I improve government effectiveness and crime policy through advice, research, writing and speaking. I work independently but am lucky to have ties to organisations full of fantastic people: the Institute for Government (where I am a Senior Fellow), University College London (where I am an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science) and the Boston Consulting Group (where I am an expert adviser to partners in the public sector practice area). See the bottom of this page for media and event biographies and photos or read on for more…
I think an informed public leads to better government and a happier society so I write for mainstream as well as specialist audiences. I write about things I’ve researched extensively but try to engage as many people as possible. This isn’t always easy – but I have a policy of only misleading people by accident! My writing also draws on my current and past work advising and influencing government. My first book is plastered all over this site and I’m starting on my second while continuing to write occasional opinion/ long-form journalism pieces. More here.
I probably spend the majority of my time working with ministers, senior officials and practitioners in governments internationally – and with charities and private companies who work with or are heavily affected by government policy. My work usually focuses on either crime and justice policy or government’s use of private and voluntary sector companies. I occasionally do broader work – for example, on strategy, policy, transformation, performance management, governance and organisation design – areas I have researched and worked on but which are not my current main focus. I work as an independent adviser, trainer and facilitator but also partner with consultancies, business schools and other independent contractors. It’s fun working with brilliant people so I try to do that whenever possible! I try to do at least 20 days of pro-bono work per year with non-profits working on issues I’m passionate about. More here.
I speak in the UK and internationally to both general and specialist audiences and love chairing and facilitating events. I also give lectures and seminars on crime policy at universities and schools of government. See my speaking page for upcoming public talks and get in touch with me or my agent if you’d like work together. More here.
My work on crime policy dates back to when I worked as senior policy adviser on ‘home affairs’ (crime, justice, immigration) in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the mid-2000s. My work on government effectiveness stems from my time as Director of Research at the Institute for Government, an organisation I joined as part of its set up in 2008. Before these roles, I started out in private sector consulting with Boston Consulting Group. More details of my advisory, speaking and writing work can be found on those pages of my website.
I’m someone who loves solving problems. I do a lot of research and writing but I’m actually a very practical person, interested in solving problems in the real world. This means I am very interdisciplinary in my thinking, drawing on ideas and practice in business, politics and a range of academic disciplines, and I draw heavily on international experience of ‘what works’. My experience is that most problem-solving is not simply a technical exercise. You need fantastic analysis and the ‘right’ answer, but if you don’t win hearts and manage political as well as practical realities, then you’re unlikely to deliver the improvements you want. I therefore do a lot of collective problem solving and facilitation work alongside in depth analysis and encourage clients to think deeply about the approach that will deliver true and sustained change. I’m a big fan of trials and experiments as a way of responding to problems. When you’re dealing with complex systems and you’re not sure what will work, it’s best to be honest about it – and governments biggest failures have been when they’ve pretended to know with certainty something that turns out not to be true. I enjoy working with people who share my mission, and am constantly learning from the brilliant people I meet – clients, colleagues, commentators and professionals. I also like speaking to people who disagree with me, and try to be as open to being proved wrong. Please do connect on social media or via email!
I love my family, sports, music, literature, the outdoors, friends, food and travel and am never bored and always desperate to spend more time with all of them. My wife Eliza is a health and fitness guru who runs Healthy Living London and my son, Arthur, is a professional sleep-stealing bundle of loveliness. I try to take them with me on long work-trips or be away for a week or less whenever possible. My perfect day off would involve a leisurely solo breakfast with good fiction, playing basketball then having lunch with my London Dark Blues team-mates, spending the afternoon with friends and family on a walk and ending up in a pub/ restaurant with a wide beer selection.
Biographies for your use
I’ve included some standard biographies and photos for events, media and other gubbins below but please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you need more information – or want a tailored bio (I have lots from past events etc. easily at hand).
50 word bio
Tom Gash is an adviser, researcher and writer, who helps people to think differently about the big challenges facing governments and societies worldwide. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, an Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London, and an expert adviser for the Boston Consulting Group.
Tom Gash is an adviser, researcher and writer, who helps people to think differently about the big challenges facing governments and societies worldwide. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, an Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London’s Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, and an expert adviser with the Boston Consulting Group, where he started his career.
Tom’s work focuses on two areas. First, crime policy, a topic he advised on in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the mid-2000s and the focus of work with senior leaders in a range of geographies since then. Second, government effectiveness, the focus of much of his consulting work and of his research at the Institute for Government, which he joined as part of its set-up in 2008. Tom was the Institute’s Director of Research until August 2015 and led a range of high profile studies examining how to improve public services.
Tom is a regular commentator for UK radio (BBC), print (FT, Guardian, Times) and television (BBC, Sky) on both crime and public sector management and he speaks internationally on these topics. His first book, CRIMINAL: The Truth About Why People Do Bad Things (Penguin 2016) was shortlisted as a Sunday Times 2016 ‘Thought’ Book of the Year and was described by The Times as “as enlightening about crime in modern society as any book that I have read”.
Please contact me for high resolution images or use a selection of the images below (until I pester my wife to teach me how to set up an image gallery):