New Local Government Network

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Described as having “impeccable New Labour links” by former Tribune editor, Mark Seddon, and less flatteringly as “the provisional wing of the consultancy and contracting sector” by Sir Jeremy Beecham (former Labour Leader of Newcastle upon Tyne), the New Local Government Network says it wants “a radical approach to improving public services, revitalising local politics and empowering local communities.

Formed in 1996 by crony peers Lord (Steve) Bassam and Lord Filkins; Len Duvall, now Labour member of the London Assembly and then leader of Greenwich council, (1992 – 2000); Professor Gerry Stoker; Rita Stringfellow, then Labour leader of North Tynecastle council, now a Trustee of the Daycare Trust (run by IPPR's Lisa Harker) and ditto of the Family Rights Group (run by Cathy Ashley, former Labour Lambeth Councillor and currently a member of the Compass management board, the NLGN works closely with Labour ministers and other New Labour fronts like the IPPR. Its leading members also have close links with New Labour business interests in the public sector. It campaigns for elected mayors.

It won the ‘Prospect’ award of think tank of the year 2004.

Funders include: Accord; The Amey Group; BT; Business Services Association; Buro Happold; Capita; The CBI; Cambridge Education; The Corporation of London; Deloitte; Hedra; Interserve; Kendric Ash; Kier Group; KPMG; Land Securities; BERATA; Modena; Mouchelparkman; NabarroNathanson; Nord Anglia education plc; Prospects Careers Services; Pricewaterhousecoopers; Rockpools (naturally different); Serco; Tesco; Trower & Hamlins; and Vertex.

NLGN has an eighteen-strong Board of Trustees. Its address is: 2nd Floor, 42 Southwark Street, London, a building owned by Land Securities and bought on their behalf with the help of solicitors, Nabarro Nathanson.




  • Helen RandallPartner, Trowers and Hamlins, a law firm specialising in public housing and housing issues, Advisor to the IPPR’s ‘ Building Better Partnerships report’ Helen was previously at solicitors Nabarro Nathanson where she “advised local authorities and their private sector partners on PFI, PPPs, joint ventures and outsourcing.”

Other Trustees

  • Steve Bullock Labour Mayor, London Borough of Lewisham. Former policy assistant to Ken Livingstone at the now defunct GLC; ex-consultant and trainer with Capita (see Funders); head of Labour Group Office, Local Government Association; Labour Leader of Lewisham Borough Council, 1988 - 1993
  • Professor Paul Corrigan Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the University of North London since 1995 and husband of Hilary Armstrong, who succeeded her father, Ernest Armstrong, as Labour MP Durham North West in 1987. Hilary is currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Tony Blair’s Chief Whip. She was PPS to John Smith before his death in 1994, and played a pivotal role in the early years of the NLGN when she was Opposition spokesperson on Local Government and subsequently Minister for State at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions with responsibilities for Local Government during the first Blair government. Paul is also a former full time worker for the Labour Party and a one-time director of the NLGN. He helped to form the Public Management Foundation before its absorption into the Office of Public Management Ltd. From 2001 Paul was also a special advisor to Alan Milburn and John Reid.
  • Mike Emmerich Director, Institute for Political and Economic Governance, University of Manchester (see Archives). Also Labour Party activist, Labour election agent 2003 and former member of the Prime Minister’s Policy Directorate, responsible for local government. Has enjoyed New Labour patronage, he is a trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund Lottery Fund alongside fellow NLGN Trustee, Tristram Hunt (see below).
  • John Foster Chief Executive, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council since 2003. Previously Chief Executive, Middlesborough council and North Tyneside Council (see: Rita Stringfellow above)
  • Tristram Hunt Queen Mary College, University of London. Former Labour Party employee. Active New Labour Supporter. Son of New Labour crony peer Lord Hunt of Chesterton (ennobled 2000). Appointed as Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 2005. Historian and broadcaster.
  • Katherine Kerswell Chief Executive, Solihull Metropolitan District Council. Former Director of Redditch borough council
  • Paul Kirby Head of Value for Money, BBC. Ex Director of inspection, the Audit Commission and Director of Reform Strategy at the Cabinet Office 2002. Didn’t last long.
  • Pauleen Lane Labour Deputy Leader, Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council. Member of the Audit Commission and Board member, Northwest Development Agency since 2001. Member of the ill-fated Vote “Yes for the North-West Regional Assembly” campaign led by former BBC journalist and ex-Chair of the Northwest Development Agency, Felicity Goodey.
  • Ben Lucas Controversial former special advisor to Jack Straw and New Labour lobbyist who formed LLM Communications after the 1997 General Election with former special advisors, Neal Lawson and Jon Mendelsohn. The firm became notorious in 1998 when it was revealed that Lucas had given an advance copy of one of Gordon Brown’s speeches to a client. Current clients include NLGN Funders, Capita, KPMG plus the Local Government Association, Manchester City Council, Nottingham City Council (see below) and Hounslow Council (see below). The Firm also has close toes with Lord Levy and Labour Friends of Israel.
  • Amanda McIntyre Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Accord. Before joining Accord Amanda was ‘Head of Modernising Government’ at the CBI (see Funders). Accord (see Funders) is a contracting company specialising in local authorities and housing associations. The chairman of Accord is Roger Brooke, a former chairman of the Audit Commission, while the Chief Executive is Stelio Stefanou who signed the 2005 Businessman’s letter to the Financial Times urging the re-election of New Labour. He was also a speaker at the February 2005 NLGN conference – supported by IDea- on Audit Commission inspection.
  • Abigail Melville Former Interim Director of the NLGN Innovation Forum and listed as the Assistant Director, Policy & Quality. IDea. Labour councillor, Lambeth.
  • Barry Quirk Chief Executive, London Borough of Lewisham. Appointed head of government drive to make local councils achieve efficiency savings July 2004. Has spoken at Demos event. Close confidante of Steve Bullock (see above)
  • Iain Roxburgh Head of Local Authorities Research Consortium, University of Warwick. Ex-Chief Executive, Coventry City Council, former councillor in Brent
  • Nick Sharman Director and head of local government services for the Amey Group (see Funders). Former deputy executive Director, London borough of Islington.
  • Dr Colin Sinclair Independent Local Government Consultant. Former chief executive, Sunderland City Council
  • Professor Gerry Stoker Professor of Political Science, Department of Government, University of Manchester. Immediate past chairman of NLGN, Gerry has been an advisor to the Government since 1997, and was a member of the IPPR Commission on Public Private Partnerships which reported in 2001 and a co-author of the Demos report ‘Governing in the round: Strategies for Holistic Government ‘alongside Perri 6, Diana Leat, and Kimberley Seltzer published in 1999. He was also a speaker at the 2004 Progress conference and is listed as a speaker at the Compass conference 2005. He is credited with promoting the idea of directly elected mayors.
  • Munira Thobani Independent Local Government Consultant. One time head of democratic services, Lambeth Council



