Swindon Futures Commission

Welcome to the Swindon Futures Commission, a dedicated group established to investigate, analyse, and propose solutions to vital issues affecting Swindon’s economic performance and future trajectory.

Our aim is to shape a forward-looking vision for Swindon, one that prioritizes sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Our goals

Advocacy

Develop the evidence base and promote the case for investment to benefit business, wider stakeholders, communities

Destination of choice

Establish Swindon as a destination of choice for people, business, and investment – both private and public

Vision

Develop and present a vision to inform and shape future planning, investment, place and culture, image and perception – a framework for future possibilities

What will we be focusing on?

Key issues on which the Commission will focus include:

  • Economy – performance and prospects
  • Industrial strategy – sectors, clusters, infrastructure
  • Employment land supply
  • Education, skills and opportunities
  • Town centre – including commercial & retail
  • Heritage, culture, creativity and place
  • Housing and residential opportunities
  • Finance, resources, assets, investment
  • Wider spatial vision – Borough-wide & beyond

Commissioners

Colin is a scientist and engineer by training and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is the chief executive of the YTL UK Group of companies, includes Brabazon New Town, the Arena complex at Filton; Wessex Water; YTL’s UK hotels; GENeco; and retail businesses. He has had non-executive roles in rail, travel and international infrastructure businesses, served on the board of the South West Regional Development Agency and is involved with charities. Colin has chaired the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and is currently chair of Business West. Colin was awarded an OBE for services to business and WaterAid in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Hetti has a career spanning British Airways, Centrica, BT and Vodafone, leading financial, commercial and transformational change, often enabled by leading edge technology. She became the CEO of Ploughshare Innovations in April 2020 and is renowned for leading cultural and commercial transformation, and her highly creative, collaborative and engaging approach with teams and partners. She is a recognised champion for diversity, equality and inclusion. Hetti is also the Chair of Refuge, and Patron of the Joanna Simpson Foundation. Hetti’s diverse experience, including working with deep tech start-ups, corporates, and social care, brings broad perspective to the work of the Commission.

Matthew is Director of the Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath, Executive Director of the Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST) and director of an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in this area. He is also Whorrod Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technologies and leads the Catalysis for the Circular Economy strand of the UK Catalysis Hub. Professor Davidson held Lectureships in the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge (1995) and at Durham University (1995-1999) before being appointed to a Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Bath in 1999. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and is a previous recipient of the Harrison Memorial Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Royal Society Industry Fellowship. Professor Davidson graduated in Chemistry from the University of Wales, Swansea in 1990 and received a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1993.

Christine is a Director at SQW, specialising in social and economic research consultancy for public policy. With a focus on knowledge-based economic growth and its link to place, she brings valuable insights to her work. Christine holds a first-class degree from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in economic geography. Her expertise lies in shaping effective public policies by understanding the dynamics of economic development. Through her dedication and academic background, Christine contributes to driving sustainable and impactful approaches to regional and national growth.

Sharon joined James Cowper Kreston in November 2021 as a Partner within the Private Client Services Team. Previously, she was Head of Private Client, Thames Valley & West at RSM. With over 25 years of experience, Sharon began her career at HM Revenue & Customs in 1989 before transitioning to private practice in 1991. Sharon is a strong local business voice and provides a cross regional professional services practice and insights.

Pam is a passionate advocate for the Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector within the Integrated Health System. She holds the position of member director for the VCSE on the Bath and North East Somerset (BSW) Integrated Care Board (ICB). Additionally, Pam is an active member of the BSW VCSE Leadership Alliance and plays a local role as part of the Swindon Integrated Care Alliance. She also participates in the Swindon Health and Wellbeing Board, ensuring the sector’s voice and opportunities are duly represented. Pam’s commitment lies in promoting the interests and professional capability of the VCSE sector within the context of integrated healthcare.

After an early career in a range of banking roles, John spent 20 years in senior HR roles for HSBC Bank plc. After leaving HSBC, John has been HR Director of Vaultex UK Ltd, a supplier of cash management services owned by Barclays and HSBC, and of the 140 global hotel group Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc. John joined Swindon based UK Shared Business Services in 2014, initially in an HR role and then as Corporate Services Director. With the creation of UKRI in 2018 John was seconded to establish their HR function, as Chief People Officer. John returned to UKSBS in 2019 as Chief Strategy and People Officer. He is a graduate of Loughborough University (BSc, Banking & Finance) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Sir Robert Buckland KC is Member of Parliament for South Swindon. Sir Robert has actively contributed to various committees, addressing justice, international affairs, growth, education, and disability. Notable positions include Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission and Joint Secretary of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of Backbenchers. He served as Solicitor General for England and Wales and later became Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. In 2022, he was honoured with the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).

John is a Senior Corporate Partner and advises a diverse range of commercial and corporate clients local, national and international. Awarded the prestigious Client Partner of the Year accolade at the Lawyer Awards, he is also top-ranked by Chambers UK for corporate law in his region and consistently recommended by Legal 500. John frequently leads corporate transactions, including sales, acquisitions, restructures, buy-outs, investments, refinancing and joint ventures. He also provides strategic guidance to management teams and business owners, and supports a number of in-house legal teams. John is Head of Office for Swindon and sits on the Thrings Management Board.

Angus focuses on providing real estate, marketing, collaboration, and networking support to the UK Knowledge Economy. Angus has held roles including Director Angus provides real estate, marketing, collaboration, and networking support to the UK Knowledge Economy.  Campus Director and Shareholder of Harwell Science & Innovation Campus LP (2013-21), having founded the 50% private sector shareholding that sits alongside the British Taxpayer’s 50%.  Co-founded and stewarded x4 Science & Technology Clusters and increased the working population to over 6,000 people (on course to ultimately hit >15,000), generating major UK GVA impact. In 2011 established a consortium that secured a contract to acquire Pfizer’s 3 million square feet Campus in Kent (then Europe’s largest for life sciences R&D).  Various other company directorships plus charitable roles. Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.

Cllr Robbins is the Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Labour Councillor for the Mannington & Western Ward of Swindon Borough Council.

Martin is Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Studies at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol where until the end of February he was Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise. Before that he was a Professor at the University of Bristol and has also worked in Canada and Australia. He has a long history of research and consultancy covering urban and regional economic performance; housing, planning and commercial development; and urban and regional policy. He has led project teams and had numerous grants from UK Research Councils, the EU and other funding bodies and has worked as a consultant and advisor for local and regional bodies, central government and internationally. His work has included a particular focus on the South West including detailed studies of Swindon itself.