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About Me

I was born in Moss Side, Manchester in 1953, went to University in Liverpool in the 1970’s and have lived in Milton Keynes since 1986. I love all three cities!

I am currently Chair of The Scouts - the first woman to be elected as Chair of Trustees in the movement’s 108 year history and Vice Chair of the City & Guilds of London Institute.

I was founding Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) one of 38 private - sector led economic development partnerships (LEPs) set up in 2010 by the Coalition Government to stimulate innovation, inward investment, economic growth and job creation. SEMLEP is the 5th largest LEP in England and was the country’s highest performing LEP judged ‘exceptional’ in all areas by government in March 2019 when I ended by term of office. I am now a LEP Ambassador.

As former Group Chief Executive and main board director of the University for Industry (Ufi Ltd), I was responsible, at senior civil servant level, for the successful implementation of the UK government’s flagship e-learning initiative learndirect as well as the development of other nationwide e-services through the UK online and Directgov programmes.

From 2004 to 2010, I worked as Senior Vice President for the international strategic management consultancy Citizen Service Transformation as well as working as a government adviser both in the UK and overseas. In this capacity, I worked with the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Sir Nick Clegg, when he was a MEP; I was also an independent member of Education Committee, part of the Public Services Improvement Policy Group set up by the former Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron. I had served as a member of the former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s, Digital Inclusion Panel between 2000 and 2005 and between 2010 and 2015, I sat on the Labour Party’s independent Skills Task Force and on the Coalition government’s Public Services Service Transformation Challenge Panel.

I continue to hold a number of public and private sector non-executive directorships and am Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Buckinghamshire, where I have lived since 1986. In the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, I was appointed OBE for public service and services to education; in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, I was awarded a CBE for public and political services.


​What I Do


"The Fellowship of the City and Guilds of London Institute (FCGI) was conferred on Ann for outstanding personal and professional achievement in vocational education and training."
Baroness Garden of Frognal Liberal Democrat peer Secretary City and Guilds of London Institute 1990-2008


Christmas Newsletter 2023
As with gladness, we grow older - with gratitude and grace Christmas update from Ann and Maggie…

24 December 2023

Women and early years learning – 1950’s style
Women have played a huge role in my education throughout my life, starting with my mother and…

08 March 2024

‘honouring history: encouraging evolution’ reflections…
Is there a case to be made for th ancient ‘ceremonial’ office of High Sheriff, in the gift of…

28 August 2023

Maggie Cook's tribute to Dame Ann
On 2 June 2022, a few special friends gathered in our garden, in the early summer sunshine, and…

31 December 2022

Christmas Greetings 2022
Happy Christmas - and tales of 2022 - damehood, death, and delight!

24 December 2022

Mystical Experience or Medical Emergency? Cold Water Sea…
Part 5 ‘Hard to define what constitutes ‘mystical’ – perception refreshed giving a greater…

05 May 2021

Mystical Experience or Medical Emergency? Cold Water Sea…
Part 4 Transient Global Amnesia

05 May 2021

Mystical Experience or Medical Emergency? Cold Water Sea…
Part 3 Oblivious to the consequences that were to befall me, I marvelled in the moment, in the…

05 May 2021