Some practical experience as an ‘expert’ adviser

[Because of my public profile I’ve had a number of ‘queries’ about my ‘qualifications’. I’ll address some of my political experience in another post, but I thought it might be useful to just give a small idea of what I’ve been doing over the past quarter century in my advisory work.]

Since becoming an academic I’ve had the privilege to be asked to advise a wide variety of Governments and public agencies. I know ‘expertise’ has been questioned recently, but I think most sensible people recognise it as important. So here’s a few examples…..

I have contributed on the old British civil service Top Management Programme a number of times, as well as the Northcote and Trevelyan programmes that ran at the former Civil Service College.

I have contributed to a number of seminars in the Cabinet Office including one on Public Value with Mark Moore (Harvard) and two Priministerial events under Gordon Brown (one at No. 10 and one at Chequers).

I’ve acted as a consultant and advisor to Cabinet Office, Home Office, Prison Service, Foreign Office, GCHQ, DWP, Probation Service, National Audit Office, Audit Wales, Scottish Parliament (with Carole), Northern Ireland Assembly, Treasury Select Committee (TSC), and Public Administration Select Committee (PASC).

A couple of more detailed examples:

  • I was a consultant and adviser to GCHQ over a period of 8 years on a variety of management and organizational issues (with DV security clearance)
  • I was one of two external members of the Review of Prison Service Management in 1996/7 following the ‘Derek Lewis’ affair (the Chairman of the Post Office was the other external member).

I have also been an expert witness for the TSC, PASC, Political and Constitutional Affairs SC, Wales Committee, and HoL Constitution Committee – in total more than two dozen times.

I taught on a wide variety of senior public service development programs at various Universities and in a number of countries. These include senior public/civil service events as a guest speaker in Mexico, USA, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Malta, Libya, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, India, Bangladesh, etc.

As a few examples

  • In Estonia I ran an 15-month ‘Policy Innovation Program’ for 40 senior civil servants, through the State Chancellery which included face-to-face and online project work.
  • In Hong Kong I ran a 5-day program for some 200 senior civil servants and in two other visits addressed more.
  • In Australia I have been the keynote opening speaker at the IPPA Annual Conference (Darwin), spoken to large groups of senior civil servants in Canberra and taught on the course for senior public servants in Australia and New Zealand which was the precursor of ANZSOG.
  • In Canada I both spoke to large groups of senior civil servants and advised the Treasury Board during the development of their ‘Management Accountability Framework’. I also spoke to the annual conference of ‘Corrections Canada’ senior management during several visits.
  • In Japan I was one of two guest international speakers (the other was from Harvard) invited by the Interior Ministry to a conference reviewing the implementation of the Government Policy Evaluation Act and addressed several smaller seminars of senior civil servants during three visits.
  • In France I was invited by the Ministry of Finance to discuss civil service reforms in the UK with a large conference of senior civil servants.
  • In the USA I taught at the Maxwell School and advised the Presidents Office of Management and Budget and National Performance Review.

3 thoughts on “Some practical experience as an ‘expert’ adviser

  1. Dear Colin,

    Thanks for the detailed information. It is clear beyond reasonable doubt that you are, indeed, an expert. Therefore, the serious doubts about your ability to provide sound, evidence-based and experience-based advice are entirely justified.


    Kind regards Paul

    Prof. Paul Kleiman Senior Consultant (Higher Education) at Ciel Associates, and Visiting Professor, Middlesex University & Rose Bruford College


  2. Not sure who asked or what the question was..but if they needed to ask the level of your they say in Liverpool ‘ don’t lower yourself to their level…’ but seeing you have provided clear evidence of high level international expertise…put it behind you….

    george foster

    1. Thanks George. It was a good excuse for putting that up here tho. I am also creating a sort of archive – hence the personal stuff – so it’s useful to add to it.

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