Validated Lead Expert
B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development:
My professional career has been about sustainable urban development in various contexts, not the physical regeneration side but the social, economic and community engagement actions that are essential for local change. I have over 25 years’ experience working on social and economic exclusion in different countries. I started in Government (UK) on social protection policy then I moved to work for a large Regional Authority working in an Unemployment Initiatives Unit responsible for developing and delivering area regeneration and labour market projects for disadvantaged communities. Since 2000 my work has been about social and economic inclusion, focusing on the Roma population in Europe. In 2005/6 I was the lead author of the publication The Glass Box; Systemic Exclusion from the Labour Market. I am a labour market economist, and in 2006 I consolidated my work experience with a Masters’ of Science from the University of Glasgow, the subject of my thesis was Roma Unemployment in Central and Eastern Europe. From 2009 – 2013 I had the opportunity to be lead expert on two URBACT Networks, ROMA-Net I and II, both focusing on engaging and building the capacity, know-how and commitment of the local authorities and local stakeholders to develop and deliver local integrated action plans for Roma inclusion.
1 - Applicant has 10+ years experience with topics related to sustainable urban development, including being lead expert on URBACT networks.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level:
My professional expertise has been about delivering different types of transnational learning and exchange practices for 15 years. From December 2014 I led a team for DG Justice which engaged 20 local authorities from 12 EU Member States in transnational exchange and learning activities. I applied a range of methods to motivate information sharing, peer learning and co-production between practitioners. I developed a methodology to for exchange and learning between 140 journalists from 21 EU Member States. I was an URBACT lead expert from 2009 – 2013 when I designed and delivered transnational exchange and learning actions between nine local authorities. From 2002 to 2014 I was either component leader in transnational Twinning programmes or mission leader of multi-country monitoring and evaluation teams when learning was at the core and the transnational exchange dynamic created a forum that consolidated this learning. For me the art of transnational exchange is much more than setting up meetings between people from different countries. It is about creating an environment where participants share experience and are open to learn from each other to grow their expertise. It is not about lecturing on how things should be done, but about putting practitioners into a situation where they can examine and question their existing practices and beliefs. In that way they can feel empowered to question, adjust, improve working practices even change negative perceptions.
1 - Applicant has participated in multiple transnational activities that include the process of exchange & learning.
B.3. Proficiency in English:
English is my mother tongue. But that is not enough, the skill is about being a good communicator. I am able to listen, to understand, to interpret, and to add knowledge so people actively engage with me in conversation or debate. I have lived and worked in many countries in Europe and Asia and through this I have developed the skills to communicate well with people who use the English language, but it is not their mother tongue. I have led teams of professionals working, speaking and writing in English although not their mother tongue. My monitoring and evaluation work has put me in the situation of having to conduct many face-to-face information gathering meetings with officials from different countries, including senior Government officials who speak English as a second language. My international team leader experience means I have grown the skills to read, understand, edit and improve documents written by people writing English as a second language. My recent years as lead expert on an URBACT network has allowed me to further develop my skills to lead and facilitate group exchanges and discussions with people who have English, but not as their mother tongue. I have good listening skills which help me understand the points people are trying to articulate. More than having good English it’s about good communication and inter-personal skills, which I have proven, over and over again with my ability to sustain international work for more than 15 years
1 - Applicant is not only proficient in English (mother tongue) but is also a skilled verbal and written communicator, including with people whose mother language is not English.
Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers:
Communicating with people who do not speak English as their first language has been part of my working experiences since 2001. Communication for inclusion lends itself to using different communication methods to articulate complex situations. I have used various tools such as powerpoint and prezi to support presentations, using many images rather than text. I regularly ask participants to describe their thinking or visions in illustrations. Recently in October 2016 I was the main developer of a ‘Living Library’ where I supported people to be a human book using active story-telling to convey messages that challenge the highly damaging discriminating stereotypes that limit the life chances of people from minority groups.
1 - Applicant provides multiple valid examples of how she implemented an effective communication approach targeted at people to get them to share complex concepts.
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants:
I regularly use visualization to demonstrate particular situations. In speech I have developed the skills to describe situations in pictures to articulate and achieve common understanding. As a workshop or learning event facilitator I use a simple methodology to collect the learning points achieved by participants. I have used this in many settings, as a trainer delivering project cycle management training, as a facilitator of active learning workshops and in awareness raising sessions with journalists. It encourages people to verbalise their learning. In Roma-Net I and II, I prepared 8 case studies which provided examples of local situations and practices used to tackle local problems. In 2014 I produced a peer review tool to examine the process of developing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating dedicated employment and training activities in the city of Glasgow. This was completed by 8 participating local authorities in an interactive review process. In 2015 I was team leader who carried out a review of EU funded civil society programmes in the Western Balkans and Turkey. I produced the overview report which provided conclusions and recommendations and co-produced the summary report which provided good practice examples for the civil society organisations. In 2016 in the for Roma, with Roma I prepared fact sheets, one for each of the 20 participating local authorities which provided examples of good practice to tackle complex local problems.
