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Boundary Commission for England

Assistant Commissioners

Assistant Commissioners are appointed to assist the Commission in conducting the review of Parliamentary constituencies. For the 2018 Review, 21 Assistant Commissioners were appointed, for an initial term of 1 September 2016 – 31 August 2017.

Between two and three Assistant Commissioners were appointed for each of the nine regions in England, one of whom in each region was designated as the ‘lead Assistant Commissioner’ for that region. The lead Assistant Commissioners had their appointments extended for a further 12 months on a contingency basis, but in the event were not called upon.

Assistant Commissioners:

  • attend as many as possible of the public hearings held in the region of England to which they are assigned. Lead Assistant Commissioners are expected to chair as many as possible of the public hearings in their region;
  • assist with the Secretariat’s analysis of all representations relating to that region following the initial and secondary consultation periods; and
  • contribute to the production of a written paper from the Secretariat to the Commissioners, recommending any revisions to the proposals for that region, and attend in person at the presentation of that paper to the Commissioners.

The Commission may also ask any Assistant Commissioner to assist it in the discharge of such other of its statutory duties as it sees fit.

The Assistant Commissioners who worked on the 2018 Review were:


Sarah Hamilton (Lead) Sarah is a solicitor, with over 20 years experience working in partnership with complex public sector organisations, including NHS Trusts, local councils, and police authorities. She recently retired from being a partner in a City law firm, in order to concentrate on her work for public sector organisations.

Sarah has diverse board level experience, including non-executive director of CILEx Law School, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Trust (which she chairs and sits on the Quality, Safety, and Governance Committee).

Sarah is also a Mental Health Act Manager for Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust, where she chairs hearings. She also acts as a school Governor.

Laura Jane Smallwood Laura formerly practised as a barrister specialising in landlord and tenant and property law. She currently sits on the Independent Agricultural Appeals Panel, which considers appeals against decisions of the Rural Payments Agency and Natural England under the EU Common Agricultural Policy.


East Midlands

Scott Handley JP (Lead) Scott was born and brought up in North Wales. He graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a B.Eng. (Hons) in Civil Engineering. Since 1991 he has been a partner at The Handley Partnership, consulting engineers. In 2010, he was appointed as a Magistrate in North Yorkshire.

He has many years of experience in engineering design, data and risk analysis, and geographic information systems. He is a specialist in the modelling of condition change in historic buildings. He serves on the Spatial Mapping Steering group of the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Group.

He lives in North Yorkshire and is married with two grown up children.

Ashraf Khan Ashraf Khan was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1999. He is a member of 2 Bedford Row, London; a leading Chambers specialising serious crime, complex fraud and regulatory law. He is also an approved advocate at the International Criminal Court and a registered practitioner at the Dubai International Finance Centre.

Ashraf is married with two children.



Howard Simmons (Lead) Howard has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors starting as a grass roots community worker. He subsequently worked in several Local Authorities becoming a Chief Officer responsible initially for Cultural Services, then Regeneration and Community Investment before becoming an Assistant Chief Executive responsible for Corporate Policy and Performance.

Howard then moved to a National and Regional role with the Audit Commission, responsible for Governance Inspections, Value for Money and Service Delivery Evaluations across the Public Sector.

Howard is currently a Consultant specialising in Governance, Organisational Improvement and Change Management.

Emma Davy Emma Davy is a solicitor with over 20 years experience. She has sat as a Deputy District Judge on the Western Circuit since 2006 and has acted as an Independent Assessor for the Student Loans Company since 2015.

Emma was educated in West Sussex and subsequently attended Exeter University where she gained an LL.B and LL.M in Law.

She has 2 children and resides in the South West of England.

Richard Wald Richard Wald was called to the bar in 1997. He specializes, and is ranked by the main directories, in the following areas of law: Planning, Environmental, Energy, Administrative and Public Law (including Local Government).

He edits Thompson’s Bulletin of Environmental Law, contributes to Tromans on EIA Law and Practice, Tromans on Nuclear Law and is co-author of Butterworth’s Highways Law and Practice.

He was appointed to the Attorney General’s B-Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown in 2009.


North East

Eileen Brady (Lead) Eileen Brady qualified as a barrister in 1995, and continued to practice until 2013 in the areas of Criminal, Child Support, and Regulatory Heath Care law.

In 2009 she was appointed to the Road Service Panel of Independent Pubic Inquiry Inspectors.

In 2010 she was appointed as Legal Member / Chair of the Exceptional Circumstances Tribunal.

From July – December 2013 she was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as Assistant District Electoral Areas Commissioner for Northern Ireland.

In May 2014 she was appointed Chair of the Northern Ireland Social Care Council Conduct Committees.

Adele Baumgardt


Adele is an independent consultant having previously worked in the Equal Opportunities Commission. Now a self employed consultant on all aspects of equality and diversity,

Adele was a Board Member of Sport Wales until March 2012 and has actively worked on increasing women and girls participation in sport for a number of years. She was appointed as Vice Chair of Sport Wales in September 2012 and has been reappointed for a further three years from September 2015.

From February 2013 to July 2016 Adele was appointed as Wales representative to the Social Security Advisory Committee responsible for advising all social security Ministers on legislation and policy.


