In changing and austere times for the public sector,

talk to Frontline Consulting.

Our excellent mix of knowledge and  experience, challenge and facilitation skills help councillors to understand the impact of public sector reform on their roles – and enables transformation of ways of working.

Frontline Consulting operates across England and Wales at all tiers of local government and across the publicly funded sector. We help to build capacity through induction, member development, action learning and support for effective political management.

Read more about how we can work with you – and the seminars and conferences we deliver.

Highlights of what we offer

Frontline Consulting Associates includes experienced leaders, councillors and officers who understand the politics of local government and the wider public sector.

Frontline Consulting offers support to Police (Fire) and Crime Panels given the different accountabilities introduced in 2012. We frequently deliver induction, review and development programmes for numerous Police (Fire) and Crime Panels, and share good practice through regional networks and our annual conferences.

We help tackle political management issues, within a political group or across the authority or with cross-sector partners. We provide advice, offer mediation and promote ethical governance. We facilitate Group Away Days, especially after annual meetings.

We support Town and Parish Councils with changing roles and through mini health checks and development work, as well as in engagement with their District and County Councils through facilitation of joint activity.

We offer skills development and mentoring for councillors in diverse roles – chairing, public speaking, ward working, community engagement, scrutiny and questioning.

For more details, contact us.

Who we are

Frontline Consulting offers advice, consultancy, learning and development activity and mentoring for local authorities and the wider public sector, particularly elected members.

Our Associates have experience as local authority leaders, cabinet members, frontline councillors, scrutineers, officers, civil servants, policy advisers, communications specialists and trainers with experience across the public, private and third sectors.

All our learning and development is interactive and tailored to your particular context and organisation. We work flexibly around your requirements.

Ann Reeder FRSA 

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Ann established the consultancy in 2007 to work with councillors in fulfilling their frontline roles and responding to changes across the publicly funded sector. It has expanded to include work with Police and Crime Panels and the Non-Executive Academy.

Ann also is an Adviser with the Centre for Public Scrutiny, an Associate Tutor and ADSO Regional Assessor with South West Councils and a Consultant with the Local Government Information Unit. Ann has worked with the Local Government Association, the former IDeA and the Leadership Centre for Local Government.

Ann has been an active ward councillor, a cabinet member and in the leadership of a London borough. Ann also has experience in a minority administration on a hung council. She has been on the board of a regeneration project and chaired a town centre partnership. She has also been a parish councillor in Somerset.

Ann focuses on governance issues in councils, having served on the working group for new structures in her authority and having worked in both the committee system and the leader, cabinet and scrutiny model. She specialises in local democracy, community engagement and overview and scrutiny, having conducted reviews across the country. Ann also is interested in the political management of groups, having been the national head of local government for a political party. In that role, Ann worked closely with ministers and local government agencies.

Ann has been an agent at numerous local and Parliamentary elections, so has broad experience of local democracy, electoral registration and representation.

Ann is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

ann@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Natalie Ainscough 

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Natalie Ainscough is a specialist in understanding Parliamentary procedures and advising senior figures on how to influence political and civil service thinking at senior levels.

Natalie is particularly skilled in analysing complex issues from all sides, analysing risks, helping people develop solutions and consensus while ensuring the issues are understood and clearly communicated.

She has nearly ten years’ experience working on public policy development for Government agencies. This includes nearly six years at Standards for England in a key policy role developing and implementing an evolving local standards framework where she led a multi-disciplinary team in the development of statutory guidance. She also developed and implemented entity risk management systems designed to identify, assess and prioritise risks to local authority governance from standards issues.

She has experience of working with senior politicians and officers at national and local level and extensive knowledge of negotiating at the highest political levels across parties. Her particular areas of expertise are in understanding policy intentions behind legislation, production of clear and focused briefing and guidance materials and organising events. This includes responsibility for management of content for Standards for England’s national stakeholder conference.

Natalie also is a Director of Hoey Ainscough Associates Ltd.

nataliea@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Cllr Ralph Berry 

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Cllr Ralph Berry has been a Bradford Councillor since 1991. Having been re-elected five times in a sometimes politically turbulent city, he has experience of working in a climate where extreme political groups need to be challenged by restoring and promoting the role of the local elected member.