1 - Applicant provides multiple valid examples of outputs created to prepare for meetings (case studies, peer review tool, overview report, etc.)
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away:
Roma-Net I included learning clusters each of which focused on the key issues most local authorities face in relation to Roma inclusion – education, health, housing and employment. The knowledge and learning from these learning clusters were incorporated into case studies and thematic newsletters. A feature of all Roma-Net I and II exchange events was the capture of ‘learning point’ a simple but effective methodology which provided participants with a summary of the discussions and key messages. The learning points were prepared, interactively, during the meeting and distributed to participants afterwards. During the for Roma, with Roma local authority exchange event in October 2016, participants completed postcards which identified ‘what did I hear that inspired me’. The post cards were displayed during the event then copied and distributed to all participants as a reminder of the stories that were shared and the reasons why others found them inspiring.
1 - Applicant provides several highly relevant examples of methodologies employed to capture learning for participants. These include creating learning points after exchange events and creating postcards after events for participants to reflect on the newly acquired knowledge.
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages:
As part of Roma-Net I co-produced with input from many partners a set of 8 good practice guides. The format and content of the package of guides received very positive feedback from the URBACT thematic pole managers and from local authority representatives who received the documents. These good practice guides provided useful information for local authorities to share and to improve understanding of various Roma inclusion principal policy areas such as poverty, unemployment, health, housing and movement across the EU. In the for Roma with Roma activity campaign I co-produced 20 Factsheets which summarise the good practice of each participating local authority. These are concise documents that are available for download on the DG Justice website. I am also a monitor of projects in the Western Balkans for DG Near. This process demands the preparation of concise reports which provide examples of good practice combined with policy and operational recommendations.
1 - Applicant provides several examples of reports incorporating good practices. Roma Net, DG Near, etc.
Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
The art of transnational exchange, for me, is much more than simply setting up meetings between people from different countries it is about creating an environment where participants share experience and are open to learn from each other to grow their expertise. It is not about lecturing on how things should be done, but about putting practitioners into a situation where they can examine and question their existing practices and beliefs. In that way they can feel empowered to question, adjust and improve working practices, even change beliefs. I’ve been delivering various transnational learning and exchange practices for the last 15 years. As the lead expert for Roma-Net I facilitated the creation of a supportive and developmental exchange and learning environment for 9 local authorities to come together to and build knowledge and capacity. The success of this network was about building common interests, common understanding but at the same time recognizing that the approach to situations can be different but equally successful. For two years until early 2017 I led a project team on a DG Justice contract which engaged 20 local authorities from 12 EU Member States in transnational exchange and learning activities. In 2016 I co-produced and was lead facilitator of 8 transnational anti-discrimination seminars for European media/ journalist with Roma people.
Theme / Policy:
Active Inclusion of Target Groups
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.:
My knowledge and professional expertise is in the field of local economic development, social inclusion, most recently with a focus on tackling Roma exclusion and segregation. I have an MSc from the University of Glasgow and post graduate diplomas on relevant subjects including, dynamics of the labour market, social and economic exclusion, training and human resource development and strategic decision making. I was a development practitioner for Strathclyde Regional Council (West of Scotland, UK) for five years from 1990 – 1995 in an unemployment initiatives unit. I was responsible for the development and delivery of a range of new projects to tackle unemployment. For 3 years from 1997- 2000 I was Team Leader for a social inclusion partnership tackling poverty and exclusion in a number of disadvantaged communities in Scotland, UK. I was responsible for developing partnerships between key institutions and for engaging the community in the decision-making process. In 2004 – 2006 I completed an evaluation of the European Union’s pre-accession assistance to Roma Minorities in five countries – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia. This involved extensive field research and reporting about the issues being faced by Roma populations in Europe. This was one of the first publications which highlighted the extent of Roma exclusion in Central and Eastern Europe, and brought it to the attention of the European Commission.
1 - Applicant shows 10+ years of professional and academic experience in the topic of Active Inclusion of Target Groups and shows a deep knowledge and the policy challenges related to the field.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved:
I have provided thematic inputs to enhance the learning process in all transnational projects that I have been involved in. In Romania and Kosovo I was part of transnational Twinning projects responsible for designing and delivering various capacity building inputs for senior civil servants. In 2014 I was team leader responsible for completing a review of the EC’s investment in civil society development in the Western Balkans and Turkey. This reviewed the activities of over 200 organisations and included extensive field work and comparative analysis. I produced the final synthesis report which included policy and operational conclusions and recommendations and presented the finding to the EC operational managers and to representatives of the participating civil society organisations. As the lead expert on Roma Net I and II I designed the transnational learning cluster meetings on the subjects of education, housing, health and employment and led the delivery on each subject. I provided professional input at two-day seminars attended by journalists, NGO representatives, government officials and the European Commission. I used an intellectual and command approach to set the scene and the context for each event. On day one I set up guided (cooperative) conversations between Roma people and the group of journalists and between NGOs and journalists.
