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Graham Turner, Chief Executive of North Somerset Council

Graham Turner

Graham Turner has been for over 12 years the Chief Executive Officer of North Somerset Council, a Unitary Council which delivers services to around 213,000 people in Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead, and the adjoining rural area.

Graham has worked in Local Government since 1975 in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Norfolk before moving to the West Country in 1989.

His professional background started in the planning field, moving on to economic development, marketing and regeneration.

Graham serves as an Apprenticeship Ambassador for the National Apprenticeship Service and is a leading figure in public/private sector partnership working in North Somerset and the West of England, being especially passionate about the need to integrate health and social care services.


Graham Farrant, Joint Chief Executive of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and Thurrock Council

Graham Farrant

Graham Farrant is the joint Chief Executive at Thurrock and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, the first such arrangement between a London Borough and a Unitary Council.

Graham, who has experience in both the public and private sectors, was appointed Chief Executive of Thurrock Council in August 2010. He immediately set about stabilizing the council, improving performance and turning round a failing reputation. In July 2012, he was appointed as Chief Executive of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham where he had previously served as Chief Executive, sharing the role across the two authorities.

Before coming to Thurrock he was Chief Executive of pmpgenesis, a management consultancy, and for the four years until 2008, he was Chief Executive of Leisure Connection Ltd, a privately held national health, and fitness industry company.

From 2000 to 2004, Graham was Chief Executive of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and has over 25 years’ experience in local authorities, starting as an Environmental Health Officer at Westminster in 1982.


Phil Hope, former Minister of State for Care Services in the Department of Health

Phil Hope

Phil Hope is the former Minister of State for Care Services in the Department of Health. His work included development of the National Care Service White Paper, the National Dementia Strategy, the National Mental Health Strategy, and the National Autism Strategy. Phil is a Member of the Dr Foster Ethics Committee and Adjunct Professor, Global Health Institute, Imperial College.


John Atkinson, Adviser on leadership, strategy and creativity

John Atkinson

John Atkinson is a leading practitioner in local government leadership development. He has designed and led a range of national and leadership interventions e.g. Total Place and the Leeds Castle Leadership Programme that has gained international recognition.

Furthermore, his work in establishing better links across party lines provides him with a unique insight into the unfolding policy of the coalition government.

John’s breadth of experience within the public sector includes Police Forces, CCGs, acute, primary and mental health trusts in the NHS. Moreover, he has facilitated organisational change and improved effectiveness within 150 councils through an array of leadership development techniques while working directly with chief executives and elected mayors.

He has worked with a number of the world’s leading thinkers on ‘whole system’ and his appointments have included Managing Director of the Leadership Centre for Local Government, Director in KPMG’s local government practice and officer commanding the Royal Artillery leadership wing.

Currently he is a commissioner on the Warwick Commission on elected mayors and is a regular contributor on the topic in the local government press and on national platforms.


Richard Vize, Columnist on the Local Government and Healthcare Networks, Guardian

Richard Vize

Richard Vize has been a commentator on public policy and public services reform for over 20 years. He is a columnist for the Guardian Local Government Network and Guardian Healthcare Network, contributes to the British Medical Journal and works for a range of organisations across local government and health.

He is a former editor of both Local Government Chronicle and Health Service Journal, and spent a year as head of communications at regulator Ofsted. He won the award for best business freelance in the Medical Journalism Awards 2012.


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