MacKay Hannah

Scotland's Housing: Achieving step change in supply and suitability in all sectors


Margaret Burgess MSP

Minister for Housing and Welfare, Scottish Government

Margaret Burgess was born and bred in Ayrshire and has lived in the Cunninghame South constituency for 40 years. She was previously employed as the manager of East Ayrshire Citizens Advice Bureau, she is also an elected board member of the national charity, Citizens Advice Scotland. Her personal interests include walking in the countryside and reading.

Margaret is a member of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee and the Welfare Reform Committee. She is also a member of the following Cross-Party Groups: Credit Unions, Diabetes, Housing, Volunteering and the Voluntary Sector.


Ewan Aitken

Chief Executive, Edinburgh Cyrenians

A former Convener of Education and Leader of Edinburgh City Council and CoSLA spokesperson on Education, Ewan also has 30 years experience working in the third sector. In 1995, whilst working as a parish minister in Edinburgh he founded the Ripple Project, a diverse community action organisation that is still going strong. 

Ewan is very committed to issues of social justice, especially challenging the stigmatisation of the disadvantaged. He believes that poverty is not simply a matter of financial instability but one of inner well-being; poverty grinds the soul and well as the body. Cyrenians' philosophy of walking with those who are struggling, and sticking with them when they stumble, is what first attracted him to the organisation. He believes that by the living out of our obligation to our neighbour and to the stranger, each of us will also find what we truly need to live well ourselves.

Ewan is a director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the Ripple Project and Eco-Congregation Scotland, and Chair of the National Prison Visitor Centre Steering Group, the Scottish Labour Party's Social Justice Sounding Board and the grants committee of BBC Children in Need Scotland. He's also an advisor to Circle and is a member of the CoSLA Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy. 

He joined Cyrenians in May 2014 after 6 years as head of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society department, which helps the Church engage in social, political and ethical issues. He's a member of the Iona Community and a season ticket holder for the Royal Lyceum Theatre. His extra curricular activity includes watching sport (especially rugby), and vegetarian cooking; but most of his leisure time is spent with his family.

@EwanAitken Cyrenians1968

Professor Duncan Maclennan

Professor of Strategic Urban Management and Finance, University of St Andrews

Duncan is an international expert on the development of cities, the renewal of neighbourhoods and the economics of housing. After a long career at the University of Glasgow, where he directed the Centre for Housing and Urban Research (1982-96), the ESRC Cities Programme (1996-99) and the Centre for Public Policy on Regions (2004-04), he worked in senior government and academic posts in both Australia and Canada. After moving to Canada in 2005 he held a joint appointment as Professor of Urban Economic Policy at the University of Ottawa and as Chief Economist at the Federal Department for Infrastructure.

Duncan has advised governments on housing policy in the UK, Poland, France, Sweden, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. He has also served as Principal Consultant to the OECD. In 1997 he was awarded a CBE in recognition of his contribution to housing and renewal policies in the UK and is also an honorary member of both the UK Royal Town Planning Institute and the Charted Institute of Housing. He has an extensive record of advising public policymakers (advising OECD on Urban Affairs from 1984 to 1996, the World Bank between 1980 and 2000 and the EU in the 1990s).

He was Director of the Scottish Cities Knowledge Centre and the Centre for Housing Research at the University of St Andrews. He has published more than a hundred academic articles and written/edited fourteen housing related books.


Michael Stoneham

Partner, Brodies

Michael Stoneham is head of energy & infrastructure finance at Brodies LLP, and has worked for over 30 years for funders, developers and the public sector on the financing of infrastructure, social and affordable housing, renewables, conventional power and oil & gas projects. Who's Who Legal 2012 identifies him as Scotland's leading project finance lawyer.

John Blackwood

Chief Executive, Scottish Association of Landlords

John has worked in the private rented sector for nearly 20 years and has extensive experience in advising both landlords and tenants on landlord/tenant relationships. Widely recognised as one of the foremost experts on all aspects of the Scottish private rented sector, he is constantly in demand to train landlords and agents all over the country. John is chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), managing director of the Gladstones group of letting agencies and chairman of Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS). John is regularly called upon to advise the Scottish Government, address local authority landlord forums and comment in the press on topical issues affecting letting.

Dr John Boyle

Director - Research and Strategy, Rettie & Co

John leads the Rettie & Co Research Team, providing a cutting edge research and consultancy function that informs clients on sales, lettings, investment and development opportunities and their viability, as well as providing analysis of where property markets are at and likely to be going. John has built up a wealth of experience from involvement at all stages of property projects, from small-scale developments through to major master-planned schemes of new towns and suburbs. John works for all major house builders in Scotland, the Scottish Government, many local authorities and investors. John sits on the Homes for Scotland’s Policy Advisory Group.


Nicola Woodward

Edinburgh Office Leader, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners

Nicola is Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners’ Edinburgh Office leader. She is a town planner with some 20 years experience and has worked at a senior management level in both the public and private sector. She has contributed to national policy and guidance as well as leading on the development of Local Plans and the evidence needed to support them. Nicola also has extensive experience of leading multi-disciplinary master planning teams for major regeneration and development projects in Scotland and all over the UK.