1 - Applicant provides multiple examples of thematic inputs produced in the learning process at a transnational level. Twinning projects (Romania and Kosovo), civil society development (Western Balkans and Turkey), Roma Net were all projects in which she produced thematic inputs.
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice:
As well as my social inclusion and urban development work, I am a result oriented monitor for the European Commission – DG Near. This work takes place in the Western Balkans and Turkey. It involves the assessment and review of a range of different projects including some being delivered by local authorities. I produce concise reports that accurately analyses the implementation actions and that goes on to provide conclusions and operational recommendations. To be of value the recommendations must be concise, relevant and practical. The recommendations are shared and discussed in an interactive debrief session, so have to be credible and accurate. As team leader the for Roma with Roma campaign for DG Justice, I was part of developing and disseminating a complex range of communication interventions across all EU Member States. For this I wrote, as well as edited and quality assured the content of communication materials for different target audiences, such as journalists, municipalities, schools and officials at different levels. We delivered three times weekly social media messages by twitter, Facebook and we wrote the content of for Roma with Roma pages on the DG Justice website. The project also produces a number of short films presenting the various actions delivered by the campaign. Since the start of 2017 I have been part of the team delivering a closed Facebook group designed for sharing information between journalists and Roma activists in 8 countries.
1 - Applicant provides multipleexamples of different types of reports created that incorporated good practices and policy messages.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes:
Throughout Roma-Net I and II I used the results achieved by the participating Cities and turned them in to articles in Newsletters and Thematic Guides for other local authorities. For all of these I was part of the writing team, which was an iterative process with other experts on the and city representatives’. The guides provide examples of practices from the Roma-net cities and they were widely disseminated to many cities in Europe. http://urbact.eu/sites/default/files/import/Projects/Roma_Net/documents_media/ROMA_miniguide_BACKGROUND.pdf In the for Roma, with Roma contract I was part of the co-production of the stories about Roma people which were used as part of interactive seminars with the media to challenge stereotypes frequently used by the media. My role was to identify the Ambassadors, gather information. I agreed the tone and the content of the final copy. The stories were later published on the DG Justice website and can be found here http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/roma/roma-twinnings-partners/index_en.htm For the same project I co-produced factsheets with 20 local authorities - I wrote a large amount of the content which was shared and finalised as part of an iterative process with other specialist on the team. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/roma/roma-twinnings-partners/index_en.htm Four newsletters can also be found on the DG Justice website, for these I identified the stories and had the final say on the content.
1 - Applicant shows examples of using project results to design strategies for capitalization, policy design and awareness.
Summary Thematic expertise:
My knowledge and professional expertise is about social and economic inclusion and local economic development. Most recently my focus has been on inclusion of Roma in Europe. Early in my working life I was a development practitioner working in an unemployment initiatives unit responsible for the development and delivery of a many new initiatives to tackle unemployment, such as the intermediate labour market for supported employment. I was also team leader of a social inclusion partnership tackling poverty and exclusion in several disadvantaged communities in Scotland, UK. I am a labour market economist, I have an MSc from the University of Glasgow and post graduate certificates in relevant subjects like dynamics of the labour market, social and economic exclusion, training and human resource development and strategic decision making. From 2009 – 2013, as an URBACT lead expert on Roma-Net I had the opportunity to transfer my knowledge and experience into working with local authority practitioners responsible for developing and implementing local Roma integration plans. Roma-Net strengthened the capacity of local practitioners to influence change in local polices and local service delivery. In 2006 I evaluated EC funding for Roma Minorities in – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia. This was one of the first publications that highlighted the extent of Roma exclusion in Europe and brought it to the attention of the European Commission.
Applicant is validated as lead expert for the thematic field of Active Inclusion of Target Groups, having received 4/4 points.
Expertise support to local authorities and other stakeholders in designing & delivering integrated and participatory policies
E.1. Knowledge on participatory methods and tools for co-production and implementation of local polices :
As lead expert on URBACT Roma-Net, I developed and delivered participatory methods such as proactive outreach to support individual practitioners during information gathering and to motivate local authority practitioners during the development of their local action plans. Between 2006 – 2009 I was delivering training in project cycle management for public officials in Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and the UK. I am experienced at using logical framework methodology to develop realistic and achievable intervention logic for various projects. I use this knowledge in most areas of my work as it provides a well-tested participatory framework for setting objectives, goals, expected results and indicators to measure results. My specialist field is about tackling discrimination and challenging the stereotypes that limit life opportunities for many Roma in Europe. This field is complicated, often generating differing views between practitioners from different countries. There have been times mediation has been required to promote discussion between different stakeholders. In one situation I put different stakeholders in to small action learning sets to enable the practitioners to unpick their complicated situations, this promoted stronger engagement and a level of peer learning which allowed practitioners to gain insight from each other. This provided a forum for practitioners to express their views and to challenge the working practices, and attitudes, of their peers.