  • Chris Leslie (until 2010) Ambitious New Labour former MP for Shipley. As a minister defended postal balloting.
  • Before Leslie's appointment in September 2005, the Director was Dan Corry, a former head of economics at the Labour Party secretariat 1989 – 92, former chief economist the IPPR, and special advisor to both Peter Mandelson and Stephen Byers, achieving notoriety during his stint with the latter when he was discovered sending emails trying to find details of the political affiliations of members of the Paddington rail crash survivors group in an effort to discredit their criticisms of his boss. Corry left the NLGN in May 2005 to become special advisor to Ruth Kelly at Education. Corry joined NLGN in 2002 after Pricewaterhouse (see Funders) had advertised the £60,000 post after the previous Director, John Williams had resigned to become Local Government Development Director at the Serco Group plc and the Serco Institute. Serco has now seconded him to the CBI (see Funders) as their Director of Public Services. According to a Guardian report, during his spell as director of the NLGN, Williams was close to the then local government minister, Hilary Armstrong

Head of Research

  • Warren Hatter Former head of local government research with pollsters MORI .

Head of Strategic Communications

Head of Policy

  • Anna Randle Currently working on a long term project funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Mayoral campaign manager for the NLGN. Anna has written for Progress 2001 and again in 2003 where she praised Labour councillors and singled out Jane Roberts in London and Richard Leese in Manchester (see City Commission below) She was a speaker at the 2005 Compass conference.

Research Manager

  • Natalie Tarry (formerly Arend) Joined NLGN from the European Parliament where she worked for a German MEP

Corporate Relationships & Fundraising Manager

Council; Relationship Officer

Kiran Dhillon Previously with London Borough of Hounslow

Policy and Communications Officer

  • Mark Fuller Previous employers include Yvette Cooper, Labour MP Pontefract and Castleford and wife of Ed Balls at the Smith Institute. In 2003 Mark helped to compile “Tony Blair in his own words an anthology of speeches and articles” edited by Paul Richards (and as written by Alastair Campbell?)

Reports and Activities

NLGN has recently appointed a so called City Commission which is expected to propose the creation of super sized city/regions in the wake of the collapse of the government’s plans for regional assemblies.


Roger Blitz UK Affairs Editor of the pro-Labour Financial Times.

Head of Research for the Commission John Temple, former Labour Deputy Leader, South Tyneside Council

Commission members

  • John Biggs, Assembly Member and Vice Chair, London Development Agency

(Also Labour whip on the GLA, former leader of Tower Hamlets council and formerly director of the Socialist Health Association)

Mick Henry, Labour Leader, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council

Lin Homer – appointed when Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council. Now head of Immigration at the Home Office (check archives for full story)

Tristram Hunt, Queen Mary College, London and NLGM Trustee. See also above

Sir Robert Kerslake, Chief Executive, Sheffield City Council Formerly with the GLC and Inner London Education Authority. Also a member of the Cabinet Office review team on discrimination and inequality led by Trevor Phillips and including Carol Lake, Dame Judith Mayhew Jones and Nick Pearce, the Director of the IPPR.

Richard Leese, Labour Leader, Manchester City Council Much praised by NLGN Head of Policy, Anna Randle, see above

Yvette Livesey, Visionary Director, In the City music convention Also former Miss England. Partner of Tony Wilson, record producer and broadcaster, North-West Regional Assembly campaigner and co-founder of The Necessary Group alongside New Labourites Ruth Turner and Howard Dawber.

Gordon Mitchell, Chief Executive, Nottingham City Council Nottingham city Council is a client of LLM – see above under Ben Lucas

Mike Storey, Liberal Democrat Leader, Liverpool City Council

Graham Stringer, Labour MP, Manchester, Blackley Also former Labour Leader of Manchester City Council 1984 – 96 Tony Travers, Director of the Greater London Group, LSE

Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government, UNISON Also former policy officer Newham Council; Women’s Rights Officer, Liberty; joined UNISON as research assistant in 1989

Juliet Williams, South West Regional Development Agency Former publisher and businesswoman who chairs the SW RDA.

According to a press release issued by the NLGN in March “confirmed participants for the evidence-giving sessions (of the Commission) include Ed Balls, former Chief Economic Advisor to the Chancellor (otherwise known as the New Labour MP, Normanton, 2005 - and husband of New Labour minister, Yvette Cooper. Balls has also been a senior Research Fellow at the Smith Institute: see Archives) and Professor Alan Harding of the University of Salford, a key advisor to the Select Committee which prepared the unwanted Regional Assemblies bill.

Corporate Partners