"Cityforum have a programme that brings senior leaders together for candid dialogues that is unequalled anywhere in the world"

About Us

Cityforum has been contributing to public policy since 1990.  Our organisation comprises a small, trusted, independent group of experienced individuals, respected for their intellectual honesty, knowledge and extensive contacts, spanning the private, public and not-for-profit sectors at every level.

In addition, we work closely with an excellent network of associates and collaborators providing depth, breadth and subject matter expertise.

What We Do

Since its inception in 1990 Cityforum has specialised in two areas, namely:

a) devising and hosting specialised events, mostly of a ’round table’ character on a range of economic, practical, technological and social policy themes that are of concern to governmental organisations, companies and third sector bodies.

b) undertaking bespoke research and advisory work for official bodies, corporates and charities to provide:

  • Public sector guidance and advice on policy, strategy, procedures, efficiency and communications.
  • Independent reviews and evaluation using our particular analytical skills and interviewing capability.
  • Corporate advisory work for firms seeking public sector contracts and new business collaborations.

Following its inaugural Adam Smith Bicentenary event held with the Scottish Government in 1990, Cityforum has retained an interest in economic policy, banking, regulation and trade.  Its interests grew quickly and defence, security, cyber, policing, CNI, energy, health and social care and privacy are all areas where we provide analysis, guidance and forums for rigorous discussion of issues, including wicked problems that appear to defy solution.

Why We Are Different

Together we encompass an extremely wide range of standpoints and backgrounds.  Our staff and associates include individuals with rich experience and career expertise from government service, business, academia, journalism, professional sport, the security services, military and policing.

Cityforum don’t claim to hold all knowledge in-house, but we always know where to look.  Our core team and network have particular capability in policy areas where expertise developed over many years is helpful.

We are financially and politically independent.

Cityforum Team

Our core team consists of a small group of highly motivated and committed people who desire to make a difference and do so with modesty, using plain English.


Marc Lee – Founder and Chairman of Cityforum

After reading History at Oxford Marc spent a period of time at the United Nations, writing a book on UN peacekeeping and editing a second volume on the same subject.  This was followed by an appointment as a Defence Lecturer at Southampton University, where he worked for several years in Military Service education before being head-hunted by the Financial Times where he undertook roles as Conference Director, Managing Director of FT Business Enterprises and later worked as an adviser.  During a twenty-year career he travelled the globe, developing and opening FT global events, leading training programmes as well as working in a high-level advisory role.

In 1990 he set up Cityforum and devised and hosted the Adam Smith Bicentenary celebration for the Scots and has ever since been engaged in top-level forums and analysis of political, economic, defence and security and wider public policy questions.  Cityforum works on a continuing basis with government departments and agencies and with private sector companies in the UK and abroad, developing practical, outcome-focussed round table discussions and undertaking bespoke advisory projects and ‘candid friend’ functions.

Marc Lee has chaired the Welsh Ballet Russe Trust, been a Senior Visiting Fellow at the City University (now Cass) Business School and held regional office for the RSA.  His interests are opera, English watercolours and drawing, the history of the first half of 20th Century and Somerset cricket.


Veronica Scott – Managing Director

Veronica is Managing Director of Cityforum.  She is responsible for the strategic direction of the business and the organisation’s performance, as well as stakeholder engagement across sectors at senior levels.  She has extensive experience in building constructive working relationships with partners, identifying areas where Cityforum can genuinely make a difference and in providing candid, impartial, practical and timely advice on matters affecting planning, performance and the meeting of objectives.

She has a 1st Class (Hons) degree in Classics and a Master’s distinction.  Her professional working life began in academia.  After a belated ‘gap year’ in France riding racehorses, she returned to the UK and spent a short period in executive headhunting before joining Cityforum in 2001.

Her interests include equestrian ethics, dressage, cooking, reading and a wide range of cultural and outdoor pursuits.


