ZSL appoints Dominic Jermey as new Director General

ZSL appoints Dominic Jermey as new Director General

International wildlife conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) has announced the appointment of Dominic Jermey (CVO OBE) as Director General. Dominic succeeds Ralph Armond, who has served the organisation for 13 years. 

Commenting on his new role, Dominic Jermey, said: "I am delighted to be taking on the leadership of ZSL, a vibrant British institution with global impact on wildlife conservation. With its unique combination of world-class zoos, education and conservation breeding programmes, ground-breaking science and field projects in over 50 countries, ZSL makes a massive positive difference  to wildlife, to the sustainability of habitats and to the public's understanding of our interdependence with the animal kingdom.

“I have always been driven by a desire to help shape a better world for my children. I have already had the opportunity to serve and contribute in some of the most challenging environments around the world.  I am proud now to be joining ZSL, an organisation that has advanced zoology, promoted understanding of conservation and engaged the public on wildlife for nearly two centuries. 

“I want to develop ZSL's reach and impact at this critical moment for global biodiversity, so that as we approach ZSL's bicentenary, we are a core part of the answer to the global challenges facing wildlife today. 

“Working with the outstanding team at ZSL, with the Society’s tremendously dedicated partners and supporters, and forging innovative new partnerships to address these pressing challenges, I am confident we will achieve enormous success together in ZSL's mission of promoting the global conservation of animals.” 

Confirming the appointment, ZSL’s President Professor Sir John Beddington, said: “On behalf of ZSL’s Trustees, I am delighted to announce the selection of Dominic Jermey as our new Director General.  He has extensive experience of working with FTSE CEOs on international business strategies as well as operating globally at a senior level. We believe that Dominic will bring strategic vision to ZSL, which we need to take us forward in achieving our aims.”



In our latest edition of CANVAS, Sandy Begbie reflects on the first days of the newly merged Standard Life Aberdeen Plc and emphasises the importance of people and culture in making this organisational change a success.

In his new integration role Sandy looks at what lies ahead for the business in its new position as the UK’s largest asset manager.

Can you explain a bit about your role how it has evolved in the past two years?

My role until the recent merger between Standard Life plc and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC was Chief People Officer of Standard Life plc. In addition to that I have also been a lead executive in our joint venture business in China and small retail business in Hong Kong where I chair the Audit and Risk committee and Strategy and Planning committee. I have been in this additional role in China for six years, and it has no HR function.

This dual role really reflects my approach to my career, and HR in general. Firstly, I have always tried to keep a foot outside the HR function, and secondly, I have always looked to really grab different opportunities when they have come along. 

As a function of the merger, I have been asked to take on a lead integration role. The view and approach from both Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch as joint CEOs is that culture is fundamental to the success of the merger. We know that whilst there will be some significant complexities we can get the IT systems and the properties to work. The biggest risks to success are the people, organisational design and culture. We need to get those vitally important parts right from the outset.

When you look at an asset management company at a basic level we are a people business, much more so almost than many other types of business. Our differentiator is the people we employ, the people we work for and with, and the culture that we engender in the business.

My role is definitely evolving as we begin life as a merged company. This is the largest merger in Scottish history, and one of the largest in the UK. The chance to lead on the integration of the two businesses was certainly too good an opportunity to miss.


When considering your role in the organisation’s Chinese business, is it less common in the finance sector to have the chief people officer or HR Director in a more ‘business-specific’ function? 

Yes, I would say so. There are other firms who have done it, but it is relatively rare. I did originally come from a banking background and that really has allowed me to broaden my leadership into other areas.

For me personally to be involved in other parts of the business keeps it interesting and also makes the HR/people function more relevant across the organisation. It gives me and my team a better overview of the whole business. The business in China is complex, and I sometimes think if I can understand and navigate that process, I can get to grips with any area of the business. 

I do truly believe that you can learn a lot more about yourself and the organisation by expanding your network. In general, I think there needs to be more business breadth amongst HR people, and having a strong understanding of the business workings, as well the importance of the people to the business benefits everybody.

Standard Life Aberdeen is a global organisation and has emerged as the UK’s largest asset manager. What would you highlight as the key challenges in addressing the changes this merger has brought to the employees across both organisations?

There is absolutely no getting away from the fact that there is a period of time with any change which will bring a lot of tension and we need to work through this. This involves realising synergies in the business and making cost savings, ultimately resulting in a reduction in people. This has been made public and there is awareness that there will be a headcount reduction of 800 from the current combined population of 9,000 employees, over a three year period, as a result of the merger. Synergies will come in part from customary employee departures and natural turnover, and we will be taking all appropriate steps to mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies.

We will be working through our approach over the next three to six months. It can’t be a sequential process, but we have to start engaging with people about what the new company will look and feel like. It is exciting for some people, but for others there is a continued anxiety about what it will mean for them. We realise that we need to address this as early as possible, whilst also stabilising the business and keeping customers and clients on the journey with us.

The external and internal worlds will be watching this whole process; assessing how we approach these challenges while merging the organisations, people and culture together.

As separate entities, there are inevitably differences between how the two businesses have worked in the past. The organisational structure, governance, and culture have been different. Although operating internationally, Standard Life Investments has been pretty Edinburgh-centric, with decision-making largely centralised here and a comparatively small global presence. It has also grown almost entirely organically, with one acquisition in its history. Aberdeen Asset Management has been a more global business operation and has grown mainly through acquisitions in the past decade.

Integrating these two businesses together will be the most significant marker of success. We know it’s important to all our clients and future clients that we keep our best people, continue to attract the best people and generate the best investment performance and returns. This is what we are committed to doing with the merger. 

Standard Life Aberdeen is operating with a dual CEO structure. What will that mean for the business and the organisational structure?

We are not the first organisation to do this, there have been a number of success stories. It has worked well in large international organisations such as Oracle, for example. Investment banking particularly also has a history of joint CEOs due to the diverse nature of the business make up.

This dual role has worked where you are genuinely merging two companies, and that absolutely is what Standard Life Aberdeen is. It is a merger – the mutual joining together of two organisations to make one larger entity. It would quickly meet a tipping point of not being considered a merger if there was a predominance of one organisation taking senior roles.

When you consider our two CEOs, they are quite different people. They do have commonality around values and approach, and very established and successful track records, but in terms of their innate interests and strengths they do differ.

Martin has a strong focus on the external side of the business – client, customer and external affairs. He is interested in marketing and brand building, and is a very engaging communicator.

Keith is an economist by background, and has always traditionally had a stronger focus on the investment and core business elements. He has built Standard Life Investments and of course he has a strong focus on clients, but he also recognises the importance of getting the culture right internally, getting people to work together.

They make a very impressive team and have real personal strengths and qualities which complement each other. To date it has worked as well as anyone could have expected, and it looks set to continue on that path.

What are the key methods that you and your team will be adopting to share the new brand and vision for the merged business with all your internal audiences?

We certainly cannot underestimate the importance of brand values and culture. It stretches right round the organisation, internally and externally. The client experience is heavily driven by the employee experience, and that needs to be as seamless, aligned and real as possible.

The ubiquity of technology does bring different avenues of communication and this can really help when addressing a larger, globally spread out audience. However, we can never underestimate the power of visibility. At times of change, this is paramount. We need to have leaders of the business on the ground, meeting, talking and updating. Those leaders who can communicate really well absolutely come into their own at a time of change.

How does the explosion of social media and constant availability of online news content impact on your interactions with staff and other stakeholders?

The way the two companies have typically communicated has been quite different up until this point, but it is starting to come together. From day one we have had to work hard at ensuring the approach is joined up about how we share information.

Social media has provided a really big jolt to internal communications particularly. It has created the need for quicker, smarter engagement and being able to reach audiences in a way that the internal communications function has not done before.

One of the initiatives which was launched just after the merger was a mood and sentiment survey. This has gone to all 9,000 across the merged group. We want to get real time information about how people are feeling and thinking and get a closer insight into existing cultures. We had been developing it for a while with Standard Life Investments, but this is the first time it has been carried out, and we are really positive about how this will help inform our approach. We will repeat this regularly to allow us to gain an instant sentiment to people and culture over the next couple of years.

It is amazing when you run a business like ours that we can get financial information and customer information instantly, but we didn’t have that same level of access to employee sentiment until now. It will be a very important tool for us and puts more emphasis on the leadership to take visible and accountable action.