North West

Neil Ward (Lead) Former senior civil servant, experienced Chief Executive, Management Consultant and Assistant Commissioner drawing on an extensive track record up to and including Board level gained in a successful career across eight government departments, three executive agencies (two as Chief Executive) and the private sector, with over 30 years experience of working in partnership with Ministers of both main political parties and with senior stakeholders and business partners developing both policy and delivery.

Married, with two grown up children.

Graeme Clarke Graeme Clarke is a solicitor by profession. He is not currently in private practice, but sits as a Fee-Paid Judge of the Social Entitlement Chamber, a Fee-Paid Judge of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, and a Legally Qualified Chairperson of the Appeals Tribunal of Northern Ireland.
Nicholas Elliott QC Nicholas Elliott QC is a retired barrister. Following a law degree from Bristol University, he was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn, in 1972. From 1985-2014 he practised at chambers at 3 Verulam Buildings, Gray’s Inn, as a commercial barrister.

Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1995, he has previously been appointed and Assistant Commissioner for the Boundary Commission for England 2000-2007 and 2011-13.

He is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn, Trustee of Gray’s Inn Scholarship Trust, joint editor of ‘Banking Litigation’, principal editor of ‘Byles on Bills of Exchange and Cheques’, and Governor of Dauntsey’s School.


South East

Colin Byrne (Lead) Colin Byrne was a civil servant for over 30 years and spent time in a variety of Government Departments as well as the European Commission and the Health and Safety Executive. In his last role he was Regional Director at the Government Office for the South East, where he was responsible for the activities of 11 Whitehall Departments’ activities in the region.

Following retirement he was appointed an Assistant Commissioner for the 2013 Boundary Commission Review and is currently a governor of the Guildford College Group, a trustee of Guildford Citizens Advice Bureau, and a non-executive director of a housing association.

Stephen Lawes Stephen Lawes qualified as a chartered accountant in 1980 and has enjoyed a wide ranging career in senior financial management in the private and public sectors – including in public transport, local government and further education.

He has recently retired as Vice Principal of a large inner London further education college. He also is a non-executive director of a multi academy trust serving young people with special educational needs.

While originally from a farming family, Stephen has lived in in South West London for almost 40 years; he is married and has three married children.


South West

Anita Bickerdike (Lead) Anita Bickerdike was admitted as a solicitor in 1987 and worked in the legal profession for 29 years. She has a degree in law, a masters degree in management, is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a member of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development. She held several senior posts and has extensive experience of conducting hearings and chairing independent committees.

She works with several sports’ National Governing Bodies, is a Director on the Board and Chair of the Disciplinary Committee of Badminton England, Chair of the Case Management Panel for Archery GB and undertakes consultancy work.

Catherine Elliott Catherine Elliott is a lawyer by profession, having worked in the City before moving to Bristol, where she became a partner in a large corporate law firm. She left this career after twenty years and chose to devote her energies to the public and third sectors.

She has worked, on a non-executive basis, in the criminal justice system, in the fields of social care and wage control, and as an unpaid advocate for vulnerable groups.

She currently chairs hearings for two regulatory bodies and for the Police. She also chairs care funding appeals for the NHS.

She lives in Devon


West Midlands

Margaret Gilmore (Lead) Margaret Gilmore is a Non-Executive Director with the regulator the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Before that she spent six years on the Board of the UK Food Standards Agency.

She is a Senior Associate Fellow with the leading security think tank RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) and writes and lectures on counter terrorism and national security.

She was a Senior BBC TV Correspondent for more than 20 years. As Home Affairs Correspondent she covered the 2005 London bombings and 9/11. She also worked as Environment and Agriculture Correspondent, and on Newsnight and Panorama.

David Latham Qualified as a solicitor and practiced in private practice in Hull mostly in company and commercial matters but also as managing partner of the practices. In July 1996 appointed full time in the judiciary as an Employment judge having. In October 2001 appointed Regional Employment Judge for London Central and appointed President of the Employment Tribunals (England and Wales) on 1 January 2009. Retired from that position on 31 March 2014. Appointed to the Determinations Panel of the Pension Regulator on 1 April 204 – continues, and Chair of the Board of Northampton Partnership Homes October in 2014 – continues.

Member of Rotary for over 17 years.


Yorkshire and the Humber

John Feavyour QPM (Lead) John Feavyour was a police officer for over 30 years, rising to the rank of Deputy Chief Constable.  He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the 2013 birthday honours list for “distinguished service.”

John’s specialist area of policing was professional standards – he held the police service national portfolio for complaints and misconduct, chaired misconduct panels nationwide and helped draft new statutory regulations and guidance.

Since leaving the police service, John has given his time to charities in his home town of Market Harborough, including community transport and initiatives to develop and support local people and projects.

Collette Rawnsley Collette Rawnsley was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1998. She has an MA in European Legal Studies from the University of Leeds and an LLB (Hons) in Law with French from the University of Buckingham. Collette is currently a counsel in Shearman & Sterling LLP’s London and Brussels offices, where her work focuses on EU and UK competition law and regulation. Prior to entering private practice, Collette was the Senior Reféréndaire at the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and, before that, a barrister in the Government Legal Service.

Collette is married and lives in London.

The Commission maintained a Register of Interests for the Assistant Commissioners during their period of office.