About me

toby head & shoulder

I have over 20 years’ experience of working in the not for profit sector, particularly supporting excluded communities to achieve positive social change. More recently, I have been working in Local Government and education, but still with a focus on social innovation.

My work has included influencing public policy, community engagement and self help, grant-making and helping community groups to make sense of government policy and practice in regeneration, local government and empowerment.

I used to run two national charities – Groundswell UK and Urban Forum – for over 15 years, developing innovative ways for marginalised communities to have influence over decisions that affect them. After that I worked for Lambeth Council helping to implement their Cooperative Council vision and establishing a new free school, the Archer Academy, in North London.

social_engine-tightIn 2015 I co-founded a new behaviour change agency, Social Engine, to help charities, social enterprises and public bodies to improve their impact and social benefit. We use behavioural insights and social marketing, to support an evidence-based and insight-led approach within social purpose organisations.

I am also a Design Council Built Environment Expert and an analytical associate for the Department for Education.


Recent projects I’ve undertaken include:

Developing a new open data platform, Data Unity, a Nominet Trust funded project.

Working with Professor Peter John from UCL, to help local authorities use Randomised Controlled Trials and ‘nudges’ to improve outcomes for local people.

Setting up a new grant making foundation, Lifeskills Education & Alcohol Foundation (LEAF), to support lifeskills and alcohol education programmes in schools.

Supporting strategy development at urban regeneration charity Clear Village.


I am a trustee of the Travellers’ Aid Trust, a grant-making body supporting Gypsies & Travellers, and the public participation charity, Involve.

I have previously done work for the Move Your Money campaign (and before that I was a founder of the Better Banking Coalition). I produced a blueprint for the London Legacy Development Corporation on how to build community on the Olympic Park and I’ve worked with some of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s wonderful campaigners.

I’m an active dad to three young monsters (they’re lovely really) and spend the little free time I have gardening, cooking, reading (mostly non-fiction) and cycling.

If you’d like to discuss any of the work I’ve done, or possible future opportunities please get in touch:


One thought on “About me

  1. Good to see your likeness on this page.You are looking healthy and a bit made-over.The glasses add a lot.Several of us were wondering about you the other day.Good Luck and seasons greetings and all.
    I am still doggedly pursuing my own activities in this rather difficult business of reducing human suffering.Up here at the moment we need a decent shooting gallery or two as being a good next step forward.
    Maybe seeya sometime
    All the best to you and yours

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