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 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.