The merger comes at a time of political and economic uncertainty in Scotland and UK, particularly in relation to Brexit. Can you outline how you address the challenges this external environment brings when communicating within your organisation?

Interestingly, and this is very typical when organisations or institutions are going through significant periods of change, people will naturally focus in on what it means for them, their role and their team. This is perfectly normal and we are very aware of this.

Of course Brexit and the political and economic uncertainty are key topics of internal discussion. Preparing for a successful Brexit transition is a strategic priority. However certainly at the moment, there is a more immediate focus on what is happening internally and how this might impact right across the organisation.

This is highlighted during our regular leadership calls which we hold as part of the merger integration process. During these calls the majority of questions are about people, culture and organisational structure. These really are the areas that are uppermost in our employees’ minds.

Of course, by no means are we an organisation which is close minded to what is going on externally, but when it comes to communications, we have to get the balance right about where we focus during this period of significant change and listen and pre-empt the needs of the business and our people.

With increased regulation across the sector what challenges does this bring? Does it make people management and recruitment more complex, requiring a greater level of technical or specialist knowledge across all levels of the business than in the past?

It does make recruitment more complex. Really good people have a lot of choices about where they can work. Most sectors nowadays have some form of regulation, but the financial services sector has a very high degree of it.

We find particularly with graduates that the opportunity to work in financial services doesn’t necessarily hold the same attraction as it used to. Graduates looking at the wider job market are placing a great deal of emphasis on values and what companies stand for. Certainly a company’s approach to sustainability is one of the top criteria a graduate would use to make choices about their employment. I’m pleased to say that we are well recognised for our approach to sustainability and have featured in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for seven years now. The index is designed to measure the performance of sustainable companies by looking at how well they manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities which impact on their long-term success. Our listing places us within the top 10% of leading sustainable companies in the world from our sector.

However, one of the key points is about the reputation and the issues the financial sector has experienced in the past decade. As a result of the 2007/8 crisis, the regulator introduced a senior manager regime which allows it to hold senior people much more to account than in the past. This brings a far higher degree of reputational risk, particularly in functions like HR and IT, and this also can make this sector a less appealing area to work in.

Many financial organisations remain large, deeply complex organisations and I believe that finding the right people, the best people, is going to become harder.


Is there a need for greater diversity at a senior leadership level (not just gender specific) in the financial sector and beyond? If so, how can this be addressed?

There is definitely a need for financial services’ organisations to be much more mindful of the social climate and the change we have seen in the past, and continue to see now. There is still a considerable amount of discussion around remuneration, the purpose of organisations, diversity and inclusion. This debate needs to be widened and positive action taken to address these issues. 

I believe that how businesses respond to the social inclusion agenda will go a long way to rebuilding the sector and demonstrating the good that these businesses can have in broader society. Financial services is very important to Scotland, and of course the UK, but to regain trust in the sector amongst customers and clients will take time and require a lot of work from many organisations in areas where they have historically not been involved.

Standard Life has worked hard to be inclusive over the past five years particularly and I am a huge advocate. Our strategy leads with inclusion - based on attracting and retaining a diversity of talent in its broadest sense and on ensuring we have an environment in which all our people can fulfil their potential and feel they can be themselves at work. For example, we were the first private sector company in Scotland to become not just a living wage employer, but a Living Wage Friendly Funder too. We’ve made sure that we pay a minimum of the real living wage to all our employees, regardless of their age, and this applies to all our young interns and apprentices. At the same time, As a Friendly Funder we also make sure that any roles we fund with the charities we work with are funded at the Living Wage. We’ve also built the living wage into our supply chain. What that means is that all suppliers who work with us need to be living wage employers or give that guarantee to all their employees who come onto our sites. 

Another project we are involved in to reinforce the importance of the living wage and help young people get into work is through the Princes’ Trust. We fund one of its initiatives in London, and more recently five other cities, which brings young people in to work with SMEs by offering them training and coaching. In some cases the SMEs don’t have the funds to pay the living wage but we have committed to subsidising the salary of any young person employed by this scheme to guarantee it.

We have also done a substantial amount of work with those coming out of the armed forces. We have a network of about 40 ex-armed services personnel employed in our business, and look to support organisations who help those out of the army into work. A few years ago we worked with the British Royal Legion to fund the introduction of a brand new training programme and website, to help those in the armed forces to improve their financial fitness. This was the first time that structured financial education was built into all Armed Forces basic training, bringing real and tangible benefits.

One of the key points of diversity is of course gender. We cannot deny that we have challenges with regards to our gender diversity at the top of the organisation. We are working hard to shift this balance and a lot of emphasis is on growing a sustainable gender balanced pipeline. Our graduate level is more than 50 percent female; at emerging leader level we have 50 percent females; and at the senior leader level it is approximately 25-30 percent. In our succession pipeline, 38 percent of those we consider will be ready to operate at Executive Committee level in 3 years plus is female and we are focussed on supporting their continued development. At board level we have been above 30 percent female for the past decade, and that is a trend that will continue. We have a very strong women’s development network, which has been recognised externally also. We are moving in the right direction in this area, and it is fundamental part of our long term strategy.

An area that we need to focus more on in the future is around disability and we have projects in the pipeline to address this with regards to our employment approach and wider social mobility strategy.


Looking ahead, what will be your biggest indicator(s) of success in the change management process in the next 1-4 years for Standard Life Aberdeen plc?

We are embarking on a three year programme of change, but I would like to think that the bulk of my work in this integration role will have been carried out over the next two years, and the businesses are effectively merged. I am very aware that it can’t run for too long, as there is a greater risk of project fatigue.

For the business at large, being counted as one of the successful mergers to take place in business history would be a great indicator that the process has worked. There is some research which suggests a higher rate of failure for mergers than acquisitions. This higher failure rate has largely been put down to lack of integration and proper establishment of culture and purpose.

When setting out on the path of a merger, there is a fine balancing act required. We have a dual chief executive function and a board which is 50/50 from both organisations. There is a full commitment by both sides to making it a success.
Some of the more measurable indicators which we would assess on a regular basis include maintenance of business as usual; asset retention; staff retention; graduate and staff recruitment; customer satisfaction; brand awareness; attraction of new clients; management of change; and integration of new culture.

Standard Life Aberdeen is now the largest asset manager in the UK, second largest in Europe and one of the top twenty in the world. If we get this right, we will create a vitally important financial power house based in Scotland. This will have a real impact on people’s lives, both in the capital and beyond, within the organisation and externally. This is our ultimate goal and one that we are working very hard together to deliver.


Sandy Begbie is responsible for the Global People, Organisation & Culture Integration since the successful merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management on 14 August 2017. He is also the Lead Executive for the Joint Venture Heng An Standard Life in China and the Asia business based in Hong Kong. Sandy joined Standard Life in May 2010 as the Group Transformation Director. He is the Chairman of Career Ready, Scottish Advisory Board (SAB) and also Chairs the new Regional Developing Young Workforce (DYW) group to tackle Edinburgh and Lothian youth unemployment. He was recently appointed as a NED to the Open University Board.

Read more insights from Saxton Bampfylde in CANVAS >>

People Moves in International Development

People Moves in International Development

We are delighted to share the latest edition of Saxton Bampfylde’s People Moves in International Development, which we hope makes for interesting reading.  People Moves is a guide to some of the big appointments in the sector, those you have seen and those you may have missed.

Read it here

Kwame Kwei-Armah announced as Young Vic’s new Artistic Director

Kwame Kwei-Armah announced as Young Vic’s new Artistic Director

Saxton Bampfylde was delighted to be involved in the appointment of Kwame Kwei-Armah as the new Artistic Director of the Young Vic,  which was announced yesterday.  This was a very exciting project for Saxton Bampfylde and it was a privilege to work with the Board of Trustees over many months on this search and to meet and engage with so many artistically talented and knowledgeable individuals along the way.

Kwame Kwei-Armah is an award-winning Director and Playwright and the outgoing Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage where he directed extensively. Directing credits also include New York’s Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. His production of One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play.

His works as playwright include One Love (Birmingham Rep), Marley, Beneatha’s Place (Baltimore Center Stage), Elmina’s Kitchen, Fix Up, Statement of Regret (National Theatre) and Let There Be Love and Seize the Day (Tricycle Theatre). Kwame was the Chancellor of the University of the Arts London from 2010-15, and in 2012 was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama.

Kwame will succeed David Lan further to the announcement that he would be stepping down in 2018 after 18 years in the role. Kwame will announce his first season of work as Artistic Director in the New Year.

