The Foundation has eight Special Advisers who are:

Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE

Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC (Hon)

Baroness Sandip Verma

The Rt. Hon Ruth Kelly

Professor David Rhind CBE

Peter Williams CBE

Sir Cyril Taylor GBE 

Professor the Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield FBA

Details can be found below.

Lord Patel Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE

Currently Lord Patel has a diverse range of appointments:

  • University Director of Strategic Partnerships and Senior Advisor to the Vice Chancellor at the University of East London tasked with creating strategic links between the university and a wide range of public and private sector organisations regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Chairman of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust overseeing a £380 million organisation employing over 5,500 staff.
  • Chairman of Bradford City Producer Board that oversees a new strategy for business and economic growth in the region of Bradford with an £8.3 billion economy.
  • Life Peer, House of Lords (Baron Patel of Bradford: June 2006-date)
  • Board Director: England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) (July 2015)
  • Vice President: Royal Society of Public Health London
  •  Vice President: Institute of Healthcare Management
  • Professorial Fellow: Royal Society of Public Health London
  • Professorial Fellow: The Institute of Mental Health Nottingham
  • Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Men’s Health
  • Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Prescribed Drug Dependence
  • Member of Advisory Board Institute for Dementia University of Salford
  • Special Advisor on Higher Education to The CASS Foundation (2012-date)
  • Chairman: Community Innovations Enterprise and the International Forum for Community Innovations (2011–date). Responsible for overseeing a wide range of action based research and consultancy projects

He has extensive experience working at the highest levels on national and international developments in government policy on a wide range of areas, including health, social care, crime, community cohesion, extremism, mental health, drug and alcohol use, equality and human rights, and higher education. He has led international health and social care initiatives and brokered developments between UK statutory and voluntary organisations and other countries (including India, Middle East, Africa) to realise real benefits for local institutions and communities.

Lord Patel has, over the years, been appointed to a number of national boards and committees, including, the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work, the Home Office’s Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs, the Healthcare Commission, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and the Care Quality Commission. He was also Chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission. He is currently Chairman and/or Patron of over 30 not-for-profit organisations across England.

Lord Patel has contributed to a variety of Government policies including being the architect of the Government’s five year action plan for delivering race equality in mental health care. In 2007 he was appointed by the Prime Minister to act as a Ministerial Adviser to the Secretary of State (DCLG) in respect of the government’s PREVENT agenda (Preventing Violent Extremism); he was also Chairman of a National Taskforce looking at the effectiveness of prison drug treatment culminating in the publication of The Patel Report.

Lord Patel was appointed as Minister in the House of Lords Government’s Whip’s Office as Front Bench Spokesperson for:- Communities and Local Government, Ministry of Justice, Cabinet Office and the Attorney General’s Office in 2008.


Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC (Hon)

Sir Paul is a member of Matrix Chambers, specialising in investigations, inquiries, compliance audits and reviews. He also advises on government relations, good governance and crisis management.

As H.M. Procurator General, Treasury Solicitor and Head of the Government Legal Service, Paul was the United Kingdom Government’s most senior legal official and Permanent Secretary to the Attorney General from 2006 to 2014. These appointments were the culmination of thirty five years in Government practice at the Employed Bar specialising in public, constitutional and EU law.

Paul is a Trustee of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, a Bencher and non-executive board member of the Middle Temple and a member of the Ethics Committee at Tate.


Baroness Sandip Verma


A highly influential, global facing business leader, she has extensive Chair and Committee experience. Since entering the House of Lords in 2006, Baroness Sandip Verma has held several key Ministerial appointments, she has had an active and advisory role in policy formation and development. With a transformational background, Baroness Sandip Verma is both strategic and where necessary hands on, adept at simplifying complex issues.


2006 to 2010: Opposition Whip and Lords Spokesperson for the  Departments of Education, Health and Welfare and Pensions.
2010 to 2012: Government Whip and Lords Spokesperson for the Cabinet  Office, International Development and the Government  Equalities Office.
2012 to 2015: Minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
2015 to 2016: Minister for the Department of International Development.

