Community Housing seminar | Guest speaker Dr Tim Williams

Tim is founder of consulting company Publicani and is currently working on projects in Australiaand the UK. He was previously  Managing Director in Navigant Consulting Public Services inLondonwhere he led for four years a team of 60 specialists , working on housing regeneration ,local government and education projects.

After arriving in Australia in December he was commissioned by Huawei Australia to research and write a major independent report called ‘Connecting Communities: the impact of broadband on communities in the UK and its implications for Australia’. This was launched at the National Press Club in Canberra on February 3.His speech there was broadcast in its entirety on the public service TV channel and his report was termed ‘impressive …eloquent’ by the Minister responsible for broadband. He has recently completed a second report for Huawei on broadband inNew Zealandand he will be briefing NZ ministers on it in late June.

Tim  is acknowledged as one of theUK’s leading housing and regeneration specialists and as an opinion former on public service reform. He has already been commissioned to research and write reports on housing and ‘liveability’ for Knox City Council, Melbourne and has become an advisor to the Integrated Design Commission of the South Australian Government on housing design and public land disposal.

In 2001 he became a founding associate of the UK Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. In 2003 he was named by his professional peers as Regeneration Personality of the year. He is recognised as both a thought leader and someone who gets buy-in and delivers solutions on the ground in highly complex environments .He has unique experience as both a senior policy advisor in government and as CEO of major projects under his belt and in particular is seen as someone who brings real world experience into public policy making. Tim made the Thames Gateway, now theUK’s biggest urban regeneration  programme, a national priority –and that underpinned the securing of the Olympics forEast Londonand indeed major infrastructure such as Crossrail.

Tim was special advisor to the Rt Hon David Miliband when the latter was a Cabinet Minister for the Department for Communities and Local Government. In the British system Ministers have only one policy advisor and Tim was it. Uniquely, he then advised all subsequent housing ministers including Yvette Cooper ,John Healy ,Margaret Beckett and Caroline Flint, three of whom remain in the UK Shadow Cabinet

He has also , as a consultant, advised the current London Mayor on the new design guide forLondon(and was part of Boris’s team that met Mayor Bloomberg’s housing and urbanism team inNew Yorkin late 2009). He also advised the Chief Executive of the £5 billion social housing funder, the Homes and Communities Agency, on the start-up process for the new organisation(which he invented and helped create) as well as the CEO of the regulator ,the Tenant Services Authority. Tim has also advised the CEOs of majorUKhousing associations such as HOME and Places for People (both with 50,000+ lettings).

Tim was also a specialist advisor on regeneration to the Welsh Assembly Government. He is the only person ever to have been a special advisor to  ministers in WAG and the UK Parliament

Tim has kept an active interest in education since he worked for the National Union of Teachers in the mid 80s.  Navigant is one of theUK’s leading providers of project management and funding skills around PFI schools and Building Schools for the Future and Tim ran some of those projects. Tim recently ws a member of an important expert group established by the education minister inWalesto review the entire structure of public education there.

Because of his experience he has on a number of occasions been asked to chair inquiries or commissions. So, in 2007 he chaired an inquiry for the Housing Corporation into the design of affordable housing in Thames Gateway which was published as ‘The Williams Report’. In 2008 he chaired a Ministerial Task and Finish group which led to the creation of the Centre for Regeneration Excellence Wales. He has previously reviewed the Communities First programme for the Welsh Assembly Government.

For the private sector he has undertaken major commissions and consultancy reports often around designing private public partnerships or other special purpose development vehicles.

His experience of major regeneration projects  is exceptional. He was Chief Executive of the Thames Gateway London Partnership between 1998 and 2003 when the Gateway became a national priority. In that role he helped secure the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and other essential pieces of Gateway transport kit. He played an important role in securing  government support for Crossrail along its current alignment. The Olympics was secured for eastLondonpartly because of the regeneration case he and TGLP made in that period. As a consultant Tim has advised various bodies on Olympic Legacy Strategy including the Host Boroughs, the Legacy Company, Lend Lease and the Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

For two years between 2003 and 2005 he was CEO of an Urban Regeneration Company inWest Cornwall, where he  managed to get buy-in to some ambitious development plans – and got his hands dirty building some of it.

Tim is a trusted regeneration expert in the private and public sectors in theUKand a thought leader in the industry.

He had a weekly column in Regeneration and Renewal for 10 years and recently at the request of R+R began  a well-visited blog (hosted by WordPress)now recommended by The Guardian. He has written in the professional press on high profile issues such as PFI ,government spending and  housing delivery and is a regular key note speaker at major conferences. He has written on housing inAustraliafor the Australasian Housing Institute and was their guest speaker at their national conference in 2006.For three years to 2001 he had a weekly column in The Scotsman and has been a regular broadcaster in English and Welsh. He wrote and presented two 50 minute television documentaries in Welsh and English for the BBC in the mid 1990s, based on his Ph.D.

He was born in Beddau, near Pontypridd,South Wales  and was educated at Bryncelynnog Comprehensive, Peterhouse Cambridge , University of Cardiff, Merton Oxford and the Inns of Court School of Law. He has a doctorate in history, is a qualified teacher and has been called to the Bar from the Inner Temple. He is married to Michelle,an Australian citizen, and they have one child, Elinor Megan. They live in Manly.


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