Mark graduated from Oxford in 1983 with a degree in Modern History and embarked upon working life by becoming a volunteer care assistant in a residential special school. In 1985 he moved into his first teaching role, having completed a one year post graduate certificate in education (to teach pupils with Special Educational Needs) at Leeds Polytechnic. He subsequently worked in special schools in the East Midlands and North West, becoming a head teacher in Tameside in 1994.
In 2001, Mark was seconded to be the Head of Specialist Services in Tameside, working on the Authority's first inclusion strategy. Having quickly developed an appetite for local government, Mark was appointed as Assistant Director, Children & Young People, for Stockport Council in 2003 where, in due course, he was given oversight of the Council’s 'Every Child Matters - Change for Children’ programme.
In March 2006, Mark joined Solihull Council’s Corporate Leadership Team, having been appointed to the post of Director of Children’s Services. This role provided the unmissable opportunity to take forward the Council’s trailblazing work as a Children’s Trust Pathfinder, developing a fully fledged Children & Young People’s Partnership for improving outcomes.
Mark, as joint DCS and Chief Executive from 2007, successfully guided the Council through a number of major inspections and, latterly, has helped position the council as a national leader and enthusiastic participant in sector-led improvement.
During his time at Solihull, the council introduced a highly regarded integrated transformation and organisational development programme that, through the application of Lean Thinking, put citizens and digital innovation at the heart of the drive for greater quality and value.
Solihull, through its commitment to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and involvement in the “Heseltine Project”, also positioned itself to secure the next major spurt of growth in the region through the development of UK Central, a key nexus for economic renaissance centred on the key assets of the M42 Gateway, Birmingham International Airport and the proposed HS2 (high speed rail) Interchange.
In December 2013 Mark was appointed to the role of Chief Executive and Director of Economy at Birmingham City Council and took up role in March 2014. These combined roles are designed to have maximum impact on the three priorities of prosperity, fairness and democracy, ensuring Birmingham continues to live up to its status as Britain’s 2nd city.
Finally, Mark still maintains his commitment to children’s services as the Society of Local Authority Chief Executive’s lead for this area, a role that involved being a deputy chair of the Social Work Reform Board up to 2012, becoming co-chair of the new national Children’s Health and Wellbeing Partnership in 2013, and jointly founding the Children’s Improvement Board (2010-13) which set the framework for sector led improvement in children’s services.
Mark is President of SOLACE for 2013-16.