2016 to current: Non Ministerial Role in the Lords
Chairman of Lords European External Affairs Committee
Member of the Lords EU Select Committee
2016 to Current: Non parliamentary roles
International Chairman on the Steering Committee of IOD, India
2016 (October) to current : Special Adviser to Sir John Cass’s Foundation
2017 – Chairman of Nexus Green – Renewable Energy Solutions business
2017 (May) to current: Independent Non Executive Director of REA (Renewable Energy Association)
2017 (May) to current: Global Chairman of World Wide Generation (WWG)
2017 (May) to current : Advisor on International Board of Amity Universities
Prior to entering the House of Lords, Baroness Verma had a successful career in the SME sector.
1980 to 1997 – She with her husband set up EXIMP ltd, a SME wholesale business of high fashion womenswear.
1985 – Extended the business to include manufacturing of high fashion womenswear supplying national and European markets.
2000 – Created Domiciliary Care Services – a business providing adult social care, working with local authorities, supporting adults within their domestic settings.

A strong and committed advocate of diversity and inclusion, she is involved in a wealth of influential initiatives to create a more inclusive working environment and society as a whole.

The Rt. Hon Ruth Kelly

Ruth Kelly joined St Mary’s University, Twickenham as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise in 2015 from HSBC Global Asset Management, where she was Global Head of Client Strategy. Her role at St Mary’s is a senior leadership position with a particular focus on developing research, diversifying the funding base of the University and building stronger partnerships with government and commercial enterprises at a local, national and international level.

Ruth held various roles in Government during her career as MP for Bolton West from 1997 to 2010. These roles included Secretary of State for Transport, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Secretary of State for Education and Skills and Economic and Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Ruth has a MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and spent her early career in the Bank of England and at The Guardian newspaper.

Ruth is a non-executive Director of the Financial Conduct Authority.

Staff and Board Member portaits taken at Drummond Gate offices. Photography by Fergus Burnett Accrediation required with all use - ''

Professor David Rhind CBE

David is Chairman of the Nuffield Foundation. Previously he was Vice Chancellor of City, University of London and had close links with livery companies and London-based charities. He has also been Director General of Ordnance Survey, a member of the Court (governing body) of the Bank of England and Chair of the Bank’s Pension Fund, Chairman of the Board of a large NHS hospital and Deputy Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority.  David has a BSc from the University of Bristol, a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, a DSc from University of London and eleven honorary DSc degrees from different universities. He was awarded HM Queen the Patron’s Medal, Royal Geographical Society in 1997 and a CBE for services to geographical and social sciences in the New Year’s Honours list 2001. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society and an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy.


Peter Williams CBE

Peter Williams was Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) from March 2002 until his retirement in September 2009. After graduating in English from Exeter University, his early career was in printing and university administration at Surrey and Leicester, where he was  Secretary of the University of Leicester Medical School.  Following that, he was the Deputy Secretary of the British Academy. During his career at QAA, he worked to make quality assurance a vital tool for professional academics and a means of underpinning the strengths of higher education in the UK.

In addition to his work in the UK, Peter has made many presentations and participated in a number of international quality assurance projects in Europe, South America, the USA, Canada, China, India, the Middle East, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. In 2005 he was elected President of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). During his time with ENQA, he was one of the principal authors of the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

Peter was until recently Vice-Chair and Chair of the Audit Committee at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and is a Trustee and Chair of the Academic Committee at Richmond, the American International University in London, and Chair of the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education. He was also the Chair of the Accreditation Review Committee of the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment of Saudi Arabia. In 2014-15 he was Master of The Worshipful Company of Educators. Between 2010 and 2016 he served on the Education Honours Committee.

Peter was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2009 in recognition of his services to higher education. He is the holder of three honorary doctorates from British and Irish institutions.


