SPG Annual Weekend 2021: The Governance of Parliament: managing legislatures from a comparative perspective

Friday 13:00 – 14:15
  • Prof Diana Stirbu (London Metropolitan University) and Dr Mark Bennister (Lincoln University);
  • Sir Paul Grice (Vice-Chancellor, Queen Margaret University, former Clerk of the Scottish Parliament);
  • Lesley Hogg (Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Assembly);
  • Diane Bevan (former Chief Operating Officer, Senedd);
  • Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP (previously Leader of the House of Commons);

Chair: Dr Ben Yong (Durham University)


Panellist Biographies

Professor Diana Stirbu (London Metropolitan University)

Professor Stirbu specialises in public administration and governance reform from a devolved and territorial perspective in the UK, as well as in strategic management in political and public organisations. Her emphasis lies particularly on Welsh and English devolution. More broadly, Diana’s work focuses on contemporary issues in parliamentary democracy, such as public engagement, gender representation, and parliamentary governance. More recently, Diana has developed a keen interest in service design with public administration focus.

Professor Stirbu often undertakes advisory and consultancy work in relation to the Welsh Parliament / Senedd Cymru, provides expert advice on constitutional and legislative matters and delivers bespoke executive training for overseas civil servants. She acted as an Independent Trustee for the Centre for Public Scrutiny between 2016 and 2019 and promotes the importance of scrutiny and accountability in the governance process. Diana works closely with the Institute of Welsh Affairs in order to support their policy and governance stream of work.


Dr Mark Bennister (Lincoln University)

Mark Bennister joined the University of Lincoln in 2018. He was Reader in Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University from 2010 until 2018. Mark has been a Parliamentary Academic Fellow since 2016. He previously held positions at UCL and the University of Sussex. He gained his DPhil from Sussex in 2009. Mark is an Associate Research Fellow at the Crick Centre, University of Sheffield, and a Visiting Lecturer, Tufts University. He was an Executive Officer at the Australian High Commission and a parliamentary researcher.


Sir Paul Grice (Vice-Chancellor, Queen Margaret University, former Clerk of the Scottish Parliament)

Sir Paul Grice joined Queen Margaret University Edinburgh as Principal and Vice-Chancellor in October 2019.

Previously, as Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament, Sir Paul led the Scottish Parliamentary Service, which is responsible for delivering all services to the Parliament and its Members, and was the Parliament’s principal adviser on procedural and constitutional matters. It was in this role that he joined the Policy Leaders Fellowship. He had worked in the devolved parliament since its inception in 1999. Paul graduated in 1984 from Stirling University, and joined the UK Civil Service through the “Fast Stream” in 1985. He worked for the Department of Transport and, subsequently, the Department of the Environment on bus de-regulation, railways policy and local government finance, and then acted as Private Secretary to Virginia Bottomley MP.


Lesley Hogg (Clerk/Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Assembly)

Before joining the Assembly, Lesley was the Director of Finance and Corporate Affairs for AFBI which provides essential scientific support to government and other industry bodies through the delivery of statutory testing, internationally recognised Research and Development and emergency response.


Previously Lesley was the Chairperson of the Electricity Association of Ireland and Director of Strategic and Regulatory Affairs for AES, owner of the Ballylumford and Kilroot power stations. She was also the Chief Executive Officer of Premier Power Ltd when it owned Ballylumford, the largest independent generating station on the island of Ireland and was instrumental in its sale to AES.


Lesley is a Chartered Accountant and held the positions of Principal Financial Accountant for the PSNI during its transition from the RUC, Regional Finance Manager for the newly integrated national British Red Cross Society and Training Manager for Price Waterhouse.

She is a member of the Board of Governors of Carrickfergus Grammar School and was also a non-Executive Director of Women in Business, a charity supporting and promoting Business Women in Northern Ireland.


Diane Bevan (former Chief Operating Officer, Senedd)

Dianne has worked in the UK public and not for profit sector for over 30 years, for much of that time at board level. She spent 20 years in local government as a public sector lawyer and manager, rising to become a Corporate Director at Cardiff Council and its most senior legal adviser. She then joined the National Assembly for Wales, to take on a variety of leadership roles, holding director-level responsibility for a wide range of services, including finance, human resources, communications, building management and support for Members. 

Dianne has high-level knowledge and experience in public sector law and governance, change management, and the establishment of new frameworks for major institutions. She has led significant change projects arising from local government reorganisation in Wales, devolution and the resulting institutional transformation. 

Dianne took early retirement from full-time employment in 2012 and now holds several voluntary and non-executive board positions and occasional consultancy in the public, parliamentary and not for profit sector. She is a member of the board of the Hansard Society. 


Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP (Former Leader of the House of Commons)

The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom was Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 24 July 2019 to 13 February 2020. She was Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons from June 2017 to May 2019. She was elected as Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010.


Dr Ben Yong (Durham University)

Ben joined Durham Law School as an Associate Professor in Public Law and Human Rights in September 2019. He obtained his PhD from the LSE, and LLM from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). He previously worked at the Constitution Unit, UCL and was a Teaching Fellow in Public Law at UCL. Ben also worked at the UK Ministry of Justice in 2010 on the UK Cabinet Manual. Prior to joining Durham, Ben was a lecturer in public law at Queen Mary and then at the University of Hull Law School.


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