Paul Cornish – Chief Strategist

Paul Cornish was educated at the University of St Andrews and the London School of Economics, and completed his PhD at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. He served in the British Army and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; was Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House; taught Strategic and Security Studies at the UK Defence Academy and the University of Cambridge; directed the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London; and was Research Group Director for Defence, Security and Infrastructure at Rand Europe.

He has held professorial appointments at Chatham House, the University of Bath and the University of Exeter.

His work covers national strategy, cyber security, European and international security futures, arms control, the ethics of conflict, and civil-military relations.

Paul is an Oxford Martin Fellow and Associate Director of Oxford University’s Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre; Principal Research Associate in Computer Science at University College London; Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute; a member of the UK Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel; and a participant in UK-China Track 1.5 discussions on cyber security.


Stephen Hawker – Senior Associate

Stephen Hawker is a former senior member of the UK intelligence and security community.  Since 2006 he has worked as an independent consultant providing insight to government and the commercial sector in the UK and overseas on national security and intelligence issues.

He was until recently a member of the Advisory Board of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence.

He has undertaken significant assignments at Board level in the public and private sectors including Capability Reviews of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), benchmarking reviews of overseas security and intelligence services, and other capacity building and training in Africa and the Middle East.

In 2011 he undertook an independent international review of security clearance arrangements for the government of New Zealand.

Stephen is a Non-Executive Director of FCO Services and chairman of Critical-Link Ltd and is an independent member of the FCO Consular Management Board.  He was specialist adviser to the House of Lords sub-committee reviewing the EU’s Internal Security Strategy in 2011 and one of the ‘Critical Friends’ advising the Home Office on security arrangements for the 2012 London Olympics.


Fiona Seward – Deputy Director

Fiona leads on the special project work we undertake, advisory work and strategic engagement with the public sector.


Becky Banbury – Business Engagement Manager


Susannah Shaw – Marketing Co-ordinator


Adele Ogston – Database Co-ordinator


Jakob Smith – Business and Organisation Support

Cityforum Associates & Advisors

We work with a wide network of exceptional individuals who value and care about what we do.  A number of those who work with us on a regular basis are listed below:

Geoffrey Bell

Geoffrey Bell is President of Geoffrey Bell and Company which advises a wide range of central banks and governments on their international reserve asset and liability management programmes. He has acted as financial advisor to the Government of Barbados for more than twenty five years and the Government of Jamaica for over a decade. The company acts as a consultant to major corporations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe providing advice on capital market transactions as well as undertaking economic, financial and country risk analysis. The company also specializes in bank regulation and has worked closely on issues relating to the Basel Banking Committee. Geoffrey Bell was Chairman of Guinness Mahon Holdings, one of London’s oldest merchant banks, from October 1987 to April 1993 and negotiated its sale to the Bank of Yokohama in 1989.

Born in Grimsby in 1939 and educated at the London School of Economics, he joined H.M. Treasury after graduation. In 1963 he was a Visiting Scholar with the Federal Reserve System mainly based at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. During 1964 and 1965 he lectured on monetary economics at the London School of economics. Between 1966 and 1969 he was Economic Advisor to the British Embassy in Washington. In 1969 he joined one of London’s leading merchant banks, Schroders, as Assistant to the then Chairman, Gordon Richardson, who later became Governor of the Bank of England. He became a director of the company as well as an Executive Vice President of J. Henry Schroder Bank in New York working on the international expansion of the group.

Geoffrey Bell formed his own company in 1982. He was the Founder and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Consultative Group of International Economic and Monetary Affairs known as the Group of 30 which is chaired by Paul Volcker and Jean-Claude Trichet. His book, “The Euro-Dollar Market and the International Financial System” has been translated into French and Japanese and has written often in the International Herald Tribune and in other financial journals. Geoffrey Bell was appointed a Governor of the London School of Economics in 1994. Geoffrey Bell is a Director of the international insurance company AXIS and is Director of Kroll Bond Rating Agency. He is Chairman of the Guyana Americas Merchant Bank and a member of the Advisory Panel of Swiss Re. He was until 2012 Chairman of Prologis European Properties, the Warehousing Company.


