Sir Howard Bernstein

Sir Howard Bernstein has been Chief Executive of Manchester City Council since 1998 and was knighted for his services in 2003. He has driven Manchester’s regeneration, through strong public/private sector partnerships.  Key achievements include a leading role in: renewal of the centre following the 1996 terrorist bombing; securing Manchester as Host City for the highly successful 2002 Commonwealth Games; introduction of Metrolink and its on-going expansion across the conurbation;  establishment of Manchester Airport plc in the mid-1980’s and its recent expansion; public sector reform, including the establishment of GM Combined Authority. Sir Howard has been involved in several external appointments and is currently Non-Executive Chair of Manchester Academic Health Science Centre and Deputy Chair of the HS2 Growth Task Force.

Clare Huber, Chester West and Chester Council

Clare has worked for the Council since August 2010; prior to this she worked in the industry for a range of specialist sub-contractors, predominantly in the roofing and cladding sector. She has worked on a large range and scale of both domestic and international projects and is currently responsible for the Council’s key regeneration projects £80m Barons Quay Development and the £300m Chester City Northgate Development, as well as a number of large Housing Developments across the Borough of Cheshire West and Chester.  Clare is also a member of the NWCH Board.

Don Ward, Constructing Excellence

Don Ward has been the Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence for eight years. He is a leading figure in the UK construction industry ‘reform movement’, and is a passionate champion of collaborative working in all its forms. He specialises in industry change, supply chain integration, collaborative working, benchmarking and sustainability, with thirty years’ experience of studying, implementing and learning from best practice and change programmes in the construction and infrastructure industries in the UK and overseas. He is an advisor to the UK government’s Cabinet Office, and is also Co-Director of the Centre for Infrastructure Development at Manchester Business School. Previous roles included chief executive of the Design Build Foundation (2001-2006) and Construction Industry Board (1996-2001), and before that head of Energy Efficiency in Housing at the Building Research Establishment.

Jocelyne Underwood, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Jocelyne is the Construction Membership Manager at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, responsible for creating a specialist Property & Construction programme for the sector. The newly formed construction team coordinate the Chambers events, skills, research and policy activity, as well as creating the pioneering ‘Construction Pipeline Analysis’ model.

Previously to this role, Jocelyne managed the Greater Manchester Construction Group Training Association for two years, following a five year stint at the Capital Programme Division, Manchester City Council. During her time at the City Council, Jocelyne won the ‘Leadership & People Development’ and ‘Making a difference to Manchester People’ awards for her work managing the ‘Manchester People into Construction’ project.

John Finlay, North West Construction Hub

John has been the Framework Manager of the North West Construction Hub since early 2013, having been previously involved in the procurement and management of the various frameworks since 2009.  He is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor who was subsequently appointed Procurement Manager of Corporate Technical Services for Manchester City Council in 2003.  Since then John has had a key role in assisting Manchester City Council in developing and operating new partnered framework arrangements to deliver construction programmes and construction related consultancy services.

He has taken an active role in managing his Procurement Team and Partners in line with ‘Best Value’, Latham, Egan, Gershon, National Procurement initiatives, and more recently Government Construction Strategy.


Keith Heard, National Association for Construction Frameworks

Keith is a Chartered Civil Engineer with experience in all aspects of the procurement, design, delivery and commissioning of building and civil engineering projects, gained through a career working for contractors, project managers and client bodies. Keith is a Project Manager experienced in, and passionately supportive of, the integrated team approach to working, which was developed over 12 years with BAA. During the last nine years with Hampshire County Council, Keith has led on regional procurement and joint working initiatives. These arrangements have delivered around £500m building projects each year since 2006 for over 60 public authorities in the SE, and have delivered over £100m in efficiency savings. Keith is Chair of the National Association of Construction Frameworks, a new Public Sector collaboration sponsored by the LGA.


Mike Horne, Liverpool City Council

Mike is a Project Manager and has been running large capital programmes over the past 10 years at Liverpool City Council involving Highways and public realm followed by BSF and Academies and more recently the Liverpool Schools Investment Programme – a key pledge for the Mayor of Liverpool. Mike is an advocate for using frameworks to deliver true partnering environment and the delivery of local benefits.  Mike is also a member of the NWCH Board.

Professor Peter McDermott, University of Salford

Peter is a Professor of Construction Procurement in the School of the Built Environment at the University of Salford. From the academic base he manages research contracts and doctoral studies concerning, inter alia, strategic procurement, construction supply chains, and construction industry development.  He has advised and consulted with a wide range of local authorities and government departments on their response to changes in the sector – due to economic conditions or government policy drives. 

He was a member of IUK/Cabinet Office Joint Steering Group for the Construction and Infrastructure Strategies.  He co-authored the “Effectiveness of Frameworks” report on behalf of the Cabinet Office.  He is currently working on a range of research and applied projects concerned with Social Value in construction and infrastructure. Peter is also a NWCH Board Member.


Stephen Ratcliffe, UK Contractors Group

Stephen is director of the UK Contractors Group (UKCG), which, working with the CBI Construction Council, aims to deliver a more powerful representative voice for the construction industry.  Its membership comprises both construction companies and construction industry trade associations. 

Stephen has worked in the construction industry for nearly 20 years and was formerly Chief Executive of the Construction Confederation and director of the Major Contractors Group.

Before joining the construction industry, Stephen was a senior civil servant holding a variety of jobs at the Department of Trade and Industry and Foreign Office, including private secretary to the Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham, a cabinet minister in the Thatcher government.

Phil Cusack, Capita Design Engineering and Management

Phil is the Immediate Past President of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and a former Chair of the Chamber’s Property and Construction Group.  He is a Director of the Chamber, a Director of the Manchester Growth Company and a member of the Strategic Board of the Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone.  He has been a Board Member of The Atlantic Gateway, The North Liverpool Urban Regeneration Partnership and Greater Manchester Skills Solutions.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Manchester Metropolitan University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning and Postgraduate Diplomas in Marketing and Management.  He is a Chartered Town Planner, a Chartered Marketer, A Chartered Manager and an Affiliate of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Phil has worked for major contractors in the North West including Wimpey Construction, Tarmac and Kier as well as for consultants AECOM before joining Capita in 2014.