Ralph has been an active Ward Councillor as well as a Portfolio Holder in opposition and in power. He has been the Cabinet member with responsibility for Children and Young People and the Opposition spokesperson mainly in the areas of Education and Children Services, quality improvement, Health and Community Development.

He has experience in Minority, Opposition and Minority leadership roles and has overseen a number of major changes to improve outcomes and  led change at times of challenge in Health, Children’s and Education Services and the move from the Committee to the Cabinet system.

Ralph is an LGA accredited peer mentor for Children’s Services.

Ralph has a professional career in Social Work and the Probation Services and was a senior manager in CAFCASS until 2011. He is a qualified social worker with Offenders and Families, including four years as a team manager.

Ralph is a member of Bradford’s Health and Wellbeing Board and Strategic Partnerships. He also serves as a Non-Executive as a Director of a local Social Enterprise. He has held two NHS Non-Executive Chair roles over the past ten years.

Ralph has experience in leading major change built upon consultation and he led the successful return to local public delivery of education services in Bradford from Serco. Ralph has many years experience as a School Governor at some very challenging inner city schools.

Ralph offers a blend of hands on experience of service delivery and strategic political leadership, particularly of Children’s Services. He is committed to improving democratic local accountability as a means of improving outcomes for children. He has handled some very sensitive issues over recent times such as child sexual abuse and corporal punishment in Supplementary Schools. He has extensive experience of working well with minority ethnic communities.

Ralph is also an Associate Hospital manager, a visiting lecturer with Bradford University, and works with the Co-operative Schools programme for Co-operatives UK. He is a Trustee of Reading Matters

To contact Ralph, ring 07976 382993 or email ralphb@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Dave Burn, Lead on our work with PCPs and PFCPs 

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Dave Burn is an independent consultant specialising in member development, mentoring and officer and member relations, with over 30 years local government experience. He works with a variety of clients, commissions and public bodies  and is an associate at the Local Government Information Unit.

Dave was Head of Democratic Services and Scrutiny at the London of Borough of Lambeth from 2008-2016 where he managed Committee, Scrutiny and Electoral Services. He was also responsible for the Group Offices, Mayor’s Office and Youth Council and lead on member development and digital democracy engagement. He has been a Vice-Chair of the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO), having previously chaired the London Branch of ADSO from 2010-2015. He was an active member of the London Member Development Network, which he formally chaired from 2010-2013. Dave is also a peer officer at the Local Government Association.

Dave has developed excellent networks and has assisted a variety of organisations during his career. He has worked extensively with Members across the political spectrum and with officers from different types of authorities. He has been a speaker at a number of conferences, chaired sessions and facilitated workshops on a range of matters. Dave has provided support with scrutiny activity, including assisting officers from the Department of Communities and Local Government on new developments. He has also assisted international delegations in discussions on the functions of Local Government and how to ensure community cohesion.

To contact Dave, ring 07732 331000 or email dave@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Cllr Richard Cotton 

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Richard Cotton was elected onto Camden Council in May 2014 and was re-elected with an increased majority in May 2018. He was the Mayor of Camden from 2017-8.

Before becoming an elected member, Richard worked in local government for 30 years including 24 years advising four successive leaders in the London Borough of Brent.

Whilst working full time, he obtained a Masters Degree in Contemporary British Politics at the University of London and was awarded a distinction for his dissertation ‘Modernising Local Government: Will it all end in tiers?’ (2002).

Richard has taught local government to further education students and trained councillors and council staff on the political history of local government, electoral reform, ethical standards, political publicity, casework and campaigning. He has received a number of local government delegates from abroad, informing them about British local government.

He has written speeches, organised press conferences and was responsible for media strategy. He produced and drove through the Group’s strategy for opposition between 2006 and 2010, and the successful election strategy in 2010.

An expert psephologist, he wrote the Council’s submission on Brent’s external boundaries in advance of the City and London Borough Boundaries Order 1993 and assisted with Brent’s submissions to the parliamentary boundary reviews prior to the 1997 and 2010 General Elections.

richardc@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Cllr Susan Dungworth 

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Susan is a member of Northumberland County Council and the Leader of the Labour Group. She has been the Policy Board Member for Adult Care and Public Health, a member of the Health and Wellbeing Board and on the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust Governing Body and the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust.