We are all looking forward to seeing the contribution that Kwame will make to the Theatre and wider cultural life in the UK over the coming years.

Saxton Bampfylde has a long track record of working with some of the most high profile cultural institutions helping to identify and place their senior leaders. In the last years we are proud to have worked on the appointment of the current directors/chief executives of: the V&A, the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Heritage Lottery Fund, Sir John Soane’s Museum and Somerset House among many others.

If you would like to talk to us about our work or learn more about how we can help your organisation, please do get in touch

Attracting the talent: Chief Executive recruitment for MAT boards in challenging times

Attracting the talent: Chief Executive recruitment for MAT boards in challenging times

Jo Ogilvy is a Partner and Head of the Schools Practice at Saxton Bampfylde. Ahead of Academy Ambassadors third annual board development day, an event sponsored by Saxton Bampfylde, Jo addresses the challenges faced when recruiting senior leaders at multi-academy trusts.

Recruiting a new chief executive for a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) throws up a number of challenges, however, there are some real opportunities as well.  

We operate in a time where there is a fight for talent when recruiting educational leaders with the requisite track record, financial and operational expertise to lead a MAT.  These people often have choices and may prefer, for instance, the chance to build their own MAT rather than join an existing trust.  The role is so varied that it may prove difficult to identify and attract someone with relevant experience across all areas.  It helps to be as open minded as possible about the background of potential candidates, and instead focus on the skills and personal style required.  A board can make up for any gaps their CE may have through the team beneath them and the board's expertise.  There is a real opportunity here, as leaders from outside the sector are keen to join it, seeing MAT leadership as a potentially really exciting and relevant career move – their chance to lead organisations of significant scale, impact and purpose.  Being part of a move to improve children’s life chances can be a highly compelling proposition. 

A business or charity leader will often have skills that are highly relevant to MATs – knowledge of running multi-site operations, strong financial knowledge, an understanding of regulated environments, and the ability to think strategically as well as operationally.  What can be their downfall, however, is a lack of understanding about how schools operate.  Some would argue that this can be learnt quickly and that with the support of a strong director of education, it need not be a problem.  We recognise however that it is a potential stumbling block.  Risk can be mitigated by finding non-educationalists who bring some knowledge of education, perhaps having been a board member of another MAT, or having had executive roles that have crossed over with the sector. If the candidate has a strong cultural fit with an interest in education, this also helps. 

"Being part of a move to improve children’s life chances can be a highly compelling proposition."

If, on the other hand, the board is certain that the trust needs an educationalist, then we can’t emphasise enough how it helps to be open minded about the package and flexible working, as well as being clear about your vision.  The best people will have options and are often well paid, therefore these things really matter.  When appointing an educationalist, it is likely that they will value having strong operations and finance people beneath them. This will give the organisation the necessary depth to ensure strong financial management and will help ensure that any expansion happens in a way that is sustainable and effective.

If thinking creatively about where your next CE comes from, then there is likely to be a real variance with regards to candidates’ current remuneration (and what figure will persuade them to consider the role), and notice periods will also vary.  Being prepared with an interim solution can enable boards to consider those on six months’ notice; it can also be a way to offer someone within the organisation the chance to gain valuable experience.  

There can often be a tension when prioritising what it is a CE needs to do.  This is highly likely to be between a focus on educational vision and raising educational outcomes, and maintaining the trust’s financial and operational performance.  Which comes first?  The CE inevitably impacts where this focus lies, so it is important to think about counter-balance, given the importance of all aspects of MAT leadership.  Some carefully chosen board members might help redress the balance, as might a well-structured and high-quality SLT. 

Other aspects that matter when recruiting a chief executive include possibly less obvious elements such as the person’s empathy with the region in which a Trust is operating, their evident belief in the work that the academies are doing, and their fit with the Trust's culture.  In our experience, it is not only the person’s ability to do the role, but also their empathy for the ethos of the trust and the work done by its people.  It is often critical for success that a new CE acts in a way that establishes credibility and respect from those working in the academies, and the communities they serve.  This will require someone with outstanding people skills, and the ability to communicate (directly or indirectly) with a wide range of stakeholders – from students and parents to staff to RSCs, the Department and regulators.  

"It is often critical for success that a new CE acts in a way that establishes credibility and respect from those working in the academies, and the communities they serve."

When recruiting a chief executive, the board’s understanding of the job to be done, their vision for the trust, and their realism are all critical in running a compelling and successful recruitment campaign.  It can often be a candidate’s market.     

This Blog post was written for Academy Ambassadors Board Development Day, 11 September 2017, sponsored by Saxton Bampfylde.


  Contact Jo Ogilvy



By Lisa James, Partner & Gareth Jones, Partner and Occupational Psychologist, Saxton Bampfylde

This is a time of wide-reaching change in the public sector. The sector is grappling with the impact of changes in demand, in technology, and in both commercial and partnership models in public service delivery. The public sector’s traditional partners in both the private and the third sector are themselves contending with changing funding models and changing needs. Delivery increasingly requires new types of partnership models and working. And, finally but significantly, there is a level of political instability which leads to significant medium-term policy uncertainty.

All of this means that we are in a time not only of change, but also of ambiguity. Public-sector leaders are being tasked not only with delivering discrete and definable change programmes, but also with developing and articulating responses to major national or global challenges at a time when both the problems and the tools available to tackle them are unclear and hard to predict.


The demands that groups put on their leaders in times of change and ambiguity are complex and need to be carefully balanced. In the simplest terms, groups who are facing change will tend to look to their leaders for protection. But, crucially, this does not mean that the task of the leader is to defend the status quo at all costs.

The best leaders will introduce what clarity they can, but are also honest and up-front about what cannot be predicted or guaranteed. They take seriously their role in protecting the team from some of the adverse consequences of change (particularly from pressure from above), but must also resist the urge to be paternalistic – engaging their teams in the design and ownership of the change process rather than allowing them to be passive recipients of it.

This is particularly important during periods of ambiguity. Ambiguity can be paralytic, and very often leaders will have no more information about, or control over, medium-term outcomes than their teams do. In this context, clarity about the end goal and the team’s ultimate raison d’etre is all the more important. At the same time, leaders can help their teams to focus on the things that they do have power on, and be clear on the contribution that their day-to-day work is still making.

There will always be some members of a team who embrace change whole-heartedly: who see and are excited by the opportunities, and who have low enough needs for security and stability that ambiguity or personal risk do not faze them. For many, though, any truly radical change will be a challenge to a long-established professional identity, and will force them to restructure their view of themselves.

And, of course, in any time of wide-reaching change, there will still be large numbers of people who are engaged in business as usual activities. These people are often neglected in thinking about change, but their work remains as important as ever, and it is easy for their engagement to fall.


This means that emotional intelligence is at a premium during periods of change. Pressure will often make people increasingly task-focussed rather than people-focussed – and leaders who are delivering change are often under immense pressure, whether from time pressure, resource constraints, scrutiny, weight of expectation, or all of the above. It is vital that leaders recognise this tendency in themselves and take steps to mitigate it. Equally valid, though, they might choose to bring in other senior members of the team whose strengths lie in their people focus, or identify people within the team who can help them to take its temperature at key points.


Change, therefore, places great demands on leaders. It requires them to balance the protection and the empowerment of their team, and to balance a clear-eyed focus on what needs to be done with empathy for those affected.

This takes real self-awareness, and resilience under great pressure. The final responsibility, then, that leaders have is to themselves. The uncertainty and personal risk which affect teams often affect their leaders no less. All leaders are conscious that they cannot pass the pressure they feel down to their teams too much: but equally, simply internalising it is not sustainable. If leaders are to have the emotional resource to support others, they also need to finds ways to sustain themselves effectively.

Much has been written in recent years about the role that mindfulness and similar techniques can play in reducing stress. These are undoubtedly helpful as a way to help manage the personal impacts of stress and to maintain perspective. However, these internally-focussed methods should be seen as just one element in a wider tool-kit.

There are some core leadership skills, like prioritisation and delegation, which are essential if leaders are to make their roles sustainable. However, leaders also need to build effective support networks for themselves, to ensure that they can access the advice and support they need outside the immediate team or organisational environment.

External mentors, whether formal or informal, can play an immensely valuable role as sounding-boards and sources of support. Good coaching can help leaders to identify and focus on the personal goals that they want to set for themselves, and to make sure that they gain focussed personal development from a period of change, as well as delivering for their organisations.