Rt Hon Hazel Blears

Initially trained as a lawyer in private practice and local government, she was a councillor on Salford City Council for 8 years and was elected to Parliament in 1997.

Hazel held ministerial roles in Government in relation to Health, Police and Counter Terrorism and as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  She led through the change to community policing and developed the ‘Prevent’ strategy.  Whilst out of Government she was a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee.  Within that role she recently contributed to the report on the role of Women within the UK Intelligence Community.


Paul Britton

Paul is a Consultant Clinical, Organisational and Forensic Psychologist.  He founded psychological profiling in the UK and was invited by the Home Office to review international developments in the field and recommend a national development strategy for the UK.  He headed the Trent Regional Forensic Psychology Service and sat on the ACPO sub-committee on offender profiling for some years, remaining an independent consultant for several more, before relinquishing these commitment to focus on today’s more acute applications of adversarial and defensive psychology.

Being a Psychological Analyst, an Incident Response Strategist and an Executive Operationalist, he has been involved in several hundred investigations and critical episodes, including many of the most high profile cases of recent years: he has direct experience with terrorists from both the Northern Ireland and Middle Eastern arenas, and developed a methodology for identifying terrorist cell members from their behavioural traces, and predicting their subsequent likely journey and target preferences.  In acute risk and crisis management consulting he has worked with international law enforcement, banking, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.  He originated and developed one of the most successful hostage, siege, abduction and extortion response systems currently available, working with law enforcement and corporate clients in this area.   He advises the insurance industry on terrorism and has a particular interest in the minds and future behaviour of those engaged in terrorist, sabotage, critical process disruption and organised international criminal activity.  His consultancy, Britton Associates, has long experience in competitive individual and corporate performance development, in addition to the areas described above.


General Sir Jack Deverell

Lieutenant General Jack Deverell was educated at King Edward’s School, Bath and entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 1964.  He was commissioned into the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry in December 1965.

As a Junior Officer he served in Aden, Norway, Northern Ireland and the School of Infantry, Warminster.  After further tours in Germany, Northern Ireland and Belize, he was posted to Division II of the Army Staff Course in October 1975.  He attended the Royal Naval Staff College at Greenwich between January and August 1977.

From the Royal Naval Staff College he was posted as Brigade Major of the 3 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland.  After commanding a Company of the 1 Battalion The Light Infantry he was posted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as a Company Commander and then commanded 3 Battalion The Light Infantry from 1984 to 1986 in Tidworth and Omagh, Co Tyrone.  In December 1986, he was appointed Directing Staff (Infantry 2) at the Royal Military College of Science and attended the first Higher Command and Staff Course from January to March 1998 at the Staff College, Camberley.

In April 1988 he assumed the appointment of Military Director Studies Weapons and Vehicles Division, Royal Military College of Science.  Between December 1988 and December 1990, he commanded 1 Infantry Brigade/United Kingdom Mobile Force.

During 1991 he attended the National Defence College in New Delhi, India after which he became the Director of Army Recruiting and on promotion to Major General assumed the appointment of Director Army Manning and Recruiting on April 16 1993.  In July 1995 he assumed the appointment of Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.  He also became Colonel of the Light Infantry in October 1996.  He took up the appointment of Deputy Commander in Chief/Inspector General Territorial Army as a Lieutenant General on October 27, 1997.  He assumed the appointment of Deputy Commander Operations (DCOMOPS) of the NATO SFOR in Bosnia and Hercegovina in September 1998.


Christina Dykes

Christina has an extensive knowledge of the political process, on developing leadership and effectiveness, and on diversity. Responsible for redesigning the Conservative Party’s approach to candidates assessment (a system which is largely still in use) and for introducing the Party’s first out-reach programme, to further encourage fairness Christina pioneered the application of organizational development techniques in politics.

