MacKay Hannah

One Public Sector Scotland 2017: Innovating for Excellence


Sarah Davidson

Director General - Communities, Scottish Government

Sarah Davidson was appointed Director General Communities in May 2014.

Sarah joined the Scottish Office in 1995 and worked in diverse policy and Ministerial support roles prior to devolution in 1999. She was subsequently seconded to work on the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and developed the new legislative and Committee processes before acting as the first Clerk to the Finance and Public Audit Committees. In 2001, Sarah was appointed as Director of the Holyrood Building Project, responsible for delivering the final stages of the new Parliament Building and for managing the relationship between the client and the design and construction teams. In 2005, she returned to the Scottish Executive to lead the implementation of the ban on Smoking in Public Places and then headed the Cabinet Secretariat from 2006-2008. This period covered the final year of the Labour/Lib Dem coalition administration and the first year of the minority SNP Government.

On promotion to Director, Sarah took up post, first as the Scottish Government’s Director of Communications and Marketing and then as Director for Local Government and Communities. Following a six month period as acting Director of HR and OD, she was promoted to DG in May 2014. As DG Communities, Sarah is responsible for housing, social security and regeneration; local government, public service reform, equalities, third sector and human rights; digital transformation, data and Government IT/Digital services. She also leads across Government on tackling inequalities, on place-based interventions and policies and on Open Government and participation. She chairs the People Board which is responsible for development and implementation of the Scottish Government’s People Strategy and is a member of the Government’s Infrastructure Investment and Improvement Boards.

Alison McLaughlin

Regional Director, Sopra Steria

Alison is the Regional Director for Scotland and Northern Ireland at Sopra Steria.   Having been with the company since its days as Newell & Budge, Alison has been key to the company’s sustained growth in Scotland – particularly in Public Sector.  

Alison is passionate about the positive impact of technology - it's potential to enable doing new things, doing things better and doing things more efficiently, and has over 20 years’ experience of public sector services across Central Government, Local Government, Health and Third Sector.

Alison also sits on the Digital Participation programme board for Scotland.

Professor James Mitchell

Co-Director - Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh

Completed undergraduate degree at Aberdeen University and doctoral thesis at Nuffield College, Oxford University.  Holds the Chair in Public Policy having previously held Chair in Public Policy in the University of Sheffield (1998-2000) and Chair in Politics in the University of Strathclyde (2000-2013).  Joined the School in April 2013. Interests primarily in territorial politics, public policy and government, political behaviour:

  • multi-level governance and the territorial dimensions of public policy;
  • regionalism and nationalism;
  • and political behaviour with special reference to sub-state levels of government.

Currently working on publications drawn from studies of Scottish independence referendum, Scottish elections, surge in SNP and Green Party membership and public service reform with focus on prevention in public policy and reform of local governance.

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Graeme Roy

Director, Fraser of Allander Institute, Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde

Professor Graeme Roy is Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute.

During 2015 and 2016, Graeme was head of the First Minister's Policy Unit a new team in the Scottish civil service established to support policy delivery within the Scottish Government. Graeme was a key advisor during the negotiations on the Fiscal Framework underpinning the Scotland Act (2016).

Between 2011 and 2014 he was a Senior Economic Adviser in the Government Economic Service and Head of the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser in the Scottish Government. During this time Graeme was responsible for a team of over 50 economists and statisticians providing economic analysis across a diverse range of areas including the global, national & regional/city economies, the public finances, enterprise & innovation, energy & climate change and the development of government economic strategies.

Graeme is a past ESRC Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Fraser of Allander and lecturer in Economics at the University of Strathclyde. He holds a PhD in fiscal policy and devolution from the University of Glasgow as well as economics degrees from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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Lindsay Linton

Managing Director, Impact Generation

Lindsay has worked in Scotland for over 20 years in social change. She has led Impact Generation, a specialist social impact and behaviour change consultancy, for nearly 7-years and during that time, she has acted as Chair of the Scottish Government Survivor Stakeholder Consultation Group on behalf of Scottish Government’s Vulnerable Adult, Support and Change Department, in support of the Public Consultation on the Victims and Witnesses Parliamentary Bill and now holds the position of Chair of one of Edinburgh’s largest and most progressive young people’s charities, delivering social and personal development in one of Scotland’s top 5% area of multiple social deprivation.

Although Lindsay is an accredited trainer and associate of the National Centre for Behavioural Change in London, Lindsay started her career in research as parliamentary researcher to Rt. Hon Sir Paddy Ashdown MP working in the House of Commons. At 31 Lindsay was co-opted onto the Board of one of Scotland’s largest consultancies supporting the Scottish Government’s social change programmes. Now Lindsay and her team specialise in understanding public, commercial and charitable client requirements to deliver meaningful social change evaluations and develop behaviour change services via practice training and consultancy.

Sam Cassels

Associate Director, Scottish Futures Trust

Sam leads the Smarter Places programme, which helps shape the way better local outcomes are delivered by a collaborative place based approach involving the more effective use of public sector assets. He is currently facilitating this across Scotland with local partners, whilst also working with national agencies to embed this approach at the heart of their own plans.

He has previously worked on significant projects involving the implementation of change for over 100 organisations internationally in both the public and private sectors, and has 25 years’ experience helping people make well informed decisions about fundamental strategic investments. He has qualifications in architecture and economics.

Dr Ken Macdonald

Head of ICO Regions, Information Commissioner's Office

Prior to joining the ICO in 2005, Ken spent some 25 years working in the field of economics and related sectors as a higher education lecturer, an economic development consultant and latterly as a local government officer where his role included the management of a consortium of 14 local authorities engaged in European funding programmes. He has also held a number of directorships within the third sector and is currently a board member of Deaf Action, a charity based in the east of Scotland. He has an MA with Honours in Economics from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen.