1 - Applicant provides multiple examples in which she was involved in the design on participatory methods and tools.
E.2. Knowledge on integrated approach for the design, delivering, monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies/policies:
I have completed more than 30 independent evaluations of European Commission funded projects. From 2000 to 2004 I was the team leader of a team evaluating the pre-accession funding (PHARE) in Hungary. As a thematic expert I contributed to evaluation of social, economic and civil society programmes being delivered in the then pre-accession countries. I am also a result oriented monitoring expert and have delivered over 20 ROMs in the Western Balkans and Turkey. These have included monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies and policies in various countries. I am experienced in project cycle management so understand the role of ongoing monitoring and evaluation for all development situations. I understand indicators, and how they can be effectively used to measure change and recognise results. I have been a trainer in project cycle management on an ad hoc basis since 2005. My field of expertise is in social and economic inclusion which demands an integrated and cross sectoral approach to achieve results. The area of Roma inclusion is not a field where change happens quickly. It is a field where significant effort and resilience is required to ‘influence’ change in policies and local practices. In this context, setting milestones and measuring change against defined indicators is essential to evidence social change. During the Roma-Net delivery pilot, I supported the participating cities to develop indicators to monitor and measure change.
1 - Applicant provides examples of having been active in monitoring urban strategies and projects and includes the type of tools she in familiar with and has previously employed in project monitoring.
E.3. Awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level:
I use the internet to keep up to date with about sustainable urban development policies, trends and funds. After years working in this field I know where to look and what to look for. I also use social media Facebook and Twitter and I am on mailing lists with DG Regio, DG Employment and DG Justice which help to keep me aware of announcements about forthcoming funding opportunities. I attend conferences and events to keep up to date. Keeping up to date with funding opportunities has been part of my working life for over 20 years. During that time I have identified funding opportunities and developed project concepts to attract funding in a range of circumstances. I keep a group of local authority contacts up to date about funding opportunities from a range of community programmes relevant for Roma inclusion related actions, such as previously Progress, and most recently the Rights and Citizenship programme. In 2015 I prepared and won a contract with European Commission DG Justice to deliver a pan-European activity campaign to challenge discrimination and stereotypes against Roma. This involved working with schools, local authorities and the media across Europe.
1 - Applicant consults multiple sources (included as examples) to stay up to date on policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development.
E.4. Ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities:
As the Roma-Net lead expert I supported 9 local authorities to design and deliver a Roma inclusion plan relevant for their city. Each plan recognized that actions were required in the main policy areas of education, health, employment and housing but at the same time the plans had to reflect local needs and take account of local service delivery. In my earlier working life in Scotland I worked for Unemployment Initiatives Unit and was responsible for designing, developing projects to tackle unemployment in different localities in Scotland. Each project had to Prior Similarly in the DG Justice for Roma, with Roma campaign I supported the 20 local authorities to develop and deliver an action relevant in their local community. The actions were required to connect Roma and non-Roma people and to challenge stereotypes and in this context there was consistency in the theme and the aims of the actions, but the content was successfully adapted and delivered to take account of local situations.
1- Applicant provides multiple valid examples of being able to adapt tool in transnational settings.
I work in social and economic inclusion which demands an integrated and cross sectoral approach to achieve results. This is an area of work, especially when it focuses on Roma and other disadvantaged communities, where change does not occur quickly. I am experienced in project cycle management so understand the role of ongoing monitoring and evaluation to monitor and measure development situations. I understand indicators, and how they can be effectively used to measure change and recognise results. My specialism is about tackling discrimination and challenging the stereotypes that limit life opportunities. This work can generate differing views between practitioners from different countries. In Roma-Net I used various methods to engage and create the right environment to extract experience from local authority practitioners and to build a strong dynamic for sharing practices and views. This required innovation to stimulate active engagement. Roma-net, with my guidance, empowered practitioners to challenge the views and experiences of others in a positive and proactive environment with a strong exchange and learning focus. I am well connected to pan-European networks to keep up to date with current policies and practices in sustainable urban development and Roma integration. I keep informed about funding opportunities, and in the past have successfully supported different organisations to develop and attract funding from the European Commission.
Applicant is validated to provide expertise support to local authorities and other stakeholders in designing and delivering integrated and participatory policies, with 4 points. The answers demonstrate her expertise in integrates policies, a field she has been active and successful in for several years.