• Areas of expertise

Urban design / Community Engagement / Strategy & Appraisal / Climate Change & Sustainability / Expert Evidence / Business & Industry / Culture Media & Sport / Education / Housing / Tourism & Leisure / Town Centres & Retail

• Office location

Edinburgh / 0131 285 0670

• Email

Graeme Brown

Director, Shelter Scotland

Originally from Glasgow, Graeme took up the post of Director of Shelter Scotland in July 2008. Prior to this he was Director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns for Shelter UK. He was an independent consultant at the Home Office, the Rough Sleepers Unit at the Department of the Environment, the Social Exclusion Unit in the Cabinet Office and a number of NGOs. He is a Research Fellow of the Council of Europe and a graduate of the School of Community Studies in Edinburgh.

Katy Dickson

Policy Officer (Property and Business), Scottish Land & Estates

Katy Dickson is a policy officer at Scottish Land and Estates which is a membership organisation for rural land owners and businesses. Katy primarily focuses on property and business related policy work. Prior to working in policy Katy qualified as a chartered surveyor in Perth.

Kate Leer

Infrastructure Project Manager, Scottish Cities Alliance

Kate is SCA's Infrastructure Project Manager. Kate has over 17 years’ experience working in Economic Development and Infrastructure delivery in Scotland across Central Scotland and Tayside in both the public and private sector. She is a Chartered Surveyor with a strong track record of multi-stakeholder projects and partnership delivery and most recently lead the innovative Estates & Commercial Investment initiative across Perth to secure delivery of serviced land and property for economic growth in Scotland’s newest City Region.

Her role in SCA is to ensure collaboration across the seven Scottish cities and key stakeholders to attract investment, create business opportunities and deliver sustainable economic growth by the provision of housing and business land, digital and transport infrastructure.

Ewan Fraser

Chief Executive, Dunedin Canmore Group

Ewan qualified as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor in 1978 whilst working for Peter Graham & Partners in Edinburgh.

He joined Miller Construction in 1980 and subsequently joined Castle Rock Housing Association in 1983 as Development Manager.

Ewan held various positions within Castle Rock until 1998 when he was appointed as Director of the newly formed Dunedin Housing Association resulting from a merger of three smaller housing associations.

Dunedin quickly became established as one of Edinburgh's leading RSLs with many interesting projects completed for the homeless, for ethnic minorities and latterly the regeneration of former Council estates in South Edinburgh.

During this time, Ewan worked closely with the SFHA and City of Edinburgh Council, chairing the Edinburgh Housing Forum.

Ewan is also a member of the SFHA Board.

Following the merger of Dunedin and Canmore Housing Associations, Ewan was appointed Chief Executive of the newly formed Dunedin Canmore Group on 1 August 2005.

With 5000+ units in management, a strong staff structure and healthy development programme for Dunedin Canmore, Ewan is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Dr Robert Black CBE

Chair, Housing and Wellbeing Commission and Former Auditor General

Robert Black stepped down as Auditor General for Scotland at the end of June 2012, a post which he had held since 2000. Dr Black was the first Auditor General for Scotland, appointed by HM The Queen under the Scotland Act which brought into being the Scottish Parliament.

In this role he was the accountable officer, and therefore in effect chief executive, of Audit Scotland. and was responsible for the statutory audit and reporting on all expenditure devolved to the Scottish Parliament, with the exception of expenditure by local authorities, under the Scotland Act 1998.

Between 1995 and 2000, Dr Black was Controller of Audit with the Accounts Commission with responsibility for the external auditing and reporting on all expenditure by local authorities and NHS bodies in Scotland.

Prior to this, he was a local authority chief executive for 10 years, first with Stirling District Council (1985-90) and then with Tayside Regional Council (1990-1995).

His earlier career (1975-1985), was in policy planning and research with Strathclyde Regional Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Glasgow City Council.

Since his retirement from the post of Auditor General, Dr Black has been appointed to the British Library Board, joined the Court of Edinburgh University as a lay member and become a public interest member on the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Amanda Britain

Lead for Housing, Joint Improvement Team

Amanda has experience spanning research, public services, and organisational change in Scotland and is passionate about the importance a good secure home makes to people's health, wellbeing and life chances. She currently supports Scotland’s national Technology Enabled Care Programme, is an advisor with Life Changes Trust, and an associate with Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

In 2012, she joined the Board of the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland, and in 2016 was elected Chair. She is Vice Chair of Iriss, a charitable company that aims to build the capacity and capability of the social services workforce in Scotland and a member of Alzheimer Scotland’s Human Rights and Public Policy Committee.

She has a strong interest in consumer issues - and chaired the Peter Gibson Memorial Fund, which in September 2016 published Championing Consumers, a history of consumer advocacy in Scotland 1974-2014. 

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I spend a good proportion of my time talking about innovation, and it's essential there's innovation across all of our public services. One Public Sector Expo is a good illustration of the way we can bring together some thinking about the challenges for public services with practical solutions on display around the Expo.

John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth,
Speaking at One Public Sector Scotland Expo 2013

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