Finally, there is an important role that the public sector can play in establishing cross-cutting support and learning groups. These should, ideally, be focussed not on individual policy areas but on challenges or tasks – whether dealing with policy uncertainty, setting up new organisations or closing existing ones down, or implementing major operational change – to help leaders share best practice and support one another. 






Bronwen Maddox reflects on how the political landscape is evolving since her inaugural lecture and the focus of priorities for the Institute. She considers the impact of the evolving political mood at home and abroad and what this means for governments.

You gave your inaugural lecture as the Director in January. Since then, the political landscape both in the UK and overseas has continued to evolve quite dramatically. Which events have most struck you, in light of the themes you pulled out in January?

We still have some of the themes very much there. We have countries where the sense of division and public mood is very strong with a roiling and febrile sense of politics.

There is still a picture of older democracies with very divided politics which is putting their institutions under strain. In the United States, we are seeing President Trump testing those institutions continuously. Whether it be attacks on the judiciary, his war of choice with the intelligence agencies, his questions about NATO and approach to international cooperation, these things make modern political challenges like cyberattacks very, very relevant.

Overall, I would say that politics is finding it very hard to accommodate new trends or to fully respond to people’s concerns.

After the results of the elections in France and the Netherlands, do you believe that the ‘unprecedented’ public and political mood is perhaps shifting back to a seemingly more ‘normal’ one?

I am not sure what ‘normal’ is any more. I don’t think people want extremism which is going to turn their countries upside down, but at the same time they do want change and Emmanuel Macron is the best embodiment of that. The unknown politician. Unknown, but on the other hand a centrist, his election was a very firm rejection of Marine Le Pen.

People want change and they want politicians to respond to their concerns. They are probably more short- tempered and cynical about how that response comes than they were in the past.



You talked earlier about challenges to established institutions of democracy. Do you believe that the role of government is going to be harder to define over the next 10-15 years than it has been in recent decades? Or do you think a clear, if different, role for the state is likely to have emerged?

I think the role of government is changing anyway due to globalisation and technology. Both of these are making it harder to run a country and government in a conventional way. One example of how it is becoming harder, is the difficulty in collecting corporation tax. It is increasingly challenging, and we are due to have a good debate about how we address that. 
The state has been pushed back; it has fewer levers than it had in the past. People still expect government to be the answer to many problems. I think government needs to define quite carefully which problems it chooses to be the answer to. It then needs to have a conversation much more directly than in the past about how it answers.

You’ve talked before about a number of things which make a government’s role difficult – globalisation, debt, austerity. But the UK Government also has the immense task of delivering Brexit. How can it ensure that other priorities aren’t lost?

There is no denying the Government needs to pare these priorities right back. The government will be judged on Brexit fundamentally. What it needs to do with those other priorities is to set a tone and make it clear that these are other priorities behind Brexit.

At the end of the day, delivering Brexit is an immense stretch for any British Government. Behind Brexit government needs to respond to basic competence questions, like the NHS. However, actually trying to bring through a significant agenda whether it be industrial policy or social mobility on top of Brexit is almost impossible in reality, but they can’t say it.


What impact do you think the ‘fake news’ agenda has on the Government and its priorities?

This is a really interesting area. I think the internet has changed things completely. People have access to views in the media in the broader sense, and also to people who believe what they believe. The evolution of the internet offers not only a vivid alternative to mainstream news, but also the opportunity to shape one’s view of the world, even without feeling particularly political. We can live in the world that we want and not come into much contact with those we don’t like or agree with. I think people find an enormous sense of support and legitimisation through that and particularly if they are actively political, or feel that they are. Even if they are not they can choose what they want to hear and what they want to ignore. On the other hand, Britain is a smaller, more tightly knit country than the United States and I think the spaces are smaller so it is more difficult to just avoid what other people are talking about.

At the moment, I think it is an advantage, but I do believe it will become a real challenge for political parties to have a more clear and standout voice. It means that parties have almost become parallel on things when arguing with each other. They are not so much arguing against each other for rival merits which means that it becomes much harder to win something by an argument or a persuasion or by a demonstration of fact.

In the US there are many Trump supporters who simply don’t believe what the news is reporting. This is a dangerous territory and politics is not the only domain for this. Science and the science of health is also where people feel they can pick their own philosophy and plan. I feel very much that this is to be resisted.


In addressing the need to ‘do government differently’, you outlined some key techniques that could be embraced. One of these was the frank message that government needs to acknowledge the problem. Do you see any movement here? Are we getting any better at having the difficult conversations?

Actually, quite a lot better. If you take the health service and social care it seems to me that there has been a really explicit attempt by this government to say ‘we really need to talk about how this is going to be paid for’. There is a reality behind that; healthcare costs are going up about twice as fast as GDP. A government can’t tax its way to supporting the health service forever. The Conservative government under May began that conversation but voters did not like some of the choices in the manifesto.

We will run a project soon about how to make that conversation palatable to people. Not just the stage of austerity and the uncomfortable messages being given to the older democracies about things that are just not affordable anymore.

I don’t know yet if there is receptiveness to it. You just hear that there are more conversations around it. Whether it be around people paying more through inheritance tax, or those who can afford it paying more for social care, or does Alzheimer’s care come under the NHS and how would that work.

Next year is the 70th anniversary since Nye Bevan spearheaded the establishment of the NHS. That comes against a background of conversation about the health service and the need for change. How much people buy into that I am not sure.

We need an honest conversation about the NHS. I do wonder if that will just be a one-way conversation to say: ‘you are simply going to have to pay for stuff. We will protect the least well off but others will have to pay more.’ I think this conversation is certainly beginning.


In your lecture you picked three priorities of the Institute’s work to highlight – Whitehall, policy making, and Brexit. Can you give an overview of the progress being made in these three areas?

These are still the three priorities. The focus on Whitehall is very much the internal machinery of government, looking at accountability, transparency and the professionalisation of the civil service. The rules of accountability were drawn up when the Home Office had 28 people. It has clearly moved on from that and we need to look closely at how we make civil servants accountable to ministers, and how to make both of those accountable to Parliament.

Professionalisation of the civil service is increasingly important in the modern world. It may seem banal but the culture of very bright generalists is still embedded in Whitehall. The world is now very specialised and we need professional people within the civil service producing commercial contracts, in HR, finance and in the buying and delivery of digital systems, for example. If we don’t have very specialised people with modern professional skills, they are going to have commercial businesses running rings round them.

On policy making, we will be doing a lot in the coming year. We have done a lot this year on tax policy and how to make it better. We will be looking at making the Budget an annual event, and making it more public. We want to get rid of the ridiculous ‘rabbit out of a hat’ approach, where the Chancellor then spends three weeks clambering back on things he had not foreseen a reaction to. It would be beneficial to move to a point where the budget is debated in public for a year beforehand.

We are doing a big piece of work on infrastructure, and how to proceed with the projects we want and need to, and curtail the spending on ‘white elephant’ projects like Hinkley, which have vast costs attached.

And finally, but importantly, Brexit. This is our fastest paced team. We have done a lot on immigration, clearly stating that we can’t have a brand-new immigration system two years from now. It is not ready, but even so, that is an easier problem than trade.

We published a large trade and customs union paper outlining that this is the hard one.

I am positive about the technical possibility of Brexit. I am less optimistic about the negotiations going on. There needs to be a deal.


Bronwen Maddox is the Director of the Institute for Government, taking up this role in September 2016.

From 2010-16 Bronwen was Editor and Chief Executive of Prospect, a leading monthly current affairs magazine. Prior to that she was Chief Foreign Commentator, Foreign Editor and US Editor of The Times, supervising its award-winning coverage of September 11, 2001. She was previously at the Financial Times, where she ran award-winning investigations and wrote economics editorials.

Before becoming a journalist, she was an investment analyst in the City and a Director of Kleinwort Benson Securities, where she ran its highly-rated team analysing world media stocks.

She has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from St John’s College, Oxford. She is a member of the Governing Council of the Ditchley Foundation which fosters transatlantic relations, and a non-executive board member of the Law Commission, the public body which recommends reform of laws in England and Wales.




Dr. Xa Sturgis discusses what makes a university museum tick; the challenges and opportunities that it affords both the museum and the Higher Education institution it exists within; and how it can change the way education is delivered by opening doors into new worlds.

A museum operating within the Higher Education environment – what does this relationship mean for both institutions?