Before unitary local government was introduced in the county, Susan was a councillor on Blyth Valley Borough Council for 12 years. In that time she chaired the overview and scrutiny management board, the arts and leisure trust and the community assembly and was vice-chair of the housing services committee and the economic and community services committee.

She has been an IDeA regional lead peer and worked on CPA inspections for the Audit Commission. Her work with the IDeA included member development, reviews, top team development and mentoring of individuals and political groups. Susan is an Associate with the Centre for Public Scrutiny.

Susan is keen to recruit more women into local government and to challenge the ways in which councils work, in order to ensure that there is more diversity within groups.

susand@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Dr Helen Findlay 

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As a communications professional with over 25 years experience operating in a range of working environments covering broadcasting, business, industry, the public sector including trade unions, local government, political parties and the voluntary sector, Helen brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Frontline Consulting.

She also has an extensive practical background in local campaigning and electioneering that includes standing as a candidate in local council elections, seeing service for a time as a Town Councillor as well as being approved at one time as a Parliamentary candidate.

Helen’s particular skills cover writing, editing and art direction including the production and development of targeted communications such as leaflets, booklets, newspapers, magazines and websites. She is also experienced in developing local and national strategic communications and campaign planning; plus event management including conferences, seminars, exhibitions, dinners and large outdoor events.

Helen has two degrees in politics including an MSc from Strathclyde University where she majored in public policy making and was awarded a doctorate by Brunel University for studies into service user involvement in palliative care. She is a communications consultant and works extensively on a voluntary basis in the areas of social and palliative care.

helenf@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Paul Hoey 

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Paul Hoey has worked extensively for central government nationally and internationally for over 20 years in a range of policy roles including over ten years as the director in charge of strategy and stakeholder relations at Standards for England.

He has been the acknowledged national expert on the local government standards framework for the last decade and has worked with individual authorities and groupings of authorities on implementation and development of local standards arrangements as well as advising Standards for England, the Government and key national regulators and representative bodies on standards issues. He has given expert evidence to both the Parliamentary Select Committee and Committee on Standards in Public Life enquiries into local government standards.

More generally, he has wide experience of operating in a political environment, working with senior politicians across the political spectrum on policy development and implementation and strategic negotiations, covering a diverse range of areas including housing policy, environmental policy and latterly a range of issues relating to local authority governance, constitutions and political management.

He has particular experience of working closely with Ministers and understanding their needs and developed particular expertise in Ministerial speech writing and policy statements, ensuring they were targeted effectively to ensure maximum clarity of message and political buy-in.

He has similar experience working alongside senior officers at national and local level as well as within the political parties and has a deep understanding of the workings of Whitehall and Parliament.

Paul is skilled at developing consensus across a wide range of stakeholders, building effective alliances and facilitating events and discussions. His particular expertise lies in developing and testing policy solutions to problems and then ensuring effective delivery through consensus and team-building.

Paul also is a Director of Hoey Ainscough Associates Ltd.

paulh@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Ann John OBE 

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Ann John OBE was the Leader of Brent Council from 2001 until 2006 and from 2010 until 2012; she has been one of the few women to lead a London borough council.

Ann was a councillor on the London Borough of Brent from May 1990 until May 2014, and represented a very deprived ward in the south of Brent. She remains committed to policies to tackle social exclusion and to promote economic regeneration and create jobs.

Brent is unique in that it has an ethnic majority population served by an ethnic majority workforce and Ann’s leadership saw the council commended by Ted Cantle amongst others for its work in celebrating diversity and promoting community cohesion. She remains particularly interested in the role of the voluntary sector in bringing diverse communities together.

As a leading councillor, Ann was never afraid to tackle difficult issues if it would lead to improved services for local communities. She took the lead in developing policies to combat domestic violence and chaired a scrutiny review on FGM. She remains keenly interested in education as a member of a number of governing bodies and is a supporter of better youth facilities, including, as a former Board member of the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, promoting access to drama. She has expertise in planning and regeneration, having overseen the building of a new civic centre alongside the national stadium in Wembley and the rebuilding of much of Brent’s social housing.

