Katie Barnes

Associate Director, Advisory and Impact


I am an experienced managing consultant and lead Advisory and Impact’s Strategy practice. I work part-time for Advisory and Impact, combining this with charity trusteeships and ad hoc research activities outside of Bates Wells.

I’m recognised as a ‘big picture’ thinker, and as someone who can make sense of complex problems.  I advise clients who are facing strategic choices or a change in focus, and work with them to understand the strategic and cultural fit of a proposed solution.  I’m often asked to ‘test and challenge’ strategies before they are implemented, and can be relied upon to uncover potential weak spots, or highlight processes that simply won’t work in practice…and then to help develop alternatives.  My work frequently involves an element of research.  I am curious and critical when researching, and good at ‘joining the dots’ and drawing conclusions which will either validate a strategic choice or expose risks and issues that can then be dealt with. My projects often involve an element of organisational and cultural change, and I have many years’ experience of successful in-house change delivery.

I have worked in not-for-profit, professional services, and commercial sectors before joining Bates Wells.  My long term career plan has always been to develop a broad range of skills and insight which in combination could prove valuable to under-served sectors, including charities and those working to bring about social improvement and solve some of the biggest issues facing our society.  Joining Bates Wells in 2014 was a logical step in that plan.

I have recently collaborated on Liveable Cities – a 5 year research programme funded by ESPRC and involving 4 UK universities, at least 15 research disciplines, and some 40 expert panellists – where my contribution was on governance, policy-making and participation in the context of societal, social and technological trends.

Outside of work I am a keen choral singer, regularly performing in Suffolk and in cathedral services nationwide.  I am also trustee of a London-based education charity, which works to bring STEM subjects into reach of children in deprived boroughs.


  • I worked with Hyde Housing Group to develop an assessment of the value (economic and social) of social housing in the UK.

    This ground-breaking work has been very well received by housing associations and government representatives alike, allowing for informed and evidence-backed conversations to be had on behalf of the whole sector. I am continuing to research and assess additional areas of value in the wider social, supported and move-on tenancy arena.

  • I worked on an estimate of the potential economic gain that could be delivered through a well-functioning vocational and technical skills system in the UK.

    This literature review and accompanying economic hypothesis contributed to the independent Commission on Sustainable Learning for Work, Life and a Changing Economy.

  • I worked on a Needs Analysis for Wirral Borough Council, highlighting ways in which a portfolio of Council services could be repositioned to both deliver commercial value whilst at the same time helping to address social and wellbeing needs within the Borough.

Qualifications and career

  • Robinson College, Cambridge University, MA (Cantab), Modern and Medieval Languages, 1992
  • Four years in the Knowledge Services division of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now IET) – organising academic events and leading an organisational change initiative
  • Two years in professional services, supporting the integration of IT and Knowledge Management functions following the merger of three firms
  • Eight years in the insurance industry, initially working as an internal consultant in the IT function before spending four years in the business strategy team

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • FRSA – Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)
  • Honorary Research Associate, University College London (2012 – 2017). Researching governance and policy for cities of the future, contributing to the EPSRC-funded Liveable Cities research programme.
  • Founding Trustee, Stile Antico Foundation (2014-2018). Establishing and providing strategic input to a new charitable foundation associated with choral ensemble Stile Antico, providing access to and education about early choral music.
  • Trustee and director, Setpoint London East (since 2014). Setpoint is an East London charity whose aim is to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through the provision of affordable, hands-on workshops for schools in the local boroughs.
  • Advisor to TRU3D (UKPRP funded research programme)

Publications & Lectures

  • Barnes, K., Clifford, J., Ross, C. and Hulbert, A. (2018). The Hyde Group: The Value of a Social Tenancy: a socio-economic evaluation based on Hyde’s housing portfolio. London: Bates Wells
  • Barnes, K., Clifford, J. and Epsley, S. (2018). The Economic Cost of Getting Technical and Vocational Training Wrong: a Commentary on the Existing Literature. London: Bates Wells
  • Honeybone, P., Collins, B., Barnes, K., Cosgrave, E. and the Liveable Cities team. (2017). The Little Book of Governing the City. Lancaster: Imagination Lancaster, Lancaster University.