Jim Clifford OBE

Partner and Director of Advisory and Impact


I lead the Advisory & Impact team, taking a key role in projects and development in all four areas of A&I’s work.

With over thirty years in private business and charity advisory and corporate finance, I have spent the last decade focusing on the developing social impact field, social investment, and corporate transactions by charity, public, and private sectors. I have a particular interest in how organisations select what value, social and economic, they need to deliver, how they do it, and how they fund it. Helping people to behave in a way that delivers that, from customers responding in a market, to staff and management pulling together to deliver success, are key focal points.

My experience spans the professions, front-line business management in private business and social sectors, academic research, and policy development and influence at Local Government, UK and EU levels.

I have designed and delivered corporate transactions from university mergers to care sector acquisitions, restructuring and merging Non-departmental public bodies to private sector disposals, management buyouts and refinancing, as well as social transactions and social impact bonds. These have been in the UK, in Europe and worldwide.

I have added considerably to the development of social impact measurement delivering over a hundred evaluations at local and National levels, a number of which have been widely referenced in policy development. I chaired the “GECES” group that developed the European Commission’s approach to impact measurement and was lead author of its report.

My policy influence and innovation work with clients has embraced successes in the fields of children’s services, domestic violence, special needs education, and families with problem debt.

  • Acquisition of a private sector business in Italy for an Exam Awarding Body, including structuring, negotiating and managing the transaction, and providing financial and commercial due diligence
  • Design of improved systems and approaches enabling a major construction business to embed scrutiny throughout the organisation, spotting issues earlier, and letting all levels of staff and management be involved and heard
  • Redesigning leisure and cultural services for a Local Authority, both in structure and what they deliver, to enable them to reach more people, meet their needs more effectively, and with a reduced Council subsidy
  • Disposal of a division of the Construction Industry Training Board, bought by a social enterprise after a focused marketing exercise
  • Valuation of brands and other intellectual property for an International Aid organisation, embracing both economic and social measures, to enable them to enter into a joint venture for a widespread vaccination programme
  • Investigating and reporting, for the purposes of litigation, the financial stability and management of a recently failed organisation
  • Developing appropriate structural and strategic approaches to enable a business to grow organically and by acquisition.

Qualifications and career

  • I am a chartered accountant, and hold qualifications in corporate finance, tax, insolvency and turnaround, and as an expert witness.
  • I was awarded a MSc with Distinction in Charity Accounting and Financial Management from Cass Business School in 2011.
  • I now undertake academic research at Cass, and teaches social investment and impact measurement on the Masters programme there, as well as enjoying academic associations with St Andrew’s University and others.
  • I was awarded an OBE in 2013 for Services to Social Investment.
  • I have published a range of academic and other papers, and is in demand as a speaker in the UK and Europe.
  • A fellow of the RSA, I am a trustee of four charities, one of which he chairs. Outside of work I am perhaps best known for his involvement in children’s adoption: as a speaker and policy influencer, and as therapeutic parent of ten children.