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Educated at Southampton and Newcastle Universities, I have a first degree in Politics and a Masters in European Union Studies. I worked as an adviser to the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Edward Heath KG MBE, from 1995 to 1999, specialising in European Union politics. I joined the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) as an Assistant Director. Between June 2002 and December 2006, I headed the Secretary-General's office working closely with the then Secretary-General of the CPA, Hon. Denis Marshall, a former Minister in New Zealand. In addition to work at Westminster, I have engaged with a number of parliaments including legislatures in Kenya, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh & Fiji.
I joined the Department of Politics and International Relations as a lecturer in 2012 having previously been a Visiting Lecturer for four years.I have also acted as a consultant for a number of international organisations including the World Bank, UNDP, the European Union, the National Democratic Institute, Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In recent years, I have completed an assessment of the work and performance of Public Accounts Committees in the British Isles and undertaken parliamentary strengthening work in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and delivered training programmes for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff in Myanmar, Uganda, Lesotho, Kosovo, Nigeria, and the Seychelles.
I am also currently teaching Current Trends in Parliamentary Administration and Public Financial Management courses at McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies.
I am the module leader for the British Politics first year undergraduate module.
In the past, I have taught:
- Comparative Politics (first year)
- Governing the European Union (Second Year)
- Governance of the European Union (postgraduate)
- Policy-Making in the European Union (third year)
My main research interests concern parliamentary development (particularly the budget process with focus on Public Accounts Committees (PACs) and Parliamentary Budget Offices) and parliamentary oversight (including combating corruption).
Recent publications/reports include:
Co-authored Chapter with Dick Toornstra: 'Benchmarking for Democratic Parliaments’ in M. O’Brien, R. Stapenhurst & L. Von Trapp (eds) Benchmarking and Self-Assessment for Parliaments (Washington: World Bank Group), pp. 127-137. Published 11 April 2016.
'Strengthening PACs in Small Parliaments: Perspectives from the Caribbean' in Z. Hoque (ed) Making Governments Accountable: The Role of Public Accounts Committees and National Audit Offices
'The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons' in Z. Hoque (ed) Making Governments Accountable: The Role of Public Accounts Committees and National Audit Offices. Published 2015.
The above two chapters examine PAC practices in the UK Westminster Parliament and in the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The chapters investigate how internal and external institutional agents may shape the development and working of a PAC.
Finally, I am a member of a small research team working on a project entitled The Role of Parliaments in Curbing Corruption at the Country Level, funded by British Academy-DFID as part of its Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme (Jan 2016 - December 2017). The research project, with University Laval, the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs and the World Bank, will address the scarcity of research at the country level on the impact of parliamentary oversight on curbing corruption.