for skills across Greater Manchester.

Before moving to Manchester, Joanne  was previously Chief Executive of Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council, where she held the top post from 2008.

Joanne’s career started in local government as an apprentice with Birmingham City Council when she was 16.   She has a strong track record in transforming public services and delivering major regeneration initiatives such as the Hepworth Gallery Wakefield and Parkhill Housing in Sheffield.  She has extensive experience  in housing and local government having previously worked as Director of Housing at Kirklees Council and Executive Director with responsibility for housing, communities and adult care services at Sheffield City Council.  Joanne  is a Fellow of CIH and a regular contributor to Inside Housing.

Joanne is a Trustee of the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, established in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack, to provide financial support to victims and families affected.

Joanne was awarded the OBE for services to local government in 2009.

Matthew Cain

Matthew Cain joined the London Borough of Hackney as Head of Digital in January 2017, responsible for data, applications, information governance, developers and business solutions. He previously worked at Buckinghamshire County Council where he led the digital strategy, adopting an approach that ‘It’s the GDS way until our users say it isn’t’. Through its digital programme Buckinghamshire saved nearly 1m in 2016/17. Matthew formerly worked as a strategy consultant for MTM London, leading key engagements for HMRC, ACAS, the BBC and Sky News

Sally Meecham

Sally is an experienced digital leader with a track record of delivering high profile and innovative, culture-changing transformation projects in large, complex organisations in the public and private sector. She is a recognised thought leader in digital, which includes participation, inclusion and women in tech.

In 2000, knowing little about the internet or the travel industry Sally left her job, got a loan and set up a travel review website. The website went on to win numerous awards, including the Telegraph Website of the year. She has since had various Digital Transformation roles in local and central government, The Scottish Government and Welsh Government. Recent roles include; DVLA, Crown Commercial Service and Defra. In the private sector she lead on the Post Office Digital Transformation.

Dominic Campbell

Dominic is a digital government entrepreneur with a background in technology-led organisation design and digital transformation. Having spent 5 years implementing large change initiatives within local government at Assistant Director Level, Dominic founded FutureGov in 2008 to bring human-centred design and digital technology into the heart of public sector transformation programmes.

Major projects include; large-scale reinventions of Children’s Social Care technology and practice with the Tri-Borough Partnership in west London; working with senior management and politicians in Essex County Council to design and deliver a radical multi-year digital transformation programme; and leading the organisational redesign of Homes England, to help better equip it with the tools, capabilities and behaviours needed to position them as an exemplar of public sector organisations in the 21st century.

He regularly advises to all levels of government internationally, covering USA, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Dominic has taught at a range of business schools, including Harvard’s Kennedy School, USA; INSEAD, France; and IMD, Switzerland.

Sandy Hopkins

Sandy has experience working in public and private sector service industries.  Holding a Masters in Business Administration, Diploma in Marketing, BA (Hons) Degree and Institute of Directors Certificate in Company Directorship (CertIOD), Sandy is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.  Currently Chief Executive at two councils in Eastern Hampshire whose portfolios include a variety of ventures and business entities

Simon Lewis

Since August 2010, Simon has been the Head of Emergency Planning and Response for the British Red Cross. Simon and his team work with Government, Police, Fire, Ambulance, Local Authorities, Voluntary Sector partners and other agencies across the UK to ensure that the British Red Cross are able to provide the best support in an emergency. He also chairs the Voluntary Sector Civil Protection Forum (VSCPF).
Prior to this he spent over 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Simon retired as Chief Superintendent, Head of MPS Emergency Preparedness at New Scotland Yard. This included business continuity, emergency planning, crisis management and cross business group coordination in both times of emergency and in planning. It also included the MPS strategic link with the London Resilience Team and London Resilience Partnership. During this time he also chaired the London Emergency Services Liaison Panel (LESLP).

Martin Kemp

Throughout his impressive 30-year career in the telecoms industry, Martin has championed the need to upgrade the UK’s digital infrastructure in support of public and private sectors in parallel. His passion, depth of experience and collaborative style have made him a ‘natural evangelist’ for the recent full-fibre revolution – this in turn has earned him the opportunity to engage with the Government’s policy making process for full fibre investment itself.

Martin joined CityFibre in May 2016 as one of their most experienced Public Sector team members. Since then he has heavily influenced CityFibre’s public-sector programme development and held senior level relationships and engagements with members of Local Government, DCMS and CityFibre’s public-sector focused partners.

Prior to CityFibre, Martin worked at BT Global Services where he ran the UNICORN contract; a Client Partner role working with public sector organisations to deliver complex partnership contracts. Before this he worked as a Business Development Director at BT Group, delivering 12 BDUK partnership contracts with Local Authority partners

Matt Prosser

Matt Prosser has worked in local government for over twenty five years, and was Chief Executive of the ground breaking Dorset Councils Partnership serving; North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council before taking up his current post of Chief Executive (Designate) Dorset Council.

Matt has a wide experience within local government, having worked as a management consultant and regional programme manager for the then Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), part of the Local Government Association. Here he supported local government improvement across the board; but specialising in developing strategic top teams, working with both elected members and officers.

A Chartered Marketer, Matt is passionate about ensuring council services are focused on the customer, putting a great emphasis on supporting elected members in their roles, developing employees and communities whilst transforming council services. He is committed to using technology and digital solutions to the best effect for the benefit of customers and the business and is the national lead policy spokesperson on Digital Leadership for SOLACE.

Prior to moving to Dorset he was Strategic Director for seven years in one of the first shared management roles between two large Districts in Oxfordshire, working for South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils.

Matt was the Chairman of the Dorset Chief Executives Group (2015 to 2018) and the Executive Programme Sponsor for the work in Dorset around Local Government Reorganisation. The submission is now developing and will see Dorset move from nine authorities to two unitary councils in 2019 following the recent announcements by the Secretary of State.

