Meet the Team

The directors are John Palmer and Salma Ahmed. Our team also includes associate consultants who have experience of working in the governmental and voluntary sectors with whom we collaborate on a project by project basis.

John Palmer

John Palmer

John Palmer’s qualifications
BA (2.1 Class Hons) Degree in Land Use Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1965
Chartered Institute of Housing Member
Associate member and consultant for the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE)

John Palmer’s background
John Palmer co-founded the consultancy in April 1996. He has 45 years’ experience in local government, higher education, in a government agency and working with local authorities and the voluntary and community sector.

After graduating from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with an honours degree in Town and Country Planning, his early career was in urban and regional planning research at the Greater London Council and Hampshire County Council. For a time he was a full-time volunteer in North Kensington where he campaigned on housing and planning issues, and was a founder member and chair of the first voluntary housing advice service in the country. He was a senior lecturer at Central London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) where he led teaching in the Built Environment School on community planning, housing and social policy. He joined the Housing Corporation in 1978 and managed the Corporation’s external research programme; later he managed housing association performance audit in the Midlands.

John became Chief Executive of Ealing Family Housing Association (now Catalyst Housing Group) in 1984 (see footnote1); and Chief Executive of Stonham Housing Association – one of the largest providers of housing, care and support services in England – in 1992 (see footnote2).

He has been a board member of four housing associations, a number of charities and voluntary sector committees, and of the National Housing Federation. He specialises in policy research, strategic management, business development and performance review. He leads our confidential investigation team.

Salma Ahmed

Salma Ahmed

Salma Ahmed’s qualifications
BA (1st Class Hons) Degree in Housing Management and Development from the University of Westminster
Chartered Institute of Housing, Chartered Member
Associate member, senior interim and consultant for the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE)

Salma Ahmed’s background
Salma Ahmed co-founded the consultancy with John Palmer in 1996. Previously she worked for the Department of Employment as a community outreach worker ; and for Ealing Family Housing Association as Community Work and Equal Opportunities Manager until 1993. Since gaining a BA in Housing Management and Development with first class honours from the University of Westminster, she has undertaken a number of policy development and research assignments, and acted as an interim manager for local authorities and housing associations. She has been vice-chair of a Council of Voluntary Service, a committee member of housing associations in London and Hampshire, and a school governor. She specialises in housing policy, homelessness and housing management, community development and equality/diversity.


1 Ealing Family HA tripled in size under John Palmer’s leadership to more than 5,000 rented and shared ownership homes; formed a separate charitable trust running community facilities including the Southall Day Centre; and had an acquisition and development programme of more than £50 million per annum by the early 1990s.

2 At Stonham HA, John led a major reorganisation from 380+ autonomous local branches to a line management structure designed to improve the association’s effectiveness and its ability to deliver good quality services in different parts of the country. He managed more than 1,800 staff, dealt with more than 200 local committees, and was responsible for a revenue budget of £35 million per annum.