Part of what it means for a museum is unquestionably a sense of security within a larger organisation. However, with that comes a degree of obligation on the part of the museum that might be different from that of a national, municipal or independent museum. For a university museum the particular areas of obligation are around the focus and emphasis on research and teaching. By that, I mean specifically teaching within a Higher Education context, as all museums see themselves as educational institutions. In a university museum there is more focus on teaching to students, undergraduate and postgraduates, within their institution and beyond.

A lot of university museums were not founded or developed specifically as teaching collections. Many were purely seen as part of a broader cultural focus for the institution. Our Raphael drawings for example, which form the core of our latest exhibition, were given to Oxford in the 1840s in the hope that they would improve the morals of the university students! Increasingly however, we are now looking at our collections and thinking about how we use them in teaching the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum.

In an institution like the University of Oxford which is traditionally very text based this is a challenge, but one that we are rising to. It is an exciting challenge. We want to share how the extraordinary encounter with the many objects amongst these amazing collections can open more windows onto the past or onto ideas than any text book can. We are working hard to suggest different ways of thinking about a wide range of different subjects through these collections - helping to develop possibly more empathetic, more imaginative ways of thinking. 
Looking at the other side about what museums offer universities, they are often the first door through which many people come to a higher education institution. They are an open door to the idea of higher education and the individual university. They are very accessible and museums are astonishingly popular institutions today. They have a broad, engaged public which is of great value to Higher Education institutions.

In Oxford, the university museums are particularly significant and the Ashmolean is one of four exceptional institutions. Collectively we provide different ways into the university, reflecting its intellectual life. We are here to demonstrate how thinking can reveal the world.

How does this impact on the operation and development of the museum?

There are obvious logistical and practical issues that relate to teaching and research. We need study rooms, space to store the objects and of course qualified museum assistants who can retrieve objects and bring them to classrooms.

We are also inviting the academics and lecturers into the museum, sitting them down and supporting them in ways to teach from collections. We are trying to do this across many areas and making links with many faculties including English, migration studies, geography, history and the business school. We are trying hard to support academics and enabling them to be comfortable working with objects rather than using a purely text based approach.

Our own Egyptian curator teaches the Egyptology course he studied when he was a student at Oxford University. However, at that time he sat in the school of archaeology, right next door to the Ashmolean, looking at photocopies of objects that we had in the museum; objects that he didn’t know were next door until he began working here! There is no denying these objects reveal more than a photocopy ever can. They provide a connection to the past and to people, and a window into another world.

We recently received an extremely generous grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation which is specifically dedicated to helping us develop the ways in which we collaborate and support teaching within the university. A key part of this is the development of a new programme called Faculty fellowships, which is geared towards ensuring sustained learning opportunities. This project involves us working very closely with the IT team here to develop better and more sustainable platforms for students to have access to and revise from. Whether it be 3D scans, better imagery or other information, by making all these files available online in addition to allowing hands on teaching sessions in our study rooms will, we believe, greatly enhance the student learning and also the wider teaching experience.

Together with the other museums at the University of Oxford we are also looking to develop a collections study centre; a space where collections from across the University will be accessible for teaching and research. Plans for this centre are currently being developed and we are very lucky to have identified a site right in the heart of the University – two large basements that used to be library stacks under the lawns in front of the Museum of Natural History.

If teaching brings certain operational demands the role of the Museum as a champion of research brings others. This not only involves making our collections accessible to researchers, both physically and virtually, but also revealing the fruits of this research to as wide an audience as possible. Our exhibition programme is critical here and looking at our programme going forward the intention is that it will always, or as frequently as possible, be backed by new research carried out in the University or beyond. Our recent Raphael exhibition is great example of this. The outcome of a Leverhulme-funded research project, it explored the way in which Raphael used the drawing process as a way of thinking and revealed him as a far more experimental and adventurous artist than he is often considered.

One next exhibition - ‘Imagining the Divine: Art and the rise of the world religions – will focus on the late antique period and establishment of the iconography of all world religions. It is an enormous subject and again the subject of a major research project involving Oxford University academics and the British Museum. Oxford is arguably the leading university in the world for the study of the late antique period and it is only right that we should highlight this strength in our exhibition programme.

Exhibitions are the most vital way a museum can communicate what it is. Looking ahead I hope the exhibitions reflect the huge range of our collections but also the range of the intellectual thinking around those collections within the museum, the university and indeed beyond.

What changes, challenges or opportunities are on the horizon for the Ashmolean? How will it continue to evolve in the next 5-10 years?

Thinking again about the Higher Education sector and opportunities arising I would say that the development of academic disciplines and the way in which universities are being encouraged to think about teaching and research is a hugely exciting one for us. There is a real focus on developing an interdisciplinary approach, with a real need to escape from silos of particular well-established academic disciplines. Museums are absolutely some of the best places in which this type of thinking happens almost as a matter of course. Museums by their very nature are interdisciplinary spaces, and I think there is a huge potential for us to play a key role in the development of this kind of thinking and working as well as disseminating the fruits of this working to a wider audience.

Every museum institution will tell you there are financial challenges but again there are particular forces at play in the Higher Education sector, not least because of Brexit. It appears Brexit could hit the sector very hard in terms of research funding, but also about the potential restrictions on access for international students. There is also an impact expected on partnerships, particularly those linked to funding. This creates a challenge for university museums.

The Ashmolean is in a very privileged position of being not only a university museum, but also a great public museum. We do have a mixed funding model which makes us more robust than some, but we are looking to diversify, for example through building a strong institutional endowment fund. Until this point I think it is fair to say that university museums have been somewhat protected from funding cuts, but there is no denying there are storm clouds on the horizon and we need to be ready for this.

Finally, a major challenge, but also a much-needed change, is in the digital arena. If we are to truly be a great teaching and research museum, we must make our collections as accessible in many ways. That needs to be online as well as physically. I will admit we are coming a bit late to the party, although in sunnier moments I tell myself that this is an advantage as we can learn from others. Although we are looking closely and developing ways for mass digitisation in the end there is no escaping the time that collections’ curators need to put into the process of data entry and information checking, which is challenging in a collection of over a million objects.


What skillset or mindset is required at a senior and leadership level within the Higher Education sector at the Ashmolean? Do you consider this to be reflective of that affecting leadership in the wider museums sector?

On the whole I don’t think the skillset differs dramatically to that required of leaders in nationals or independent museums, although I do think that council run museums present rather different leadership challenges.

One of the main challenges of leading a university museum is getting to grips with the larger institution in which we operate; understanding the priorities and objectives of the University in which we sit and, as importantly (but more challengingly), understanding how and where decisions are made within this larger institution and how to influence them. Oxford is particularly, and at times proudly, complex in this regard and even after three years I still have much to learn!

Otherwise, as everywhere, the leadership challenge is about persuading people of your vision and the direction of travel. As just one example the persuading of curatorial staff to devote the necessary time and effort towards digitisation requires motivation and the ability to communicate its importance and the benefits this work will bring.

Are university museums facing similar challenges to generate more commercial revenue or streamline operations compared to others in the wider museums sector?

Yes, of course they are. Some have more of a challenge than others. Commercial revenues depend largely on visitor numbers and the institution’s buildings and surroundings, which might for example make it an attractive wedding or party venue.

Space is always a challenge because you need the space to generate the revenues. To that extent the Ashmolean is in a strong position – it has huge visitor numbers, wonderful spaces, galleries and a rooftop restaurant. Even with those assets, the challenge is always there. We cannot rely on any single source of funding, and commercial revenue always has to be an important slice of one’s revenue cake. For the Ashmolean it definitely is. We are relatively fortunate however, there are other university museums where the challenge is greater, but this does not prevent us from always looking at ways to develop our commercial opportunities further.

How do you continue to keep such a breadth of collections, like that which exists at the Ashmolean, interesting and appealing to current and future visitors?

I think we couldn’t fail to keep this collection interesting. One of the great joys of the Ashmolean is the breadth and exceptional depth of its collections. They allow us to explore all the great themes of human existence and open doors in so many different directions. The excitement of museums is in what they offer, the immediacy of connection to the past, to other individuals, to other concerns. There is no better way of opening a door onto the history of humanity than through museums and their collections.

One area we are developing and considering is in the contemporary arena. We are a universal, as well as a university, museum and so we do need to address modern and contemporary art better and more consistently and seriously than we perhaps have done. To develop this we have just appointed a modern and contemporary curator. This will allow us to shift our thinking about how we address this area, both in terms of our collections and our programming.


