I am an experienced data and information professional who has been at the leading edge of data developments in higher education for over 25 years. My work has covered all aspects of the data and systems lifecycle and in recent years I have focussed on improving the HE sector’s relationship with data through improved governance and data capabilities.

I am a leader of teams, a writer on HE and data issues and a highly sought-after speaker for conferences and events in the UK, Europe and beyond. I am especially interested in the tensions that exist between the rigid structures of data and the dynamic complexities of the world that it attempts to represent. Data technology is evolving at an ever-increasing pace and I am adept at leading strategic change both within organisations and at a sector level.


University of Oxford, Said Business School, High Performance Leadership Programme – 2017

Open University, Masters in Business Administration (MBA) – 1997

Open University, Diploma in Professional Management – 1995

Open University, Certificate in Professional Management – 1993

National Computer Centre, Certificate in Systems Analysis and Design – 1991

BTEC, Higher National Certificate (HNC), Business and Finance – 1990

Writing and public speaking

I write on higher education data issues for the Wonkhe media group.

I co-authored a chapter on data management and governance capabilities for Higher Education Strategy and Planning (Routledge, 2017)

I am an experienced public speaker having delivered plenary and keynote addresses to conferences and events over many years. I have spoken at many of the major HE conferences in the UK as well HE conferences in Istanbul, Trondheim, Brussels, and Muscat. I have done some after-dinner speaking at venues including The Ivy in London.

Career history

Director of Data Policy and Governance, Higher Education Statistics Agency (2016 to present)

I lead on the delivery of HESA’s core data collection business, including data governance and specifications, data standards, stakeholder liaison and provider support. HESA collects twelve streams of data from around 260 HE providers across the UK and my work involves extensive engagement with government departments and the bodies that fund and regulate higher education across the four administrations of the UK. I also work closely with the range of professional groups and bodies that work across the sector.

I am the Convenor of the HE Data Landscape Steering Group which drives the standardisation and rationalisation of data flows across the HE data landscape and defines and promotes good practice in the processing, management and governance of data and information assets.

I work with colleagues at HESA and across the HE sector on the Data Futures programme which is creating a more efficient and effective approach to HE data collection and I am SRO for the Graduate Outcomes programme which is delivering a new approach to the collection of data about destinations of graduates from HE.

I am a member of the Department for Education Information Standards Board and the Health Education England Workforce Information Standards Board.

As a member of HESA’s senior management team I work closely with the HESA Board on all aspects of strategic planning and governance of the organisation.

Director, Higher Education Data & Information Improvement Programme (2013 to 2016)

The Higher Education Data & Information Improvement Programme (HEDIIP) was established following the call in the 2011 HE White Paper to redesign the HE information landscape to meet the needs of a wider group of users, reduce duplication in data collections and improve the timeliness and relevance of data and information about higher education.

As Director of the programme I secured funding from the four UK higher education funding bodies and put in place a full programme structure including a board of senior leaders from across the sector and a programme office based in Cheltenham.

HEDIIP worked with colleagues of all levels from HE providers and with a broad range of HE data collectors and processors. The programme negotiated and developed an architecture which will meet the goals set out in the White Paper.

Other HEDIIP projects included mapping and researching the existing data landscape, work to develop and implement elements of a common data language and a series of projects to understand and improve standards of data management and governance across the sector.

As a sector-level change programme, HEDIIP required me to navigate many aspects of sector-level politics and to win support and commitment from a large and diverse set of stakeholders.

Director of Standards and Development, Higher Education Statistics Agency (2010 to 2013)

This role focused on managing HESA data specifications and improving the HESA data management capability. The work involved extensive engagement with statutory customers and HE providers to ensure that HE policy and funding requirements were met through HESA records. I was also responsible for the team that managed metadata to support all aspects of HESA operations. This role also included working on broader issues around data standards across, and beyond, HE.

As a member of the agency’s senior management team I worked closely with the HESA Board on all aspects of strategic planning and governance of the organisation.

Between 2011 and 2013 I worked with the HE Regulatory Partnership Group (RPG) which brought together the Chief Executives of all the major sector bodies with a view to developing a new regulatory framework as envisaged in the 2011 HE White Paper. The work for RPG included leading the studies that recommended the establishment of HEDIIP.

Director of Quality and Development, Higher Education Statistics Agency (1998 to 2010)

In this role I had overall responsibility for software development, data processing and quality management throughout HESA. The software development team were responsible for the development and maintenance of HESA’s core data collection systems and in 2006 I led the team that developed the HEIDI on-line analysis system for HE institutions.

In this role I led on ISO9001 accreditation and was also a member of the Information Security Management Group which oversaw the ISO27001 information security system.

During this time I undertook occasional consultancy assignments for government departments and agencies in Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia and Oman. I also acted as consultant for a UN statistics project based in Jordan that worked with Universities from across the middle-east region.

Data Quality Manager, Higher Education Statistics Agency (1996 to 1998)

I developed the HESA Data Quality Assurance strategy and Data Quality Model. This led to the implementation of a multi-layered approach to data quality assurance in HESA data collections which remains the basis of HESA collections to this day. This role involved extensive engagement with HE institutions and HESA customers to raise the awareness and understanding of data quality concepts.

Data Manager, Higher Education Funding Council for England (1993 to 1996)

I ran the HEFCE-HESES data collection which included writing the operational documentation, providing support to HE intuitions and managing the data collection and checking processes. I was also involved in development of the early HEFCE funding models. In 1994 I took responsibility for leading on HEFCE liaison with HESA and I developed the first HESES/HESA reconciliation process.

Assistant Statistician, Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (1991 to 1992)

I was involved in running a number of PCFC data collections and providing analysis of data to support funding and policy work. PCFC merged with the Universities Funding Council to become HEFCE in April 1993.

Product Support Officer, Rolls-Royce plc (1987 to 1991)

I worked in Product Support on spares planning and provisioning for the RB199 (Tornado), Pegasus (Harrier) and Olympus 593 (Concorde). I produced monthly management information reports on the Military Engine Group’s spares business.