Ann is a member of the Corporation Board of the College of  North West London and a Director of the Wembley National Stadium Trust.

Ann was awarded the OBE for services to local government in the New Years Honours list in 2009.

Proud of Brent’s record under her leadership, Ann is keen to share her experiences with others.

annj@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Cllr Neil Nerva MSc 

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Neil brings extensive experience of managing and commissioning health and adult social care services. Neil has served as an NHS non-executive director and was for eight years an elected member of Brent Council in London where he chaired the Overview Committee and led on the introduction of health scrutiny.

Neil worked until recently at the Department of Health where he established and led London Social Care Transformation Leads and the London LINks networks.

Neil is skilled at bringing a wide range of stakeholders together, including users and statutory organisations, and at facilitating events and discussions, steering people to a consensus. He is proficient at enabling organisations and services to identify a desired future state, and then back-engineering delivery plans using skills in challenge, risk assessment and problem-solving.

A registered social worker, Neil lives in London and is a governor of the local Pupil Referral Unit. Neil is a member of the RSA Connected Communities Steering Group and the Jewish Care Community Services Advisory Group.

Neil was re-elected onto Brent Council in north west London in May 2018.

neiln@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Anthea Sully MSc 

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Based in Yorkshire, Anthea is the CEO of White Ribbon UK. She previously worked as the Interim Chief Executive of The Association for Real Change Ltd, Public Policy Advisor at Real Life Options and Director of the Learning Disability Coalition.

She served as a Peterborough City Councillor for nine years where her roles included chair of the community services committee and Leader of the Opposition. She was a senior member providing leadership when Peterborough became a Unitary Authority, helping to ensure a successful transition. Representing a ward with considerable numbers of people experiencing deprivation meant that housing, community cohesion and work with young people were strategic priorities that Anthea actively championed, including the establishment of a new community trust.

Anthea’s other roles have included tutoring Return to Learn and Lifelong Learning Advisors courses for the WEA and UNISON, developing innovative day services for people with learning disabilities, non-executive director of an NHS trust and parliamentary candidate. Anthea provided leadership in social policy and campaigning for the Methodist Church, including considerable media work on significant and often controversial issues, meetings with government ministers, intensive networking with other partners and mobilising members.

Anthea is a trained drama practitioner and has expertise in International Human Rights Law.

antheas@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Su Turner FRSA 

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Su Turner is the founder and director of Insight to Impact Consulting Ltd. She has over 25 years’ experience in strategic, policy and partnership roles. This has enabled her to acquire a wealth of knowledge, as well as an informed and deep understanding of the challenges facing many sectors, including

• Education, schools and academic institutions

• Local, regional and national government: departments and programmes

• NHS and health commissioners, patient groups and providers

• Third sector and charities.

Su is a highly experienced governance expert with a track record for improvement. She is a National Leader of Governance for the NCTL, a qualified Executive Coach and Mentor, and a skilled Trainer and Appreciative Inquiry facilitator.

Su delivers training in safeguarding and childrens’ services and works with us on the #R29 campaign ‘It’s about governance’, being delivered through the Non-Executive Academy.

Tim Young, Senior Associate 

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Tim has worked as an independent consultant since 2006, carrying out assignments for a wide range of local authorities and other bodies. In doing so, he draws particularly on his experience as the former Head of Scrutiny at the London Borough of Camden (a council which earned a national reputation as a leading edge authority for Overview and Scrutiny) and on extensive networks built up during sixteen years in local government.

He has worked extensively with Members across the political spectrum and with officers from different types of authority, across the country. Projects have included policy development, evaluations, facilitated meetings, Action Learning Sets and skills training and development in a range of fields. Tim also has extensive experience of the voluntary sector through working in a policy, research and campaigning capacity for regional and national organisations. He holds postgraduate research degrees in politics from the University of Sussex and has written on a wide variety of topics, including a range of toolkits, protocols, guides and reports.