After three decades of experience working directly with senior central and local elected politicians and policy makers, she has excellent connections, and an in-depth understanding of democratic networks and the processes which underpins them. Her knowledge and application have proved useful as a Trustee and a Governor of charities and she has lectures on the value of political leadership in management.

She is an Associate of the Institute of Government, an adviser to Citizens UK Commission on Islamic communities and an adviser to the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP on community cohesion.  She is also studying for a PhD.


Guy Fithen

Guy Fithen is an associate and a communications advisor with over twenty years’ international experience in working with business leaders, private clients and cabinet-level politicians to help them deliver their messages to critical audiences effectively and with confidence.

He has worked for clients and on deals in every FTSE sector as well as with banks, private equity houses, hedge funds and global law firms.

In parallel with his career in communications, Guy has worked in the entertainment world, writing, acting and directing for stage and screen from the Royal Shakespeare Company to Hollywood.

In Westminster, Guy has long-standing personal coaching relationships and helps rising stars and senior figures across the House with speeches and media-handling.

Guy’s skills are particularly valued by clients in crisis situations, in preparation for M&A and exit, strategic online communications and in all aspects of media handling from a call with a journalist to a broadcast interview.


Peter Hillyard

Peter has extensive experience in fixed income, currencies and commodities.

He began his career in banking in 1985 at The Chase Manhattan Bank before joining Barclays Bank in 1992 as Managing Director and Head of Global Precious Metals.

After working for Bank of America’s Global Derivatives Product Group he joined Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (‘ANZ’) in 2000 with responsibility for extending the reach of the banks markets business outside the Asia Pacific Region.

He left ANZ in 2012 to set up an independent consultancy providing strategic guidance, advice on new business development and risk management.  He has also provided structured training on financial markets and hedging strategies in both public and in-house programmes throughout the world.


Chris Hurran

Chris recently completed more than 45 years of public service in the Royal Engineers, the Diplomatic Service, NISCC and CPNI.  In NISCC he led all aspects of contingency and crisis management planning including delivery of the NISCC exercise programme.  In CPNI he was responsible for the delivery of research based guidance and tools on personnel security issues to the UK CNI.  Now an independent consultant, Chris advises international companies and government organisations on managing insider risk (particularly cyber insiders – both malign and unwitting).

He is also a Director of Cyber Security Challenge UK and a Member of the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists.


Stephen Otter

Stephen started his police career in 1982 in Thames Valley Police before moving to the Royal Hong Kong Police as an inspector – where he led teams in CID and ‘vice’ – tackling the unlawful sex trade and drugs supply.  He then spent 13 years in the Metropolitan Police Service leaving the force at the rank of Commander.  He went on to serve as Assistant and then Deputy Chief Constable in Avon and Somerset Constabulary.  Before his appointment as HMI, Stephen was the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police between 2007 and 2012.  In 2008, Stephen was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.


Bishop Peter Selby

Peter Selby’s nearly 50 years as a priest have taken him in unusual directions.  After a curacy in north-west London, he spent the next 15 years were in various appointments concerned with laity and clergy education, while undertaking doctoral research in New Testament.  In 1984 he became Area Bishop of Kingston.  His clinical pastoral education at theological collage took him to San Quentin prison in 1965, where he acquired his lifelong interest in prison issues.  So, after 5 years as a research professor at Durham and during his time as Bishop of Worcester, he became in addition the Bishop to Prisons, often speaking in the many criminal justice debates in the House of Lords; then after retirement he served as President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs have oversight of human rights and rehabilitation issues in prisons and immigration detention).  He then became a member of the interim directing team at St Paul’s Institute, the Cathedral’s agency for relating to the financial sector in the City, enabling him to continue another longstanding interest, the workings of the finance.  Among a number of books his two most recent are on this theme:  Grace and Mortgage: the Language of Faith and the Debt of the World (a book which some suggest was prescient of the crisis of 2007) and An Idol Unmasked, a Faith Perspective on Money.