Our core team
Ruth leads ThePublicOffice team, and is passionate about public service transformation that prioritises the citizen experience and leads to both improved outcomes and efficiencies. She uses her energy and diplomacy to build creative spaces within and between organisations in which genuine collaborations focused on citizens not services can grow, challenging received wisdoms and vested interests where necessary. She is a systems thinker, and explicitly seeks to create learning environments to grow the leadership and culture needed to support new ways of thinking and doing. As a geographer Ruth thinks sideways, always making connections, and is adept at drawing threads together for example across the complexities of the health and social care landscape.
Ruth has worked with some of the nation’s leading politicians, with senior teams from central government, local government and the NHS, and leaders of the largest companies supplying the UK public sector. Places she’s been an employee include the No10 Policy Unit, Department for Education, Guardian News & Media. Previous clients include: Kings College London, RSA Public Services 2020 Commission, Swindon Borough Council, Essex County Council, and London Borough Croydon where she led the award-winning Total Place programme. Ruth is a Senior Associate of Innovation Unit, an Enabler for Local Government Leadership, trustee at One Plus One, and vice chair of governors at her local primary school. She is very excited about the local community of Peckham, where she ably supported/kept in her place by her husband, 3 boys, and a garden.
What others say: “Ruth imbues others with a sense of visionary purpose, and behaves as an impassioned catalyst to teams and groups. A highly effective facilitator and collaborator, Ruth makes things happen by mobilising others’ thinking and insights, and then empowering them to act.” (Cabinet Office)
Julie is a researcher by training and disposition. She is pathologically curious about how organisations and systems work, and brings a deep knowledge of how people learn to the way we stimulate innovation and support system change in ThePublicOffice. Julie believes passionately in the potential for different sorts of evidence – insights from service users and practitioners, as well as the kind that finds its way into peer reviewed journals and conferences – to influence thinking and practice. Key to Julie’s success in making this work, is the development of engaging tools, frameworks and processes, which bring evidence to life and put it in the hands (and hearts and minds) of the people who need it most – practitioners, policy makers and, of course, citizens. Julie has designed and led research, learning strategies and evaluation as part of system change in education, health, arts and culture, early years, work programmes and in local authorities. Previous and current clients include government departments, local authorities, social enterprises, private companies, foundations and schools. Julie also works in a number of international programmes for overseas governments and institutions. Julie is a Senior Associate of Innovation Unit, and Director of her own research company Temperley Research. Julie has two grown up children Abigail and Matthew, and lives with her husband in north Bedfordshire.
Caireen is a learning and communications specialist who is adept at scoping and managing the most complex projects. She works with a range of organisations in the public sector to develop practitioner-focused strategies for identifying and sharing learning outcomes. Caireen also undertakes research, design and writing to create practical and engaging learning resources and reports for government agencies, innovation intermediaries, schools and local authorities. As an editor, Caireen focuses on ensuring consistency of content, message, tone and voice – creating high quality outputs that are useful for a defined audience and a defined purpose. Over the past 8 years Caireen has worked as an independent consultant with Innovation Unit, Nesta, the Young Foundation, City and Islington College, local authorities, charities and schools to support the development of innovation in the public sector, and to share practical and accessible ‘how to’ knowledge through online, written and visual communications. Caireen understands learning. She has a strong background in education and recently led the communications and learning strategy for the Harris Student Commission on Learning. She recently managed a global research project on behalf of Innovation Unit and the Gates Foundation. Caireen is married with two children and five step-children and lives in Brighton. She loves to walk (with her dog), practice yoga and she is currently learning how to play polo. She is a governor at her local primary school.