Are there other countries/institutions where museums exist within in an HE setting that you admire, and why?

Yes, there are obviously significant university museums in the US and Europe and it is unquestionably interesting and important to learn from them. The new Harvard Art Museum has a wonderful new and carefully considered building. It has very real strengths in the way it has thought about servicing the work it does with students – beautiful study rooms with ready access to stored collections, galleries devoted to particular taught courses and so on. Similarly, the Yale University Art Museum has developed very interesting ways in which it uses and trains its students to deliver its education programme. Conversely Harvard (and to a lesser extent Yale) very much faces the University rather than the public and I do think something is lost in not actively seeking and developing a broad and wide public. This is around their founding purpose, funding, mindset and more obviously, their geography.

Every university museum is different and the challenges they face are often around their founding purpose. Some have grown specifically from research collections, some have grown from teaching collections, still more from donations of collections with the broad aim of expanding the horizons of their students. They all have slightly different stories and this is often reflected in their individual approaches and priorities today.

The Ashmolean is the oldest surviving purpose-built public museum. Welcoming the public was one of our founding principles. We have obligations to the university of course, but our greatest value to the university is that we are, and will remain, a great public museum.


In October 2014 Dr Alexander Sturgis became the Director of the Ashmolean Museum having had a distinguished career as the Director of the Holburne Museum, Bath, since 2005. Whilst at the Holburne Dr Sturgis oversaw a renovation of the Museum that included a £13 million extension. Prior to becoming the Director of the Holburne Museum Dr Sturgis worked at the National Gallery, London, for 15 years, in various posts including Exhibitions and Programmes Curator from 1999–2005.

Dr Sturgis is an alumnus of University College, Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.





Stephan Chambers talks about the founding principles of the Marshall Institute at LSE, why there is a need for greater channelling of private resources and philanthropic activity to deliver more public benefits, and the role of universities in taking this forward. 

Could you please tell us more about the origins of the Marshall Institute and why and how it began at LSE?

Our two founders, Paul Marshall and Tom Hughes-Hallett, really developed the idea about three years ago. Each had a slightly different perspective on the same set of questions. Both were interested in how we improve the state of the world using private resources – that is time, ideas and money, and private-sector techniques.

Paul was particularly interested in the role of entrepreneurs and what might be classed as ‘venture based’ philanthropic activity and Tom was particularly interested in the role of philanthropy - how foundations, individuals and charities make a difference in the world. Both were struck by how little understood this area is and how peripheral it is to the mainstream research agendas at major universities.

The questioning and considerations which led to the establishment of the Marshall Institute included: ‘What would happen if we thought a bit harder about market failures and state failures? What would happen if we tilted the way we teach really clever people to engage with the world? How would this benefit society if we tilted this teaching and thinking more in favour of creating, measuring and sustaining social purpose as well as financial return?’

They approached LSE, as they considered it to be the world’s best social science institution, with these thoughts and founding questions. The LSE responded with ‘Yes, great! We like that.’ The result was the Marshall Institute.


As the inaugural Director can you outline some of your goals, aims and hopes that you have within this role, and more widely for the Institute?

I want the Institute to be the leading group in the world thinking about, teaching about and convening around private investments for public benefit. By private I mean non-state funded, and by public benefit I mean measurable, sustainable return for the world in the form of equity, justice, eradication of poverty, disease, and ultimately improvement in the quality of life for all.

It is an extraordinary privilege to be given a platform by an institution like the LSE and a donor like Paul Marshall to establish this Institute. Being able to bring together groups of very clever people to think really hard about some of the world’s toughest problems and to help advance some of these questions and, eventually, the answers, is a challenge I am delighted to take on.

It is a privilege given to very few people, and this is the second time in my life that I have attempted to do something a bit like this. Most people don’t even get one run at it, so I consider myself to be enormously fortunate to do work at the LSE that builds on work which I carried out at Oxford over the last 20 years.


Can you outline why you believe that philanthropy and social entrepreneurship are such important areas of focus for academic study. Can you provide examples of how the Institute’s work could impact in the UK and beyond?

We live in a world where the state and markets are both manifestly failing. The two big bets for the developed world have proved themselves inadequate to many of the challenges of globalisation and global justice.

The Institute’s core theme ‘private action for public benefit’ reflects the thinking that markets are about capital, risk and innovation for private benefit, and states are about mobilising public resources for public benefit. The question of what private resources for public benefit would look like becomes extremely interesting if you start from the premise that there is market failure and state failure and we need to think differently about how we address this.

Quite honestly, there has to be some way for rejigging the relationship between those two things. We believe this can be done by taking the very best of market thinking, incentives, competition and innovation, and harnessing them to some of the biggest questions we need to answer.

I think if you try to define philanthropy and social entrepreneurship as the allocation of people, ideas and capital at risk and how we can work through that to solve social problems then we have a fairly crucial set of questions that we are asking.

Do you believe that the connection between business and commerce and the Higher Education sector is intrinsic? Have they become more important to each other in recent history, and if so, do you believe this will continue?

I think there are two or three areas to highlight here. One is that universities are attempting to diversify their funding resources so they are more interested in the commercialisation of work that goes on internally within their institutions.

However, the real answer to this question is that the most important threats we currently face are incredibly complicated. They either involve very, very complex levels of technology; engineering; or health innovations; or they are so over-determined as to be not understandable or solvable by single agencies. This does mean that universities are now most definitely places where smart people thinking, researching and teaching in and between disciplines on the hardest topics have become indispensable to acting in the world.

It is impossible to imagine modern financial services without modern finance theory. It is impossible to imagine modern manufacturing without modern engineering. It is impossible to understand modern medicine without the research base which sits underneath it. Ultimately, universities have moved from being places where research is relatively discrete to places where research matters for the state of the world and that has happened very fast.
The Institute has three specific areas of focus – Research, Teaching and Convening. Can you explain a bit about why each of these is important? Is one more important than the others?

One is not more important than the others. You can’t teach without an underlying base of research, as you would not be honouring your students teaching them something which is baseless. You can’t do meaningful research about the world without being in the world.

So, our position is very straightforward. There is a necessary and very virtuous circle between research where people investigate the causes of things, practice or convening together where the causes of things are manifest, and teaching where the results of that interaction between the world and research get crystallised into evidence.

Can you tell us more about the key programmes that have been launched by the Institute, including what and why they are focusing on certain areas?

We believe very strongly that the second half of the 20th century was dominated by the need to produce people who could run large complex international organisations with complicated balance sheets. We believe that the needs of the 21st century are radically different.

We need to produce generations of people who are comfortable with globalisation, across cultures with technology and, in particular, with the question of social return on investment as well as financial return on investment. We are committed to building a graduate programme that will educate the leaders of the future addressing those complex sets of questions. 
We are trying to create a revolution in higher education to deliver this. Very specifically we will launch an executive masters programme in autumn 2018 which is aimed at inspiring and educating mid-career professionals to understand and demonstrate leadership roles in those circumstances.


What other countries or institutions are we able to learn more from in the field of social philanthropy and entrepreneurship?

There are distinguished institutions looking at the area of social entrepreneurship and thinking hard about philanthropy. I would make special mention of the work done at Stanford in philanthropy or the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford as inspiring examples of people thinking hard about these questions already.

We have spent too long operating in a system which believes the ‘centre’ knows all the answers, and the customer or the beneficiary does not. Wisdom in these things is normally distributed and certainly doesn’t exist only at the centre.

In society we are seemingly committed to a kind of institutional modesty that says that the answer is almost always better internalised by the people who are dealing with the problem than the people who sit away from the problem.

Anyone or anything that claims to be the only source of the answers can be guaranteed not to have the answers. Collaboration, communication and exploring of solutions through partnership is our founding philosophy.


Are there sectors or particular industries which you and the Institute are looking to for inspiration and opportunities to collaborate with?

It remains to be seen whether we have vertical concentrations, for example in professional services, public health or education. However, it is clearly the case that we will have expertise in generic positions.

We are very interested in risk capital for public benefit and the world of social investment. We are very interested in the shape, direction, practice and governance of large organised philanthropic capital. We are focused on the governance question of public benefit returns and the reporting around double and triple bottom lines. We are also very interested in the philosophical and political economic questions about whether hybrid structures (mutual being a good example) that sit somewhere between a straight market and state solutions work better.

