People & partners


Derrick Johnstone

Derrick worked in local and regional economic development, and more widely in performance improvement in the public sector, as a practitioner and as a consultant, for over 30 years. He has particular expertise in applying management and organisational development techniques in a multi-agency setting.

A strong theme running through much of his work was that of building capacity: developing skills, knowledge and ways of working amongst client organisations and their partners. This has involved, for example, partnership development, customer insight, best practice reviews and competency-based approaches to organisational and staff development.

He led consultancy assignments for an extensive range of clients including the European Commission, central government departments, Local Government Association, local authorities, development agencies, economic development partnerships, Business in the Community, international companies such as BT and GE, and foundations such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Derrick was an Economic Growth Adviser with the Local Government Association, and an Associate with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (working on the Employer Ownership of Skills programme), the Education and Training Foundation, Association of Colleges in Eastern Region (ACER), and the East of England LGA Talent Bank. He has also served as a Local Improvement Advisor, one of the national panel supporting local authorities, Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships and government bodies, where his specialisms were ‘Leadership and Partnership Development’, ‘Performance Management’, ‘Local Economy and Worklessness’ and ‘Data Sharing’. He was previously a Neighbourhood Renewal Advisor (for the Department for Communities and Local Government), an Inspire East Enabler and an Associate with the National School of Government and Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM).

Derrick graduated in Economics and Economic History from Edinburgh University, followed by a master’s degree from Glasgow University specialising in urban and regional economics and policy analysis.

Susan Johnstone

Susan has extensive experience in delivering consultancy projects in economic regeneration and employment. She has managed national good practice research assignments on business advisory services, and on enterprise, education and employability components of regeneration and neighbourhood renewal strategies. More widely, she has contributed to a wide range of urban, rural and overseas projects covering strategy review, programme and project design, partnership development, benchmarking, growth companies and sectors, sustainability and regeneration.

Her background was in the City as a senior fund manager with a mutual insurance company where she was responsible for one of the first UK equity funds to be run on ethical principles. Subsequently, she worked as a freelance financial journalist and a researcher for clients such as Mintel, before becoming an economic development consultant with GFA Consulting.

Susan graduated in Geography from the University of Oxford, having specialised in regional, social and political geography. Her professional training has been in corporate valuation and performance measurement, the management of change in the public sector, and the science, technology and policy relating to climate change.

Associated companies

Organisations we have collaborated with include:

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