Ken was initially appointed to the ICO as Assistant Commissioner for Scotland and his remit was extended to include Northern Ireland in 2010. His main role is to represent the Commissioner in these areas and to promote information rights across all sectors by raising awareness of organisational responsibilities as well as influencing policy developments by working closely with public authorities. Following the retiral of the Assistant Commissioner (Wales) in July 2016, he assumed responsibility for the ICO office in Cardiff as Head of ICO Regions.

Ken is a co-chair of the ICO’s Equality & Diversity Committee and also a member of its Digital and ICT Steering Group.


Andrew Kerr

Chief Executive, City of Edinburgh Council

Andrew joined the City of Edinburgh Council as Chief Executive in July 2015. He began his local government career with Falkirk District Council. His 32-year public sector career has since included more than three years at Birmingham City Council and North Tyneside Council, where he was CEO from 2005.

He was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Cardiff Council in March 2012 where he delivered a £900m joint venture in waste management. He has led transformation programmes in his last three authorities delivering more than £100m worth of savings. Andrew’s most recent post with Cornwall Council saw him lead a programme to deliver £196m savings over four years. One of Andrew’s achievements in his previous role was successfully negotiating a Devolution Deal for Cornwall – the first rural authority in England to be offered one.

Andrew is also a former bronze medal-winning 400m sprinter, and represented Great Britain in international athletics.



David Amos

Head of Policy and Commissioning, Renfrewshire Council

I started my career as a graduate trainee in Lothian Regional Council and had the good luck to go on to hold a wide variety of senior policy, operational, project and consultancy roles in the public and private sector in Scotland, including at City of Edinburgh, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire Councils, Improvement Service, Scottish Government and Logica (now CGI). I passionately believe in the importance of local government and my experiences as a participant, change agent and close observer of approaches to local government reform over the last 25 years have given me a valuable insight into what helps and hinders effective change in the sector.

In my current role of Programme Director for the Islands Deal, I’m delighted to be supporting the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands Councils develop the case for a transformational growth deal investment from the UK and Scottish Governments. For three years prior to this I was on the Council Management Team at Renfrewshire Council as Head of Policy and Commissioning, with responsibility for Corporate and Community Planning, Policy Development, Service Commissioning, Procurement and Transformation. This was a hugely rewarding role working with dedicated colleagues to deliver the Administration’s priorities to improve lives and opportunities across Renfrewshires’ most disadvantaged communities. The opportunity to lead the Council’s Tackling Poverty Programme and support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Cultural 2021 further shaped my views about the power of shared ambition and partnerships to deliver change.

Steve McCreadie

CEO, The Lens

A finalist in the IoD Director of Year Awards 2015, Steve has a distinctive combination of operational management, business development and senior leadership experience. A Masters in Leadership complements his practical experience. Steve created and designed The Lens to engage third, public and private sector partners to develop ‘intrapeneurship’, new ideas and new opportunities.

Steve has created and led award winning services, and delivered many innovation and change projects. He has held several senior roles including Executive Director.

Steve is passionately committed to improving the lives of people in communities.


Kenny Crawford

Commercial Services Director, Registers of Scotland

Kenny joined Registers of Scotland in 2009. He has worked in various departments within Scottish Government both in London and Edinburgh, and has over 21 years’ experience of sales and marketing activity delivering products and services to both the private and public sectors.

Kenny heads up Registers of Scotland's Commercial Services directorate with responsibility for RoS's commercial strategy related to all information products and services. As well as developing new business opportunities related to the data and information held by RoS he is heavily involved in RoS digital strategy aimed at improving the overall customer experience.

Kenny has worked in a number of government departments and agencies including spells in Private Office in London. Prior to joining RoS he was Head of Sales and Marketing for the Travel Trade at Historic Scotland, Kenny has over 20 years' experience of developing business networks and generating sales within the public and private sector.

Graeme Harvey

Consulting Senior Manager, Sopra Steria

Graeme is a highly experienced Digital Transformation consultant currently working as a Senior Consultant for Sopra Steria in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as part of the regional government team.

He has a proven track record in creating digital transformation strategies and delivering them to market on a global scale. he has strong digital leadership skills and has built several digital and tech businesses and divisions over the last 17 years, focusing on a broad range of solutions and services for: applications, mobile games and capabilities for government organisations.

He enjoys working within fast moving, entrepreneurial start-up, corporate or government organisations that want to innovate, disrupt and have an Agile development approach. In addition, he has experience in raising significant venture capital funding to develop his Tech businesses further.

His key specialisms are: Digital Product Strategy, Digital Product Owner, Digital and Tech Consultancy, Team Building, Sales, Marketing, Contact with Asian VC's, Digital Start-Up Experience, Agency Experience, Corporate Experience, International Business Development, Conference Speaker, Mobile, Big Data, Data Virtualisation, SaaS Applications, Cloud, Media Entertainment, Extensive Network, Business Development, Scottish Government Digital Strategy, Data Management, Business Intelligence and AGILE working practices

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*A day worth 'sacrificing' the office for! * * An excellent networking opportunity with valuable and interesting insights into current thinking around public value.* *A worthwhile event for all public sector bodies!!* *I enjoyed the masterclass* *Expo 2013 was another splendid opportunity to network across the public sector, with colleagues who you might not have the opportunity to see on a daily basis, but who are delivering critical work and making a real difference to people's lives across Scotland. Another great line up of speakers also.*

Past Delegates,
Expo 2013

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