Tim also works as an Expert Adviser with the Centre for Public Scrutiny and a Consultant with the Local Government Information Unit.

timy@frontlineconsulting.co.uk

Testimonials

I’ve been extremely impressed with Frontline Consulting – as have other PCP colleagues – and your support is very much appreciated. (Police and Crime Panel Support Officer)

The feedback that is coming back from partners, officers and members is extremely positive. You played a key role in ensuring its success, so a personal thank you for your involvement. We could not have done it without you!  I’ll certainly be in touch with regard to future working opportunities (Head of Scrutiny, Metropolitan Council)

Ann is very professional in her approach and she was well prepared and fully engaged to the end. (Workforce and member development officer)

Pleasant, professional, clear, encouraging, effective (Police and Crime Panel support officer)

I just wanted to say thank you for delivering for us yesterday – you have an engaging style of delivery and I certainly appreciated the inclusive nature of training. Your knowledge was impressive and you clearly love what you do. It comes through very strongly! (Learning and development officer)

Thanks  – much appreciated … the day went very well (Director, Metropolitan Council)

I want to thank you for the flexible approach you have taken in supporting us in trying different ways of working (Police and Crime Panel support officer)

Many thanks for running the workshop … we would love to have you back later this year (Leader, Metropolitan Council)

The event was a huge success largely thanks to yourself, and our members are rather excited about some of the work that might come from the day (Scrutiny officer, County)

Let you learn at your own pace which is good (Police and Crime Panel member)

Good set up, very knowledgeable advisor, with innovative suggestions. In the set up for the day Ann did everything that was asked of her, and took the initiative when it wasn’t. On the day Ann really worked to ensure that the whole event ran as smoothly as possible (Scrutiny officer, County)

This is an excellent report which accurately reflects our findings/subsequent recommendations (Head of Overview and Scrutiny, Metropolitan Council)

Very good – particularly in handling difficult situations, defusing conflict and moving along some quite difficult exercises (Police and Crime Panel support officers)

Facilitators were both very good at presenting information, managing the group and enabling us to move on (Police and Crime Panel support officer)

All feedback seems to be good. If anyone is thinking of using your services, I’d be happy to recommend (Police and Crime Panel support officer)

Thank you for the thoughtfulness of this preparation. It makes my work so much easier (Scrutiny Chair)

Thank you for this – it’s really helpful to have such a useful brief prior to chairing the Meetings – much appreciated (Regional network Chair)

Just a quick email to thank you for all your help in getting the group together.  I think that we have covered some good topics and the information sharing is encouraging more joint scrutiny across the county. We have a good platform to move forward and I’m hopeful that the group can be established on a permanent basis. Thanks again (Scrutiny manager, County)

I value both the networking and working relationship that we have developed and certainly we would look to utilise you again in future training needs (Officer, District)

Always good to see and speak with you – much more light emerging now at the end of the tunnel (Officer, District)

Thanks again for your presentation and discussion with the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee – I had some very positive feedback on the session (Scrutiny officer, City)

Induction and annual refresh

Every year we deliver induction programmes and refresher learning and development activity, including:

  • Local government and local leadership (how the council works and the services provided)
  • Corporate priorities (needs, policies, budgets, options and difficult decisions about services and how to deliver them)
  • Local democracy (how councillors work in their ward or division including with other tiers of governance, plus standards and ethics, and equalities duties)
  • Getting the most from overview and scrutiny (how engagement of all parts of the council in O&S promotes good governance and achieves better outcomes)
  • Regulation (what it covers and how it works)
  • Partnerships (the bigger picture of how the council works with other public services, local businesses and the third sector)

Skills for the tasks including case work, chairing, effective meetings, influencing skills, public speaking, questioning and listening, scrutiny work programming and working together as members and officers.

We also deliver overview and scrutiny reviews and mini democracy health checks.

Email us to discuss your requirements and budget: mail@frontlineconsulting.co.uk or phone 07903 964812

Policing and crime

Frontline Consulting has worked with all of the Police and Crime Panels and Police, Fire and Crime Panels in England and Wales at seven successful national conferences for Panels, in our regional Networks and through delivery of induction and review and development seminars for Panels.

