Barry has been one of the UK’s leading public sector managers for over two decades. He combines a core role as a chief executive in London local government with a portfolio of academic, international and commercial work.
He is an engaging public speaker and an accomplished author on public policy and public leadership. In 2011, his book “Re-imagining Government” was published to critical academic acclaim. He works to help public leaders discover creative solutions to complex public problems and management challenges. Barry is always looking to blend what is publicly and politically desirable, with what is both technically feasible and managerially deliverable.
Barry brings clarity of thinking, insight and humour to the serious business of building good government and reforming public services.
Barry has worked in London’s local government for almost 40 years; over half of which he has served as the Chief Executive of the London Borough of Lewisham. He is an expert in managerial economics, service-based innovation, social policy, organisational design, electoral systems and the urban dynamics of London.
Barry served a four year term (2002-6) as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of HM Revenue & Customs. He was an independent member of two capability reviews of HM Treasury (in 2001 and 2008). And for five years (until 2010) Barry served the UK Government as its National Efficiency Champion for English local government. In 2007 he produced a landmark report for Government on the potential transfer of public assets to community groups. His report paved the way for the sponsored revival of community enterprise across the UK.
Barry has been both the President and Chairman of SOLACE (the association for local government chief executives across the UK). He is also a member of the US-based International City Managers Association (ICMA) where he regularly contributes to conferences and publications on city management, community building and city management strategies. He serves on the ICMA research advisory board.
Barry has a PhD in social and political geography. He is on the Council of Goldsmiths, University of London; and is an Associate of the independent Institute for Government. He established his own strategic leadership consultancy (Publicola) in 2011.
His book, Re-imagining Government, was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2011.
It focusses on the inter-section between politics, public management and public policy. In particular it focusses on the leadership required to re-imagine the purposes of public services in the context of the austerity programmes adopted by many advanced democracies in the post 2008 era.
In the past two years Barry has lectured on city management and public policy in London, Cardiff, Wellington, Melbourne and Seattle. He has also completed management assignments for, among others, Belfast City Council, Cardiff City Council and Oxfordshire County Council.
As well as being an ardent student of politics, Barry is a fanatical follower of many sports. His passions include the individualism of track & field athletics, and the team work of basketball and rugby union.