My experience as a practitioner in local government for over 25 years is an important part of what I bring, but the track record I have with the voluntary and community sector and its engagement with the statutory sector is equally relevant, especially my knowledge and experience of sustainable development issues. This has been recognised over the years including by a Royal Society of Arts environmental management award.
In the 1980’s I was an elected member on Oxford City Council and subsequently I spent 14 years with Oxfordshire county council up to 2004. I then moved to Warwickshire county council, leaving at the end of 2011.
Over that time I was responsible at Head of Service/Director level for all the councils environmental services including: planning, waste management, sustainable transport, countryside, farms and smallholdings, forestry, climate change, environmental management and sustainable development across the authority.
My last major piece of work for the council was to lead its work on creativity and innovation, particularly its engagement with social enterprises and ‘staff mutuals’.
My work on developing partnerships with the voluntary and community sector was recognised by obtaining the ‘Achievement of the Year’ award from the MJ in 2007 and the awards to Warwickshire Community Recycling of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) ‘Community Champion of the Year’ award in 2012 and the National Government Opportunities ‘Excellence in public procurement’ Award in 2013 – the benchmark by which public commissioning and procurement is measured. The judges commented that it was ‘one of the best examples of a joined up approach within procurement and service delivery’ that they had ever seen. These projects, specifically the re-use shops at the council’s household waste recycling centres in partnership with Age UK, were recognised with the Guardian Public Service Finance Award for 2017. This initiative which started with one shop in 2003 was described as ‘..that rare gem: an initiative that has made everyone a winner.’
At various points I was also responsible for economic development and regeneration and the ‘resources’ function of my Directorate ie asset management, HR and finance.