About Mark

In March 2006 Mark joined Solihull Council’s Corporate Leadership Team, having been appointed to the post of Director of Children’s Services. This role provided the unmissable opportunity to take forward the Council’s trailblazing work as a Children’s Trust Pathfinder, developing a fully fledged Children & Young People’s Partnership for improving outcomes.

Mark, as joint DCS and Chief Executive from 2007, had the pleasure of guiding the Council successfully through a number of major inspections and, latterly, helped position the council as a national leader and enthusiastic participant in sector-led improvement. During his time at Solihull, the council introduced a highly regarded integrated transformation and organisational development programme that, through the application of Lean Thinking, put citizens and digital innovation at the heart of the drive for greater quality and value.

In December 2013 Mark was appointed to the role of Chief Executive and Director of Economy at Birmingham City Council and took up role in March 2014. These combined roles are designed to have maximum impact on the three priorities of prosperity, fairness and democracy – ensuring Birmingham continues to live up to its status as a growing, international city.

Finally, Mark still maintains his commitment to children’s services as the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives lead for this area, a role that involved being a deputy chair of the Social Work Reform Board up to 2012, becoming co-chair of the new national Children’s Health and Wellbeing Partnership in 2013, and jointly founding the Children’s Improvement Board (2010-13) which set the framework for sector led improvement in children’s services.

About Rob

Rob is professor or organisational psychology and is Scientific Director at The Centre for Evidence-Based Management ( He does research, lectures, writes, speaks and consults in a number of areas including HR and evidence-based management.
The starting point for evidence-based management is that management decisions should be based on a combination of critical thinking and the best available evidence. And by ‘evidence’, we mean information, facts or data supporting (or contradicting) a claim, assumption or hypothesis. Evidence may come from scientific research, but internal business information and even professional experience can count as ‘evidence’. In principle, then, all managers base their decisions on ‘evidence’.

Hear from Rob on YouTube

About Steve

Steve works regularly with the LGA and is passionate about helping individuals and organisations develop sustainable high performance. He does this by helping them understand that people are just one of the influences on performance in any situation and often not the problem but the channel through which problems become apparent. Helping clients to take a holistic view of situations can quickly reveal influences on performance that cause the symptoms we see in the outcomes and behaviours of individuals. Then we work together to identify what needs to be addressed. Often this will be a combination of the symptoms of performance issues (unwanted outcomes and behaviours) and, for long term impact, their causes (the bits that usually get missed).

About Ruth

Connecting with people and helping them succeed has always been a big part of Ruth’s life; a quality that naturally drew her toward the field of HR and Learning & Development.

As Director of the t-three group’s bespoke HR consultancy brand (Total HR), she is driven by relentless curiosity and constant upbeat energy. Ruth is an intrepid detective who views any project like a mystery waiting to be solved. Her favourite “cases” are working with clients to help them identify their innate capabilities and existing resources and better understand the larger business realities—then applying this information to crack any HR or development challenge they might face.

Ruth remains at the cutting edge of HR practice and is extremely proud of the added value she continues to deliver to clients. Her vast experience spans assignments for multi-national FMCG companies and top-flight government agencies, as well as for local / regional SMEs.

Given her experience of the commercial world, Ruth’s strategic interest naturally extends beyond the sphere of human resources so that Total HR strategies are devised in recognition of further-reaching business agendas; it is this wide-angle lens that gives Total HR its acute competitive advantage in both private and public sectors.

About Rhyan

Rhyan is a professional consultant, trainer, coach and facilitator with extensive experience working with global players. She has a proven track record of facilitating and leading transformational change, developing leadership capability and delivering HR value through commercial awareness and business savvy. Rhyan is the lead facilitator for  the Aspire HRBP programme.

About Sarah

Sarah is Head of Workforce for the LGA. Her key responsibility is to lead priority work programmes to support, promote and improve local government, shaping national pay and workforce policy on behalf of councils and representing the LGA and the sector on workforce issues. Her role includes developing the strategic direction and priorities of the LGA workforce team to meet the employment challenges and objectives of a range of employers including Local Authorities, Fire Authorities, Education Authorities and the Police Service. This includes identifying and promoting initiatives that will drive productivity within the local government workforce, defining and pursuing policy objectives for the Local Government Pension Scheme and negotiating the pay of 2.2 million public sector workers with a pay bill of over £45 billion.

About Jonny

Jonny is Organisational Behaviour Advisor at the CIPD. He has been conducting applied research into employment, people management and organisations for over 12 years, previously holding positions at the Institute for Employment Studies and Roffey Park Institute. Through his work he aims to help improve people management through a solidly evidence-based yet pragmatic view of organisations and employment relationships. Recent foci include applying behavioural science insights to the areas of recruitment, reward and performance management. He runs the CIPD Applied Research Conference, which exists to strengthen links between academic research and HR practice. He is also a practising mediator, business coach and football coach. Jonny has an MA in comparative labour studies and social research from Warwick University and is an Academic Member of the CIPD.