Phil Back Associates      

Research that counts              

Who is Phil Back?

Phil Back is a well-known figure in local government research, with an established track record in leading and directing research projects for the public sector generally and for local government specifically. I've worked for a large number of local authorities, with vastly different research budgets - county councils, unitary authorities, districts, and metropolitan authorities, across a wide range of services - planning, customer services, leisure, environmental health, housing, transport, highways, waste, corporate services… the list is as long as the list of local authority responsibilities.

Read about my innovative research solutions here.

I was the first Information and research manager for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council in Beverley, where I worked for several years and developed a strong research and intelligence function that supported service improvement across the council. I later became Head of Local Government Research at RBA, one of the country's leading public sector research consultancies. In 2006, though, I became an independent research consultant working with my former clients and with new contacts.

My background also includes significant spells of work in community development and the voluntary/community sector. I was director of a Rural Community Council for some years, and served as Secretary of my county Parish Councils Association and Playing Fields Association, as well as on several regeneration and other partnership committees. I also worked for over five years as a volunteer with the BBC, representing audiences at local and regional level.

Among other things, this means that I have a wide network of contacts and freelance researchers that I have worked with before, that can be brought in when appropriate to add their skills and insights to a project. These include many of the people who worked on some of the most successful research projects run by RBA, including our award-winning work with Braintree District Council and Wakefield Council.

Some recent career and CV highlights

1996     Appointed Director, Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council
1997 Published "Services in the Balance", an analysis of rural services in Humberside
1998 Keynote speaker on Community Development at sub-regional Humber Estuary conference
1998 Joined board of ACRE, national rural development charity
1999 Became Information and Research Manager for East Riding of Yorkshire Council
2001 Launched Say Something, a pioneering website for consulting young people, cited by Rural Innovation as an example of best practice
2002 Trained in Planning for Real
2003 Appointed Head of Local Government Research, RBA Research Ltd
2004 Keynote speaker at LARIA seminar on Best Value consultation
2005 Chaired and spoke ("Mystery Shopping and the Search for the Satisfied Customer") at MRS Local Government conference
2005 Appointed as Full Member of Market Research Society (MMRS)
2005 Won MRS award for Excellence in Public Policy Research for my work with Braintree District Council
2006 Speaker at Nineveh Consulting annual conference, Oxford
2006 Completed OPM "Leaders in Local Governance" course
2006 LARIA award for research excellence for my work with Wakefield Council
2006 Established independent research consultancy
2008 Company turnover breaks £100k barrier
2009 Completed five years of working with Cambridge City Council
2010 Completed five years of working with Waltham Forest Council
2011 Completed five years working with Swindon Borough Council
2011 Accepted for University of Cambridge Advanced Diploma Course in Historic Environment
2011 Company celebrates five years' successful trading
2012 Completed five years working with Selby District Council

I have a degree (in modern history) from the University of Stirling and a postgraduate qualification (in transport history) from the University of York. I am a full member of the Market Research Society, and a member of the Local Authorities' Research and Intelligence Association.

MRS award ceremony

© 2008 Phil Back Associates