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Meet the team

Neil McInroy, Chief Executive

neil mcinroy headshotNeil has been involved in public sector policy and delivery for over 20 years. Whilst having experience in developing partnerships and innovative policy responses to global, regional and local economic, social and environmental challenges, his particular skills are in local economic and social research, analysis and development; policy practice, research methodologies; facilitation and strategy building. He regularly conducts work across UK and in locations around the world. A leading commentator on economic development and public policy, Neil has featured in Local Government Chronicle’s annual top 50 most influential people in local government. He is chair of the Greater Manchester Poverty Action Group. He is also an Honorary Fellow at the University Of Manchester. Neil became chief executive of CLES in 2003.

Matthew Jackson, Deputy Chief Executive

Matthew Jackson headshotAn experienced and skilled researcher, Matthew has worked in regeneration, local economic development and local governance for more than 11 years. He leads CLES’ work on procurement and specialises in analysing and interpreting public policy and examining the local economic and social impact of public interventions. He is also responsible for research and has written a number of CLES publications. Matthew is the chair of the Greater Manchester Social Value Network and is a validated lead expert for the European Union’s URBACT III programme.

Adrian Nolan, Associate Director

Adrian Nolan headshot2 b+w

Adrian has extensive experience in the design and management of economic and social research, and has been working in economic development and regeneration for 10 years having held a number of roles in consultancy and policy environments.  He has a wide range of areas of expertise including in evaluation, economic assessments, policy analysis, appraisals and industry research, and has conducted programmes of research and consultancy provision across the UK.  With a strong track record in managing projects and resources, Adrian’s primary role at CLES is to manage the research and consultancy arm of the organisation.

Jennifer Rouse, Associate Director

jennifer Rouse headshotJenny joined CLES in 2014 from NEF Consulting (the New Economics Foundation). Jenny has extensive expertise in designing strategy and measurement frameworks intended to improve social value. She is a highly-regarded trainer and facilitator, and manages CLES’ training programme. Her professional interests include ground-up projects and campaigns; co-production; using local economic development matters as a tool to explore wider systemic issues; and collaboration between organisations to maximise positive outcomes. Prior to NEF, Jenny worked in international development both in the U.K. and overseas. She holds a 1st class degree and PhD in Psychology.

Matthew Todd, Researcher

Matthew Todd headshotMatthew joined CLES in 2015 from Shelter. He delivers services to the CLES membership base including publications and tailored research activities; and is adept at collecting and analysing qualitative data. Recent projects include an evaluation of the Brixton Pound and an economic assessment of Strangeways business district. He has an academic background and holds a BSc in Geography and an MSc in Resource and Environmental Management, awarded by Lancaster University.


Amy-Grace Whillans-Welldrake, Researcher 

Amy-Grace headshotAmy-Grace joined the team in March 2015. Her professional interests include ground-up projects, campaigns and community engagement; community and local economic development; and public service reform.  Prior to CLES, Amy-Grace worked as a Research Intern for IPPR North. She holds a degree in History and Politics from the University of Edinburgh.



Administrative staff

Laura Symonds, Office Manager

Laura headshot

Laura joined CLES in April 2008. She manages all aspects of the general running of the office including finance, operations duties and HR. She also coordinates with the membership base and runs the events programme.

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