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Strategic counsel for Council Leaders and Chief Executives

Our Advisory Service is led by experienced local authority leader Sean Anstee CBE  and provides strategic support to councils.

We provide counsel to local authorities who may be facing a range of issues. These include councils which are struggling to manage organisational change, in need of strategic support to respond to governance issues, or facing a crisis that is impacting on their ability to effectively serve their communities.

Setting us apart from other consultancies is our in-depth insight of the political implications and the likely ramifications of delivering change. With this always in mind, we can review existing policies, assist in the crafting of new narratives, assess management and leadership capacity, liaise with your residents and businesses on new strategies, as well as counsel on attracting investment and entering into new partnerships.

Our tailored support for Local Authority Leaders, Chief Executives, and Senior Officers includes:

  • Review and audit of council functions
  • Strategic advice on corporate strategies and policies
  • Engagement strategy to enhance officer and member relations
  • Strategic Counsel to resolve governance issues

Cratus Associates

Our associates are experts in their own field and their world is local like ours. They come from wide range professional backgrounds, some from local government with distinguished careers and others who have spent a lifetime in Industry, engineering, public and private sector and  Journalism.  

All have a strong interest in their local communities and want to help with their experience to coach, advise and encourage elected members, senior council officers and our clients in developing their skills and understanding in how local public services are delivered.

Our associates work as part of a wider team on specific projects but they can also be engaged to support clients who need expert support on a more focused and one to one basis. 

Get in touch with our Advisory team leads

Find your associate

Bill Alexander

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Bill Alexander 1
  • Capital Projects Director at the Millennium Commission 1996-2007
  • Head of Programme and Project Management British Waterways (Now the Canal and Rivers Trust) 2007-2011
  • Capital Projects Director Eden Project 2011-2013

Ada Burns

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Ada Burns
  • Worked for 25 years in London in senior roles focussed on housing and regeneration
  • From 2005 until 2018 Chief Executive of north east unitary Darlington Borough Council
  • Led on transport infrastructure for Tees Valley
  • Governor and Resources Committee Chair for Teesside University
  • Vice Chair of the New Local Government Network (NLGN)
  • Director of a Community Arts Centre
  • non-executive Director on the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Stephen Dorrell

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Stephen Dorrell
  • Stephen was elected as the first Conservative Member of Parliament for Loughborough since 1945 in the General Election in May 1979
  • Secretary of State for Health from July 1995 – March 1997
  • Former Chair of the Health Select Committee
  • Chair of the NHS Confederation
  • Chairman of Laing Buisson Ltd, a healthcare market intelligence company, and of its sister company Public Policy Projects Ltd


Andy Holdsworth

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Andy Holdsworth 1
  • Communications and reputation management specialist
  • Clients have included local authorities, retail, entertainment, food, oil, gas, aviation, education and sovereign wealth funds
  • Part of the UK Government response to a variety of domestic issues and crises including Swine Flu, Severe Weather and Icelandic Volcano Eyjafjallajokull as well as being part of numerous Government exercises that tested response mechanisms

Aidan McGurran

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Aidan McGurran
  • 22 years at Mirror Group Newspapers – most recently as Managing Editor – responsible for the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and Mirror Online
  • Award winning reporter who covered the Soham Murders, Hurricane Katrina and exposed a major security lapse at Stansted Airport
  • Councillor on Basildon BC and chair of the Partnerships and External Affairs Committee

Dame Mary Ney, DBE

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Dame Mary Ney, DBE 1
  • Chief Executive of The Royal Borough of Greenwich: 2000 to 2014
  • Director of Social Services and Housing London Borough of Harrow, 1992 to 2000
  • Assistant Director of Social Services (Finance, Strategy and Policy),1980 to 1992, LB Southwark
  • Commissioner for Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, 2015 to 2019
  • Non-executive director on the ministerial board of DCLG

Julia Potts

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Julia Potts
  • Former leader of Waverley Borough Council, and also a former Town/Parish Councillor.
  • Former Board Member EM3LEP
  • School Governor
  • Trustee of a Local Community Charity
  • 30 years of industry insight working in FMCG sector for Procter and Gamble and Coty Inc

Steve Quartermain

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Steve Quartermain
  • Chief Planner at MHCLG for 12 years in the role
  • Worked with five Secretaries of State and 14 Housing Ministers
  • Local government experience via Epping Forest and Hambleton District Council in Yorkshire
  • Former President of the Planning Officers Society

Chris Roberts

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Chris Roberts 3
  • Former Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • Led one of London’s most ambitious regeneration agendas, including the Greenwich Peninsula, Royal Arsenal and Kidbrooke Village developments
  • Former  Chair of the Thames Gateway London Partnership
  • Former member of the Mayor’s London Housing Board and Local Enterprise Partnership

Paul Smith

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Paul Smith 1
  • Former Cabinet Member for Housing at Bristol City Council.
  • Previous roles include Executive Director of Placeshapers, Regional Manager at the National Housing Federation and Chief Executive of Housing Potential UK.
  • On the Housing Ombudsman Advisory Panel

Brendon Walsh

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Brendon Walsh 2
  • Executive Director for Planning, Property and Environment, London Borough of Hounslow
  • Director for Property and Regeneration, Ealing Council
  • Chair, Heathrow Strategic Planning Group

Clare Whelan, OBE

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Clare Whelan, OBE 1
  •  Lambeth councillor from 1990-2014
  • Former Mayor, Cabinet Member, Scrutiny Chair and Health & Wellbeing Board Member
  • Director of Public Policy Projects
  • Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London

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0203 929 0521