While we are less interested across verticals there may be some sectors with exceptions, for example around data and the use of private data for public benefit.

And finally, you have talked about the changing motivations of executives in leadership positions. Do you think there is a greater influence in this area around the question and meaning of leadership and its relationship with social purpose?

If I had been talking to you 20 years ago, money, status and good opinion of one’s peers would have been the most likely driving factors in the desire and success of leadership. However, today I would predict that close to 100 % of those at senior level would include priorities such as the state of the world, the need for meaning in their own private lives, and something more closely aligned to a philosophical justification for their activities.

What is happening at the Marshall Institute is just one indication that these questions of purpose, justice, altruism, common humanity and threat are now profoundly embedded in most people’s thinking.


Stephan Chambers is the inaugural director of the Marshall Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was previously Chair of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, a co-founder of the Skoll World Forum, Director of International Strategy at Saїd Business School, and Senior Research Fellow at Lincoln College Oxford. He sits on the advisory board of Princeton University Press and is a director of the Britdoc Foundation, the Dartington Trust, the University of the People, and the Dragon School. He writes a regular column on entrepreneurship for the Financial Times. In 2014 he was special advisor to Larry Brilliant and Jeff Skoll at the Skoll Global Threats Fund in California.

He teaches entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, venture capital, and entrepreneurial finance. From 2000 to 2014 he directed Oxford’s MBA, overseeing its rise in international influence and rankings. In addition he was the founding director of Oxford’s Executive MBA and helped to found Oxford’s Man Institute for Quantitative Finance. He also established the University’s advisory board for the National Audit Office and currently serves as a reviewer of NAO reports. He chaired the inaugural ‘Shaping Davos’ panel (on public-private partnerships) at the World Economic Forum in January 2015 and initiated the Global Shapers Oxford collaboration.

Stephan served as Chairman and as an independent director of IWA Publishing from November 2006 to September 2013. From 1985 to 2000 he worked at Blackwell Publishing as, variously, the firm’s philosophy editor, humanities and social sciences publisher, and editorial director. He served on the firm’s board until 2000 and was chief executive of its US operation from 1992 to 1995.



Christine Ryan who, until April 2017, was the Chief Inspector and CEO of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), the largest independent inspectorate in the UK and the agency responsible for the inspection of more than 1250 independent primary and secondary schools, educating more than half a million children. We talk to Christine in depth about her time at the ISI and how she believes the sector has, will and must evolve.

Is the UK independent schools’ sector becoming too focused on regulation and compliance and too little on learning and developing young people?
I don’t believe that schools are becoming too focused on regulation and compliance. What has been happening in the past decade or so, is a more conscious engagement with the subject, but this has most definitely not replaced or reduced a focus on teaching and the development of young people.

For some schools within the independent sector, and for that matter some maintained or state schools, a greater focus on regulation and compliance meant a more considerable shift in thinking and approach than for others.

These days it is very much part of the school fabric with all processes and protocols in place. It really is now one cog (an important one of course) within the larger school machine. For the majority of schools, regulation has become part of the general housekeeping and is one element of the approach towards the overall goal of educating and developing children.

Nobody would deny that safeguarding pupils and teachers is paramount. Which areas of compliance do you believe are the most effective to achieve a safe learning environment?
This is a much broader topic than it might first appear. Traditional safeguarding, as we might have called it, has developed so much, particularly in the world of increased digital access. The more ‘typical’ bullying and social exclusion now exists alongside issues such as sexting or cyber bullying, for example.

With any type of safeguarding it really does depend on the school’s starting point and what the overall approach is from each organisation. I do believe, as a fundamental starting point, that regulation is the critical first step in raising awareness to the most effective ways of safeguarding pupils.

The most successful examples are where it is applied on a risk-assessed basis. Defining a fixed set of guidelines, which is great for getting people and organisations up to a minimum level, doesn’t take into account the complexity of certain schools and so makes the flexible risk-based approach even more important.

Safeguarding checks on staff and volunteers are an absolute must, alongside a suite of policies and processes in each school. However, it is how this regulation is applied that can be key. There is not really a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Each school is different. What might work best in a day school in an urban area, may be less effective in a boarding school in a remote location.

I would however stress, that too heavy a reliance on regulation alone can create too much of a reassurance or illusion that nothing can go wrong. Compliance with a regulation is only as good as the moment it is looked at. What we need to remember is that we are all dealing with human beings, who cannot be completely regulated or guaranteed compliant all of the time.

The best protection of all is an active approach to compliance issues. Assessing risk according to context and circumstance and maintaining high levels of awareness from staff, pupils and parents is the optimum way to ensure safeguarding.


Will there be greater responsibility placed on senior leadership in the future to ensure that governance is appropriately managed and delivered within schools?
I think so. I think it has always been there but not always been front and centre, but the world has moved on. People do expect compliance with law and regulation in all walks of life.

It is, as ever, with the leaders where the buck stops. Implementation of good governance arrangements is happening right across the sector. School leaders are doing what is required of them, not just in policy, but in practice. They absolutely recognise the importance of good governance within their schools and most have put the right systems and processes in place to ensure this and keep a keen oversight in this area.

Do we need to be thinking more creatively about the candidate pool for governors, trustees or senior leadership as the reality of greater challenges and expectations for the role increases?
I definitely believe we need to think more creatively. I know from my interaction with governors over the years that they were much less aware of what was required of them within regulation and compliance. It might not always have been so obvious the level of responsibility and authority that they held. This was an historical issue and a reflection of the fact that the pivotal role of governance hasn’t always been as prominent as it is now.

Traditionally the perceived view was that governors were primarily guardians of finances and resources. The commitment to education, regulation and compliance was often seen as the responsibility of the staff in the school. This was even the view despite the fact that most regulation names trustees and governors as proprietors, and therefore responsible, for the schools.

However, this outlook is shifting considerably. There is much greater awareness of the role than there was in the past. There is also more responsibility in terms of regulation as this area has increased over the years.

Schools are definitely thinking more about those being approached for governor roles. They are looking for a range of expertise, modern skills and an understanding of commercial business practice in many cases. However, what they also need are those who can commit time to the role. New demands on governors can create challenges for the candidate pool. This is an issue which can be magnified even more for schools based in remote or challenged areas where the number of candidates may be small.

I believe that quite simply the governor role is not sold positively enough. It brings huge benefits to individuals as well as schools; the chance to develop children and young people, enhance a local community or area, not to mention the business skills being learned through committee or board experience. Some companies across the UK are starting to directly encourage staff to get involved as governors or trustees in schools as they see the benefits it brings to their businesses. This is also encouraging a greater mix of younger and older representation on governing bodies which I believe works very well.


What will the new inspection framework mean for the independent sector? How will this benefit pupils, parents and teaching staff? What challenges does it face?
For me, the new framework represents an essential shift. It is the product of extensive consultation, bringing objective inspection squarely into the 21st century.

Since 2000 there has not been a considerable review of the system, and in that time the world has changed radically, and particularly for schools, young people and their parents. With easy access to data and constant communication on an unprecedented scale, it was absolutely necessary to review inspection. We have also gone from having a handful of regulations to over 400 areas of compliance, shifting the balance of inspection activity, so inspections these days are very different from what they were.

Schools in general, but particularly in the independent sector, have a much more mature and sophisticated approach to compliance than they had when routine inspection was first introduced. It was therefore important with the framework that we didn’t just tinker around the edges and paid heed to this change.

We have refocused our thinking to look more squarely at the outcomes for the child. Fundamentally that is what we are all interested in. We have not hugely changed our techniques, but the focus is much more on the impact of the various aspects of school life on the outcomes for their pupils. Providing the evidence to help schools to actively address development areas and build on strengths.

There was a need to highlight that compliance was now part of the housekeeping. Parents, teachers and governing bodies need to be confident and comfortable that housekeeping is being taken care of. It needs to be as simple as ‘yes, you comply’ or ‘no, you don’t’. There isn’t a need for a quality scale for this, it needs to be upfront and explicit. Either you have a licence to operate or you do not.

Beyond the compliance element, there is a much greater focus on areas of school life and how schools are delivering in these areas. This is what parents concentrate on more strongly. The hard data of performance and achievement as well as the softer data on personal development demonstrates how pupils are getting a broad and balanced education.

Educational quality is the key element of the framework. Remembering that the fundamentals of what goes on in schools has not changed so much, it is more about how we evaluate the different aspects of what schools do. We have taken a step back to look at how each of the aspects contributes to the overall outcomes for the pupils.