We have supported the formation of the National Association of Police, Fire and Crime Panels (including PCPs) as a Special Interest Group of the Local Government Association. We worked with the Centre for Public Scrutiny and the LGA to refresh the guidance for Panels in 2019.

We have facilitated a regional seminar on Force to Force collaboration, a seminar for new support officers and a private briefing for officers of new Police, Fire and Crime Panels.

Our eighth annual Conference for Panels will take place on Tuesday 19 November 2019 from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm in Scarman House, Warwick Conference Centre. It will be preceded by the Conference dinner on Monday 18 November and the NAPFCP AGM at 9.30 am on Tuesday 19 November 2019. Bookings have now closed as all places have been filled.

We continue to deliver review and development workshops for Panels. We also have facilitated workshops for stakeholders at Force level including the Panel and induction for Panels with a significant number of new members.

We are grateful to our sponsors, Grant Thornton for their support of our national project with Panels including the annual conference, regional networks and seminars.

For work with PCPs and PFCPs, contact Dave Burn on 07732 331000 or contact us here.

Work with officers and partners

Political Assistants

Our Associates have significant experience as officers and/or councillors. We provide workshops including:

  • Induction for Civic Officers (civic mayors)
  • Induction and Learning and Development for Political Assistants
  • Political Awareness seminars for local government officers and providers
  • Report writing and committee work for officers
  • Introduction to Local Government for the private, public and third sectors (commissioners and providers).

In our ‘Workshop for civic mayors/chairs of council’, we explore their wide range of duties eg chairing potentially difficult meetings of full council through to attending events in the community. They may be called on to make keynote speeches to hundreds of people or have friendly and supportive conversations with publicly spirited volunteers. Mayors/chairs need to understand how to manage debates and enable good decision making as well as how to inspire local residents and raise significant funds for charity. We can mentor a new mayor/chair or run workshops for those involved in civic office.

In a half day seminar for partners (eg Clinical Commissioning Groups or private sector providers) ‘Introduction to local government’, we explore how it works, its structures and responsibilities. It covers how local government works with other sectors eg with Executive Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners etc. The programme is always adapted to the local context and developed with the client.

For more information or to discuss your requirements with Richard, Ann or Neil, please contact us.

Support for town and parish councils

Given the impact of austerity on county and district councils, town and parish councils increasingly are taking on new services and additional responsibilities. They also are identifying services that other councils no longer provide and seeking to work with others to achieve economies of scale.

Frontline Consulting has experienced parish councillors on the team who can work with town and parish councils to build capacity and refresh priorities. This includes support for clustering of town and parish councils, especially across a district ward or county division.

We can deliver workshops for parish and town councillors, either as induction for a new team or for development of their roles, and also provide joint learning and development across the tiers.

Email mail@frontlineconsulting.co.uk to find out how we can help

Seminars, workshops and conferences

Our Associates include specialists in adult education, communications and training. We organise events - conferences, seminars, roundtables, networks and forums, tailored to specific themes or requirements.

Frontline Consulting regularly provides learning and development for:

  • Police (Fire) and Crime Panels
  • councillors, officers and partners on Overview and Scrutiny (including with the Centre for Public Scrutiny)
  • frontline councillors eg on casework, ward working and community leadership
  • councillors across the tiers (including on town and parish councils)
  • councillors about effective meetings, chairing skills, questioning and listening techniques and public speaking
  • officers and partners on political awareness
  • officers on report writing and working with committees
  • councillors and officers about equalities’ duties and diversity and on standards and ethics
  • councillors about commissioning (including with the LGiU)
  • councillors about working with partners in education (with the LGiU)
  • councillors on corporate parenting and safeguarding
  • councillors, officers and partners on the health and care system.

Please contact us if you would like us to deliver any learning and development activity.

For more information or to discuss your requirements with Ann, Dave, Zöe, Paul, Su, Tim, Neil, Richard or Anthea, please contact us.

Contact us

Our Associates are based in the North, Yorkshire and Humberside, East, London, South East and South West.

Our Associates have experience as leaders, councillors in all types of local authority, heads of democratic services and scrutiny, in the NHS, as civil servants and in the third sector.

Contact Ann on 07903 964812 for more information.

If you would like to get in contact by email click here.

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