Bryony Houlden Biography

Bryony Houlden is Chief Executive of South West Councils. In this capacity she is also the regional Employers’ Secretary of South West Provincial Council, the joint negotiating machinery for the region which provides a forum for debate, discussion and negotiation on human resource issues.

She has experience providing advice and support across a range of organisations. Projects range from help with recruitment and appraisal of senior staff, disciplinary investigations, officer development including coaching and mentoring and advice and assessment of Member Charter Awards.  She also provides support and advice on Members Allowances and is an Independent member of Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, North Devon Council and Torbay Council’s remuneration Panels and has advised Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service on allowances.  Previously Bryony’s career had been spent working in Central Government.  As Head of Local Government Finance, she worked on the Local Government Act 2000 and had responsibility for the policy allocating grant to local authorities.  She was one of the team who worked on the 1995 Rural White Paper and held various posts working on housing policy including delivery of the Rough Sleepers’ Initiative and as part of the Bill team for the 1988 Housing Act.

Bryony worked as a Private Secretary to three Government Ministers:  Michael Howard, Michael Spicer and Sir George Young.  In addition, she was Principal Private Secretary to three Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (or forerunner departments):  Sir Terry Heiser GCB and two previous Heads of the Civil Service – Lord Turnbull and Lord Wilson.  Part of Bryony’s earlier career was spent in the South West when she was Director of Environment, Transport and Regeneration at Government Office South West.

As part of her commitment to equality in the workplace Bryony was a founder member of the regional body Equality South West and she was a Board member until it ceased operating.  She was also a Board Member of Magna West Somerset Housing Association and a member of the South West Regional Committee of the National Housing Federation. She is now a Volunteer for the Association of Coaching supporting the development of CPD events in the South West region.

Bryony is a trained mediator, able to provide impartial expertise to help resolve complex conflict situations at work. She is a qualified as a coach and a mentor (ILM), licensed to deliver Coaching Dilemmas® and through SHL, to provide psychometric testing (ability tests, personality profiles, assessment centre exercises and 360° appraisal feedback).  She is also accredited to deliver GC Index® a development tool that assesses how everyone can make a transformational ‘Game-Changing’ impact within their organisation.

Bryony is a graduate of Exeter University.  She has a MBA from Imperial College, London.