Sir Cyril Taylor GBE

Sir Cyril Taylor was born in Yorkshire, England in 1935 and educated at St Marylebone Grammar School, London and Roundhay School, Leeds.  Awarded a National Service Commission at age 18 with the King’s African Rifles he served as a platoon commander in the Mau Mau emergency campaign in Kenya 1954-56.  He then took an honours degree in history at Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1959 and was awarded the Charles Bell Scholarship by the London Chamber of Commerce to study for the Master of Business Administration at Harvard BusinessSchool.  He is married with one daughter.

After attending Harvard Business School, he worked in brand management for Procter & Gamble at the headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.  In 1964 he founded the American Institute for Foreign Study, the Anglo-American international educational company of which he is still the Chairman. Group companies include the College Division, Camp AmericaAu Pair in America, the American Council for International Studies (ACIS) and the Summer Institute for the Gifted.  AIFS has offices in the US, UK, Germany, Poland, South Africa and Australia.

In 1970, AIFS established Richmond, the American International University in London.  Richmond is a unique, non-profit university with 1,000 full time students from 100 countries accredited by both the American and British education authorities.  Overall, AIFS organises programmes for 40,000 students each year with annual tuition income of 180 million dollars a year and celebrated the enrolment of its one millionth student in 2001.

Since 1987 Sir Cyril served as Chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) and as Advisor to ten successive Secretaries of State for Education on specialist schools and academies, serving in a voluntary unpaid capacity.  In 2005, the SSAT was made the lead body to support the 200 City Academies to be established on the sites of underperforming schools in socially disadvantaged areas.  The specialist schools initiative (technology, arts, sports and languages colleges; business & enterprise; science; engineering; mathematics & computing; humanities and music) has established 2,600 specialist secondary schools, 80% of all English secondary schools, educating to an increasingly high standard 2.6 million children.  The intake of ability for specialist schools is similar to non-specialist yet in 2005 they achieved 58% 5+ A*-C grades at GCSE compared to only 47% for other schools. Specialist schools both emphasise their chosen specialist subjects, as well as teaching the national curriculum.  Over 800 private sector sponsors have contributed more than 250 million pounds to the initiative.

Sir Cyril served on the Greater London Council from 1977 until 1986 and was elected deputy leader of the Conservative group from 1983.  He was awarded a knighthood in 1989 in recognition of his services to education and in 2003 was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE).  He was High Sheriff of Greater London in 1996.  He has published a number of books and pamphlets including most recently, in collaboration with Conor Ryan, “Excellence in Education: The Making of Great Schools, published by Granada Learning in November 2004, with a revised edition in November 2005.

Although an active member of the Conservative Party until 1997, Sir Cyril resigned from the Party when he was appointed David Blunkett’s advisor on specialist schools in 1997 and has had no political affiliations since that date.  In addition to education, Sir Cyril has specialist knowledge of local government, public transport, foreign affairs and business.

qmul_lordpeterhennessy_003Professor the Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield FBA

Lord Peter Hennessy was a journalist for 20 years with positions including leader writer and Whitehall correspondent with The Times and lobby correspondent for The Financial Times and The Economist. He wrote a regular column for The Independent and was a regular presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Analysis programme.

His journalism was defined by a fascination with ‘the hidden wiring of the constitution, and the power of machinery in government’ in Britain. He co-founded the Institute of Contemporary British History in 1986 and joined Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in 1992 as Professor of Contemporary History. He has been Attlee Professor of Contemporary British history at QMUL since 2001.

Lord Hennessy’s analysis of post-war Britain Never Again: Britain 1945-1951, won the Duff Cooper Prize in 1992 and the NCR Book Award in 1993. His study of Britain in the 1950s and the rise of Harold Macmillan, Having it so Good: Britain in the 1950s, won the Orwell Prize for political writing. In 2010, Lord Hennessy was appointed as a non-political crossbench peer, taking the title of Baron Hennessy of Nympsfield. He continues to make regular contributions to the press, radio and television.