Selection of consultants

Clive Harrison

Clive has extensive experience of children's social care. He spent 28 years as a practitioner and manager, including child protection and looked after children experience, ending up as head of fostering and adoption in Nottinghamshire. He was an area manager with Ofsted, regulating and inspecting providers for children under eight, and a performance specialist with the audit commission, including ten joint area reviews of multi-agency children's services. Within fostering and adoption services Clive’s experience includes: reducing fostering application times by three months in two metropolitan councils, and adoption application times by between three and six months in one county; completing a comparative review of adoption cases, shortening each child’s journey to adoption; completing pre-inspection reviews of safeguarding and looked after children services, to benchmark and improve child protection processes; using lean processes to improve child protection conference processes for a unitary council; investigating recruitment, appointment and supervision processes following dismissal of a middle manager after abuse allegations; preparing a bid to DfE for funding; using data and performance management to improve outcomes in a SureStart programme.

Jackie Noble

John Lakin

John began his career as an education officer with the inner London education authority. He joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a management consultant and progressed to partner level. There he led the education consulting and public policy, research, and economics practices for many years, working at all levels of government in the UK and internationally. He now has a portfolio career, and mixes consulting with non-executive directorships with the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service, and Universities UK. John specialises in providing advice to clients experiencing change, and has expertise in strategy development, organisational design, efficiency measures, commissioning, and project and programme evaluation. He has a lifetime commitment to public services as an enabler of positive change and social justice. John has a degree in economics and postgraduate qualifications in management from London University and Henley Management College. He is also a certified member of the Institute of Consulting. In his spare time he is keen cyclist and an active member of the charity Biking for Children in Care.

Olivia Spencer

Olivia is an expert in local government improvement, training and development, and in leadership and innovation with a national reputation for outstanding achievement in service improvement as a former head of library services. Her work as a consultant includes developing and delivering leadership and management training, research in public perceptions of library services, work on innovation and lean thinking, performance management and a variety of in depth project reviews for partner agencies. She is highly experienced in change management, shared service implementation, and focused locality working at local authority corporate level. She brings exceptional people skills and a strong commitment to delivering quality customer focused services, partnerships and major cultural change. When not working Olivia is also a keen amateur actor.

Pauline Roberts

Pauline is an expert systems practitioner with over 30 years’ work experience from both the public and private sector. She started her career working in operational management in pharmaceutical ‘specials’ and clinical trials where she built up significant organisational and continual improvement skills. After winning an Ede and Ravesncroft prize for excellence in business and HR management from Teesside University and completing an MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice with the Open University she moved into the public sector and has since led a number of complex change programmes, spanning multiple public sector organisations. She is a passionate and pragmatic advocate of commissioning and systems thinking approaches. She is able to engage teams in a way that allows them to get beyond rhetoric and highlight inconsistencies and system failures to enable the vision of change to be realised and has become adept at blending her approach to fit different organisational cultures. She is passionate about transferring her skills to others and nowadays is the Open Day Director at SCiO (Systems and Cybernetics in Organisations), an organisation dedicated to increasing the knowledge of systems approaches and practical experience of applying them – particularly the viable system model. Outside of work you can often find Pauline lurking around the coast of Northumberland, photographing castles and wildlife.

Rob Worth

Rob started his career in investment banking where he cut his teeth by running software teams and international projects as well as learning the systems thinking, agile, Lean and organisational skills that he now brings to the public sector. Since 2003, he has specialised in working with senior teams in the public sector to create whole system change across a variety of organisations, including the NHS, local authorities and government agencies. Rob sees himself as working directly for the public that the organisation that he is engaged with serves. He says that better service to the public drives improvement, staff motivation and cutting costs. Rob is a referee and can be seen out on Hackney Marshes trying to keep games looking something like football. He has worked on two feature films as a first assistant director, so knows the value of using minimum resources under pressure of tight deadlines to create something unique. Rob is the author of Beat the Cuts - How to Improve Public Services and Easily Cut Costs.

Sarah Johnston

Sarah started her career as a graduate trainee, working in housing in the West of Scotland, where she soon developed a passion for continuous improvement, lively public meetings and real community engagement. Over the years Sarah has worked everywhere from the Isle of Arran and the Isles of Scilly to Australia sharing and developing the tools and techniques she has picked up along the way to help individuals, teams and organisations (large and small) create and embed a culture of continuous improvement. Never a slave to any particular fad Sarah explores and blends different approaches to find the right one for any given situation and never forgets the people element. With central government, local government, private and voluntary sector experience in housing, HR and organisational development Sarah brings a fresh approach to her work whether it is designing and delivering bespoke leadership programmes, volunteering to run a local charity through The World of Difference programme or identifying and delivering unprecedented savings whilst improving customer experience for a local authority. Sarah is always up for a challenge!

Terry Rich

Terry's career in social care spans more than 40 years during which time he was Director of Social Services and Director of Adult Social Care in three authorities. He is a qualified social worker and has an MSc in Applied Social Studies from Surrey University.

Terry’s experience has been in assisting authorities in turning around performance, including one of the first identified as zero star. He has experience of developing partnership arrangements with the NHS and in dealing with the consequences when partnerships break down. He has undertaken a number of projects involving assisting authorities with service transformation and in identifying areas where efficiencies and savings can be made.

Terry also worked with the Local Government Association as an Improvement Advisor, regularly delivers sessions on partnership working to the NHS Leadership Academy and chairs both Adult and Children Safeguarding Boards. He has also designed and delivered training and authored a number of briefings for the Institute of Health Visiting.

Wendy Crosson-Smith

Wendy is a senior consultant with over 25 years’ experience. Her strong commercial marketing background means that she offers new ways of looking at public sector services to ensure that they are more customer-focused and harness revenue opportunities. With ten years’ experience in local government she understands the issues facing senior managers. She has managed libraries and adult community learning and has extensive experience developing, implementing and evaluating strategies for these services. Wendy has a passion for making a difference and a track record of introducing innovation and turning businesses and services around.