Pre-appointment hearing with the Government's preferred candidate for the post of Housing Ombudsman - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Appendix 3: Denise Fowler's CV


Deputy Legal Director, (recently Acting Legal Director at DCLG) with wide ranging leadership and management experience gained in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Significant experience of advising Ministers and senior officials on law, governance and propriety, including in relation to NDPBs. Housing law specialist in private practice and significant expertise in complaint resolution gained at the Housing Ombudsman.

Key Skills and attributes

·  Excellent legal knowledge and expertise

·  Experienced leader and manager, with a collaborative leadership style

·  Commands confidence of Ministers, Board and Senior Officials

·  Develops strong working relationships

·  Builds team and organisational capability

·  Experienced in independent , impartial dispute resolution

·  Experienced in brokering legal solutions to politically complex issues

·  Leads organisational change, including championing shared services

·  Experienced in corporate governance and financial management


Treasury Solicitors/ Department of Communities and Local Government

Acting Legal Director June to September 2014, December 2012 to January 2013

Led the legal team advising DCLG Ministers and officials. 64 lawyers in 5 legal teams Housing, Local Government, Planning (Reform and Casework), European Programmes and Local Growth. Advised personally on key issues. Introduced new robust governance and management processes for the Legal Directorate aligned to the new TSol shared service governance arrangements. Established an ongoing training programme to develop line management capability and confidence within the Directorate.

Deputy Director?Head of Planning Law, 2011-present

Member of senior management team, advising DCLG Ministers and officials on the reform of planning and environmental law, policy and guidance and (until April 2014) on Planning casework and litigation. Led 3 teams of lawyers (up to 22 lawyers in total). Key achievements included:

·  Localism Act 2011 (Bill and implementing SIs);

·  Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 (Bill and implementing SIs);

·  National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance;

·  Further Secondary legislation e.g. Community Infrastructure Levy, General Permitted Development Order.

Led a workstream in the Departmental Better Department change programme in 2012 "One Department One Team" to encourage collaborative working between policy, legal and other colleagues. And, as part of the move to TSol shared services, led on the introduction of more effective business planning arrangements and on new ways of working between policy colleagues and TSol litigation and advisory teams.

Department for Work & Pensions, Deputy Director?Head of Commercial Law 2008-2011

Member of senior management team responsible for leading a shared legal service providing commercial legal advice to DWP and the Department of Health Ministers and official. Led up to 44 lawyers in teams based in London, Leeds, Warrington and Blackpool. Advice included:

·  large scale public sector procurements

·  contractual negotiations

·  creation and dissolution of arms' length bodies

·  new commercial vehicles e.g. joint ventures

·  Freedom of Information and Data Protection and commercial confidentiality.

From December 2008 to April 2010 as Head of Employment Law I also advised on the whole range of employment legal issues including employee relations, TUPE, casework and employment litigation. Led a change programme to transform the way in which we delivered our commercial legal services which significantly increased customer satisfaction and reduced legal spend by more than 30%.

Department of Communities and Local Government, Head of Regeneration law, 2004-2008

Member of senior management team, advising DCLG Ministers and officials, including the Board on all aspects of regeneration law including

·  Housing & Regeneration Act 2008;

·  European Regional Development Fund regulations 2007;

·  Compulsory Purchase Procedure rules 2006;

·  establishment and sponsorship of NDPBs;

·  grant funding; and

·  Compulsory purchase law and oversight of compulsory purchase litigation.

Senior Lawyer, DCLG, 2002-2004

Public law advisory work including public and European litigation and the development and implementation of legislation in relation to housing. Key achievements included advising on the Anti—Social Behaviour Act 2003, the Housing Act 2004, the housing aspects of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Law Commission Review of Housing Tenure.

Independent Housing Ombudsman, Principal Investigator 2000-2002

Member of the Senior Management Team, responsible for all investigations into alleged maladministration by housing associations.

Cockar Morrison Fowler, Solicitors, Partner in legal aid practice, Head of Housing 1997-2000

One of three founding partners, head of the Housing Law, dealing with litigation (often against local authorities), judicial review, statutory appeals and civil claims.

Belshaw & Curtin, Solicitors, Solicitor 1994-1997

Trainee and then housing lawyer, dealing with all aspects of housing legal advice and litigation, specialising in disrepair, statutory appeals and judicial review.

Housing Advice Resource Unit, Housing law trainer and consultant, 1990-1993

Second tier advice agency offering advice, consultancy, training and support to voluntary sector groups and Southwark Council.

Hammersmith and Fulham Housing Aid Centre, Housing Adviser 1988-1990

Pensioners Link Community worker, welfare rights and housing adviser 1985-1988


·  Qualified as a solicitor November 1996

·  Legal Practice Course, BPP Law School 1995

·  Common Professional Examination in Law, Nottingham Trent University (1993)

·  Degree Psychology, Warwick University (1985).


A variety of legal training courses each year e.g. Joint Oxford Planning Law Conference (guest)

Human Rights Law Conference, Admin Law conference

CSL: Managers Developing Others

CSL Change Management

CSL Adaptive Leadership

DWP Senior Leaders Programme

Leading Change, National School for Government

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Prepared 18 December 2014