What others say: “Caireen, another awesomely bright person. Where do you find all these people…? She is totally on the ball.” (Essex County Council)
“It is an outstanding piece of work. Articulate, thorough, connected and kickass.” (City and Islington College)
Perrie is a learning and research specialist who has spent the past nine years developing expertise in innovation methods and practice, and working directly with innovators across public services, the voluntary sector and arts and cultural organisations. Her special interest is in designing activities and processes that enable people in organisations, programmes and projects to share and develop knowledge and change the way they do things. Her skills include research and evaluation, programme development and management, curriculum design and workshop facilitation. She also likes to create compelling tools and products to support and share learning. Perrie has worked for the UK’s leading innovation agencies, including at Innovation Unit as Head of Learning and Project Development and at Nesta as Learning Manager, where she led organisation-wide activities to elicit and develop knowledge about innovation practice. She has also worked as a consultant across major public sector innovation programmes, including Sir Jim Rose’s Primary Curriculum Review and the National College for School Leadership‘s Networked Learning Programme. Before moving to the UK from Australia in 2005, Perrie worked for five years as a lecturer and researcher in History and Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. She designed and ran courses for the university and for private educational providers, which often involved fieldwork in remote parts of the country and seminars around different campfires. Perrie believes that people learn best when they leave their desks behind and immerse themselves in something new.
Special people we work with
Richard has worked within the innovation and design sector for the past 8 years, gaining experience as a senior designer for the service design consultancy Livework and more recently as a service design manager for Orange. He’s comfortable in a range of project roles but gets the greatest satisfaction from helping clients to communicate their thinking by creating clear and engaging visualisations.
Kate McLarnon and Ed Owles (Postcode Films)
Kate and Ed are co-directors of Postcode Films, a specialist research and documentary agency and long-time PublicOffice partner. They passionately believe that film can be a powerful tool for bringing the voices of communities and individuals into the heart of policy and service development, design and evaluation. They have been working for the last 9 years as video ethnographers, with an academic background in visual anthropology, and are committed to helping clients and partners harness this potential, helping to bridge the communication gap between citizens and communities “on the ground” and decision-makers, practitioners and service designers throughout organisations. They love listening to people – and always employ an inclusive and sensitive approach to ethnography – enabling people to tell their stories in their own way. Much more than just on-camera interviews- the resulting films are vivid portraits of the complex worlds that organisational change can affect. They have experience in social policy, education, health, arts and culture, and have worked with government departments, local authorities, social enterprises and schools across the UK, as well as collaborating with research organisations across the globe. They also both run ethnographic filmmaking workshops and direct long-form documentary.
Sam is a brilliant service designer, strategist, writer, researcher and facilitator. He has worked on multiple programmes that have engaged communities in codesign and coproduction of improved outcomes, including creating the materials to help others to learn how to listen and engage effectively. With team PublicOffice in Essex, he has helped deliver a design-led Enquiry programme across 4 children’s centres, supporting local teams on the ground to go out confidently, listen to local families and their needs, and to consider problems afresh as a result. Sam has helped deliver a ‘blueprint’ for commissioning better dementia support, and is currently exploring the design features of recovery-focused projects in mental health.
Sam has a knack for making connections, uncovering gems of insight, finding clarity in complexity and bringing inanimate ideas to life. We love working with him. An intrepid explorer, Sam has lived and worked in Germany, Helsinki, Tokyo and Sri Lanka.
When we haven’t demanded all his time, Sam runs Cohere with Lottie, working with organisations, agencies, start-ups & individuals to make things make sense.
Matt likes thinking and talking about complexity. A lot. And how systems change, and don’t change. He acts as both catalyst and coach. He supports leaders, practitioners and citizens to come together and understand what they can do, together, to make things better for people who need help and support – from pubic services but also from their communities. He believes that engagement, actual, genuine dialogue, that asks fundamental questions about power and resources, about responsibility and accountability, is the bed-rock of any change. What’s the story behind the story? Working in this way Matt has helped a public health team re-think the local food system, building a social movement focussed on growing local produce and tackling food poverty. He has supported leaders from across a health and social care system to work relationally, to build a sustainable health and care system. And he has coached community leaders to engage statutory services to embrace a shared ambition and plans for a dementia friendly London borough. He is a Senior Associate of the Innovation Unit and Enabler for the Leadership Centre. Matt is a also a trainer for Public Health England’s Skills for Systems Leadership program and Lead Expert in Open Innovation for URBACT, an EU body. Once upon a time he was an executive director of a local authority, a director of inspections in a national regulatory body and a civil servant.