Within educational quality there are two key areas – achievement and personal development. Achievement is measured in exam and test results; music, sport, and other skills for example. Personal development is much more about how individuals are being educated to make them good members of society, building confidence, able and equipped to progress in life to their areas of interest, and maximise their potential in wider society, making a positive and productive impact to enhance the quality of their lives.

One of the keys to success in the independent sector is that its institutions do not necessarily follow the same methods and structures which are applied in the maintained sector. They are able to have the freedom to teach in the way that works specifically for their students.

We believe that this new framework will recognise this individuality and provide a different, characteristic and tangible picture of each school.

Are secondary and higher education environments working as well together as they could be to support young people as they transition through? Should this be made a priority under the Higher Education and Research bill?
I do think realistically this is less of an issue in the independent sector. However, it does require broader thinking about what the Higher Education sector looks like today. Many pupils, more so even than parents and sometimes teachers, have a greater awareness of alternatives open to them, which might make them think twice about going straight to university from school.

The business sector is spending more money on interacting with 18 year olds than at any point in recent history. The desire for graduates is not the sole focus any more.

Pupils are leading the way here. They are very savvy. Schools and the Higher Education sector need to be much more alive to this issue. It does present great opportunities across many sectors, but also challenges the thinking of secondary and higher education institutions to consider what good really looks like and what young people’s expectations of quality are.

Should there be greater interaction between the Independent and State school networks in the UK? If yes, what in your view are the best ways to do this?
In all honesty, I am not sure that anybody really knows what the level of interaction actually is. There is not enough reliable evidence or analysis to know whether there is enough, or whatever enough might be. In many areas schools work together as part of the wider community (independent and maintained schools together). Many voluntary initiatives are underway, with clear signs of benefits to those involved, but as in all communities and organisations, some are more isolationist and less willing to participate together than others.

It is an area that requires careful thought, and a need to tread lightly. It absolutely should not be done without real and proper evidence that regulated intervention is needed and a clear outline of what it wants to achieve.

Are there other countries whose education systems you admire, and why? Should we be borrowing ideas from others, or do we offer a preferable model in how we deliver education?
I have looked at many education systems not just over time, but across the globe. I would say we should always be alert to ideas, no matter where they are coming from. I have had cause to rethink things at times based on what I have seen going on in other countries.

However, what is very clear to me is that you have to be extremely mindful about cultural context, and that includes of course historical background for how and where each country is in its development and expectations of universal education. I have seen some big errors where certain countries have adopted external models that have been seen to work successfully without sufficient consideration of the different environment. It can lead to a lot of wasted time and effort. My thoughts are that we should always look outside of our own boundaries, be mindful of cultural context, do a clear, evidence-based evaluation and be sure about the criticalities of success.

What are the two biggest challenges for the schools’ sector as it moves forward in the next 5-10 years? What are the two biggest opportunities or positive changes set to take place in the next 5-10 years?
To me the challenges and opportunities are not separate; they are two sides of the same coin. What really stands out for me is technological change. This will mean increased globalisation of the currency of education, knowledge in other words. Whilst this is not new, it is the scale of what is available and the ability to access it quickly that is most significant.

Knowledge, whether we like it or not, is now commoditised on the internet. That is the basic currency of schools and educational establishments. We are already seeing the introduction of virtual schools, and I am in the process of designing an inspection model for this type of organisation. That is a phenomenon which is minute at the moment, but is likely to become much more of a feature. Even if not in the UK yet, certainly in other countries.

Technological change and the multi-faceted way it will impact on schools and on education policy brings huge opportunities, but it also brings real challenges. Obvious ones are data protection and preserving intellectual property. The policy and practice of the best schools will be available and visible to anyone who wants it. This will mean that the boundaries between what distinguishes the best schools in UK, for example, will become increasingly blurred as time goes on. Therefore, the pressure on educational policy and the speed at which it changes is going to be something that needs careful thought by our own government and others. The speed of development requires mechanisms of government and educational institutions to keep up.

Governments will need to ensure decision making processes are able to cope with that. Approaches that assume certain types of structures or organisational arrangements, need to be reviewed. In a rapidly changing world, policy making can appear too slow and relate to some elements that may just not apply going forwards.

Virtual reality, for example, is already used effectively in specialist professional training and is going to become a much more obvious feature in everyday life. That presents its own learning challenges and opportunities that the best schools are going to want to embrace.

We will also need to respond to a growing pressure for the role of education and schools in stimulating and supporting social mobility. This is not just a UK phenomenon, but the UK will feel it internally from its own pressures, and externally from the globalisation of education.

By social mobility I am not just talking about the ‘recognised groups’ but also whichever section of the population is disenfranchised from the opportunities presented by education. It can occur for lots of reasons – it can be social; lack of infrastructure; lack of access to good quality education; or for cultural reasons. That whole issue, because of increased internet communication is increasingly difficult both to hide and to control. Pressure will build exponentially in my view. If we are being honest, there has been very little significant improvement in educational outcomes and life opportunities for certain parts of our own population in more than 40 years.

So, I think there will be, quite rightly, building pressure to tackle this effectively and bring about change. Education is only one part of the solution – it can’t take responsibility for the whole issue but it is an important and integral part of improving life chances for those with the least promising start.


As you come to the end of 11 years as Chief Inspector with the ISI, what do you believe are the biggest changes that have taken place in the schools’ sector, and more specifically in the role of the inspectorate during your tenure?
Well, I certainly think one of the overriding shifts has been in the awareness of schools of the whole safeguarding agenda and their part and responsibility within this. This has been a national wake up and was very, very apparent to the ISI.

Coupled with that was the need for change in the way schools are governed. This is not complete yet by any measure in the maintained or independent sectors, but governance is now being increasingly recognised as an active process. Leadership is not just about one person, there is a corporate responsibility for delivery in schools. They are not just for education in a narrow academic sense, but also for the welfare and care of children in their charge. Schools are much more alert to this than a decade ago.

Sitting alongside that is the role of the inspectorate. Both Ofsted and ISI have seen our roles and expectations morph considerably in that time. We are not just agents for evaluating and stimulating through challenge on educational improvement, but also very much involved in the care and welfare agenda.

ISI has developed a stronger relationship with the Department for Education, government ministers and regulators and there is a clearer recognition of the contribution to the overall intelligence and evaluation of the independent sector and the contributions it can make across the broad educational agenda. Independent education is still an integral part of Education UK and this is more widely acknowledged today.

Importantly the exchange of ideas between the maintained and independent sector has strengthened quite significantly over the past decade; including in the way teachers move freely between both sectors, which can only be good thing.

My overriding experience in all that time is that it is very rare to find people working in schools whose intention is anything but the best interests of the children. That is why people go into this line of work. Even when things go wrong it is usually not for want of trying. Intentions are good, by and large. Schools are extremely responsive to the opportunity to learn and improve.


What are the key things that you will take away from this role?
Ultimately, I have seen that systemic change is much harder for governments to orchestrate than it might appear from the outside – I have definitely learned that! You need courage to challenge the orthodox view and there are so many genuine stakeholders or interests, often competing with one another, that getting real and meaningful change is not as easy as it might appear. That is why being prepared to think imaginatively and creatively, and with a sense of urgency, is so important.

What I believe passionately is that evidence-based and informed decision making, as opposed to opinion-based decision making is critical. As a scientist I have very much appreciated my own training in that.


Christine Ryan, until April 2017, was the Chief Inspector and CEO of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), the largest independent inspectorate in the UK and the agency responsible for the inspection of more than 1250 independent primary and secondary schools, educating more than half a million children. ISI also inspects over 450 private further education colleges and English language schools on behalf of the Home Office and provides inspection and support services in many countries worldwide, including those seeking approval under the Department for Education scheme for British Schools Overseas.

A scientist, Christine is an accomplished teacher, inspector and inspector trainer both in the maintained and independent sectors. She has extensive experience with a range of education, commercial and media organisations in the UK and overseas. An experienced leader at board level, with a particular focus on strategy and policy, Christine is Chair of the national education charity TalentEd and is a Board Member for Ofqual, the government regulator for qualifications and examinations in England. She contributes to a number of scientific and educational publications, and has worked as science and education adviser for a variety of successful television series, including the winner of the Japan Prize for Educational Excellence.

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is a regular insights update from Saxton Bampfylde. We aim to share interesting thoughts and perspectives on topics and issues that are relevant and current across sectors.

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