In his ‘spare’ time Matt likes to run (half-marathons) and ride his Triumph motorbike!

Geoff Raw

Geoff Raw is the chief executive of Brighton & Hove City Council. The appointment of Geoff was agreed at Full Council on 22 October 2015. Geoff was recommended for the appointment with the unanimous endorsement of the cross party recruitment panel.

Geoff joined Brighton & Hove City Council in November 2010. He was acting chief executive from May 2015 to October 2015. He was previously executive director of Environment, Development and Housing for the council.

Geoff’s experience includes working for the Mayor for London as director of Design, Strategy & Planning at the London Development Agency. He has also worked for the Housing Corporation as assistant director of Investment, and as National Housing Investment Programme Manager at HM Treasury.

As director of Environmental Policy and Performance at London Borough of Brent, Geoff commissioned environmental services and prior to that was project co-ordinator for the regeneration of Wembley. He is a professional town planner with experience at county and unitary level.

Darra Singh, OBE

Darra Singh joined EY in January 2012 and is EY’s UK&I Government and Public Sector lead.  Darra was previously Chief Executive at Job Centre Plus and second permanent secretary at the DWP.  Prior to this he had been the Chief Executive of both Ealing Borough Council and Luton Borough Council. He started his career in housing eventually leading two housing associations in London as the CEO.

Darra has led a number of reviews including the Commission for Integration & Cohesion (2007) and the Riots Panel exploring the reasons for the August 2011 riots on behalf of Government and the Opposition. More recently he has served on the Greater Manchester review of cohesion and is now supporting the GM Prosperity Review Panel. He was also  the Chair of the Independent Commission for Local Government Finance on behalf of the LGA and Cipfa.

Aidan Rave

Aidan is the chief executive of South Kesteven Council in Lincolnshire. Over a twenty-year career working in and around public services, he has developed a broad perspective of public sector modernisation and change having held senior positions as a local government politician, partner-level positions in public sector change consultancies, a director of two national charities and latterly as a chief officer once again in local government.

Academic interests very much mirror the focus on public service modernisation, with research topics including quantifying the performance relationship across the public sector economy and the role of organisational development in meeting the challenges of austerity.

Outside of work Aidan enjoys spending time with his family and is a keen amateur cook.

Edward Mitchell

Ed leads EY’s Local Government Intelligent Automation capability and has significant experience in leading project to identify and implement new and disruptive technologies into organisation.

He has over 15 years of digitally enabled transformation, programme and project delivery experience working across a broad range of public and private sector organisations including government, financial, transport and mining sector clients.

Ed is leading a number of EY’s Intelligent Automation projects. Through his in-depth programme delivery experience, he has also been key in developing EY’s business-led and customer centric Intelligent Automation implementation methodology.

Haydn Scarborough

Haydn has diverse experience in delivering projects and services for local and central government partners. Having predominantly worked in the private sector within the architecture, construction, facilities management and energy sectors, Haydn creates trusted relationships with his customers to deliver positive outcomes.

Haydn currently leads business development activities in ENGIE’s Places & Communities Division – wholly focused on creating sustainable places for everyone to work, live and play in.

David Altabev

David is the Interim Director for Data & Demonstrators at Future Cities Catapult leading their Hyperconnected programme. A specialist in urban innovation and sustainability, he has worked as Head of Cities and Regions at PUBLIC, leading the successful Urban Challenge programme, and previously led Nesta’s cities work in their Government Innovation department, and Innovate UK’s Future Cities Demonstrator Programme. He is also a CABE Built Environment Expert for the Design Council, offering his expertise in urban development and renewal.

Dejan Bojic

Dejan is an expert advisor to the Future Cities Catapult on Hyperconnected cities and 5G. His main areas of expertise are in the delivery of tailored strategies for digital transformation, management of innovation partnerships, and commercial incubation of new solutions. He possesses a deep understanding of technology, particularly in data platform and communication systems architectures. Prior to working in the field of Internet of Things and big data infrastructure he spent over a decade in engineering and product marketing functions in telecommunication networks sector.

Nicola Yates OBE

Nicola is Chief Executive of Future Cities Catapult. Previously, Nicola was Chief Executive at Bristol City Council, Hull City Council and North Shropshire District Council and amongst multiple successes in delivering local economic prosperity, she helped establish the internationally recognised ‘Bristol is Open’ initiative in 2014, working with Nokia, NEC, and Interdigital Ltd. She is currently a trustee for the independent policy think tank ‘Centre for Cities’, and is a member of SOLACE – Society for Local Authority Chief Executives and the Chartered Institute of Housing. Nicola received an OBE in 2010 for services to local government.

Sarah Howard

Sarah is a partner and Head of Public Services at Grant Thornton. Sarah has been instrumental in developing Grant Thornton’s purpose in shaping a vibrant economy and in 2018 was appointed to the firm’s Strategic Leadership Team.

Sarah works with clients across the UK, leading the country’s largest public audit team which, along with advisory colleagues, works with around half of NHS and local government bodies.

In her Presidential year, Sarah is focusing on three themes : rebuilding trust in public services, through streamlined reporting and more effective public audit; encouraging collaboration across public and private sectors; and inspiring the next generation of public services professionals.

Sarah’s passion for public services and support of CIPFA has seen Grant Thornton become the largest recruiter of CIPFA students in the UK. Sarah has been an active volunteer for CIPFA over much of her career, recognised by the Institute through Awards for outstanding contribution to regional activities and outstanding services to CIPFA students.

Sarah lives by the coast in the north of England and in her spare time enjoys long walks on the beach, tinkering with classic cars and spending time with friends.

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