Meet the Team

Jonathan Werran

Chief Executive

Jonathan has extensive experience in communications and journalism. After five years as a reporter, commentator and features editor for The Municipal Journal, in 2015 he became the first strategic communications officer for the District Councils’ Network.

Prior to The MJ, he edited an online government property and public estate magazine and helped run communications and marketing for anti-poverty charity Elizabeth Finn Care.

Joe Fyans

Head of Research

Joe is interested in creating public policy to promote a globalisation process which is responsible both culturally and ecologically. His work on local labour markets has featured in the Financial Times, the Guardian and on Sky News. He is a graduate of UCL and Goldsmiths, University of London and has previously worked on public consultations.

Callin McLinden

Senior Researcher

With a keen interest in new media, Callin understands the need for local public policy to reflect our increasingly digitised and globalised society. He graduated Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London and is currently studying for his MSc in Media, Power & Public Affairs from Royal Holloway, University of London – studying alongside his work done at Localis. Callin’s undergraduate dissertation was written on the role that news media plays in shaping public opinion and policy, for which he was awarded funding for its high mark.

Sandy Forsyth

Lead Researcher

Sandy joined Localis while studying for an MSc in Political Theory at the London School of Economics, where her particular concern was in the role of physical space and the public sphere in cultural and political participation.

Now graduated, Sandy continues to work on analysis of the role of policy in sustainable place-shaping and for community engagement in local politics.

David Godfrey

Visiting Fellow

David's interests lie in local growth, local communities and local leadership. He has worked with some of the most influential voices in the devolution debate and believes there's little that can't be improved by greater local decision-making and empowered local leaders.

David has been adviser to two Secretaries of State and prominent council leaders. He has directed a LEP and has (well over) a decade's experience in senior positions in local government. Prior to this, David worked in both private and voluntary sectors.

Jackie Sadek

Visiting Fellow

Jackie Sadek has over 35 years’ experience in property, specializing in public-private sector partnerships. A former Specialist Adviser to Government on urban regeneration, Jackie now runs Urban Strategy, an urban regeneration consultancy. She was part of the Grimsey Review team on the future of the high street and an honorary Fellow of the Association of Chief Estates Surveyors. She is a Member of the Property Week Hall of Fame and co-author, with Peter Bill, of “Broken Homes”. Jackie Sadek and Peter Bill also co-wrote “Public Rental Homes” for Localis and the Housing Finance Institute, launched February 2023.

Professor Samer Bagaeen

Visiting Fellow

Professor Samer Bagaeen works across the private sector, academia and local government. This gives him a unique view on the client side, the skills side, and the public side.

Samer is a Technical Director with the Environmental Planning team at Arcadis. He is a Chartered Town Planner, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Design Council Expert, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Samer has held the role of Professor of Planning & Resilient Systems at the University of Kent since April 2018 having worked in the preceding two years with the Rockefeller Foundation’s global resilience programme as an associate director. In Kent, he has managed for two years now a UK Government funded project on co-location, a unique design concept looking at co-locating uses and users within the same building or space. This project sits with Creative Estuary, a DCMS and Arts Council Funded 4-year programme led by the University of Kent. Samer led the project’s work on delivering a cultural planning toolkit.

As Associate Director (City Relationships) with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, Samer partnered with city leaders in Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Lisbon, Tbilisi, Amman and Ramallah to mobilise resources for resilience. As a Distinguished Fellow of the RICS, he previously worked at the RICS in London in a thought leadership role and delivered the Institution’s corporate training on ESG & sustainability to the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Samer served on the Policy Council at the Town and Country Planning Association from 2010-2020 where he also served as a Trustee for five years. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Royal Town Planning Institute (2016-2017) and has recently been elected by the RTPI membership to sit on the Board of Trustees as a Chartered Trustee for 2023-2025.

Samer was elected to Brighton and Hove City Council in 2019. He served on the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board throughout the pandemic and more recently served on the council’s audit committee. He is presently a member of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee and Group Spokesperson on the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee.

Professor Colin Copus

Visiting Fellow

Colin Copus is an Emeritus Professor of local politics at the Department of Politics and Public Policy, De Montfort University and a Visiting Professor at the University of Ghent. His academic interests are central-local relationships and the constitutional status of local government, devolution, localism, local party politics, local political leadership and the changing role of the councillor. Colin has worked closely with policy-makers and practitioners in central and local government. He was an academic advisor to the Political and the Constitutional Reform Committee, the Communities and Local Government Committee on its inquiry into the role of the councillor and is currently the academic advisor to two All Party Parliamentary Groups, the Chair of the Local Government Association and the National Association for Local Councils. He is an advisor to a range of other government and local government bodies and also a member of the Council of Europe’s group of experts on the Charter of Local Self Government.

He has published widely in academic journals. Colin’s latest book is entitled: In Defence of Councillors, published by Manchester University Press. Colin was the editor Local Government Studies 2001 to 2013. He has also served as a councillor on a London Borough council, a county and a district council and three parish councils.

Catriona Riddell

Visiting Fellow

Catriona provides professional support on a wide range of spatial planning issues but focuses on local plans and specifically, strategic planning, working with local authorities and their partners to develop different approaches in terms of both governance structures and output. She recently authored two linked reports on behalf of the County Councils Network to help inform the Government’s planning reforms in terms of what could replace the Duty to Cooperate.

Previous roles include Head of Strategic Planning at Surrey County Council and Director of Planning at the South East England Regional Assembly.

Catriona is the Strategic Planning Specialist for the Planning Officers’ Society (POS), Vice-Chair of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) England Policy Panel and a regular columnist for both Planning Magazine and the TCPA’s Journal. She was included in The Planner’s 2022 list of top 50 Women of Influence in planning.