Cornerstone’s unique model of delivering public services is built on the experience of its founding team. Instead of a traditional transactional relationship between public and private sectors, our team works with the grain of public authority priorities and needs, as a partner not a supplier.

Collectively, our team has unparalleled experience in running world leading investment programmes.

The Team

  • tim-byles

    Tim Byles CBE

    Tim Byles CBE

    Chief Executive

    Tim Byles founded Cornerstone Assets in May 2011 as a new breed of social investment company. From 2006 – 2011, Tim was the Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, the Government’s school building agency, managing large scale multi-billion pound investment programmes, including, including Academies, Free Schools, UTCs and BSF.

    Prior to this, Tim was Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council, where he raised the Council’s performance to the highest level, creating a wide range of public private partnerships for improved service delivery, and developing trading subsidiaries turning over more than £100m per annum. Before joining Norfolk in 1996 as one of the youngest chief executives in the country, Tim was Director of Economic Development at Kent County Council.

    During his time in Kent and Norfolk, Tim was involved in large-scale schools and commercial premises procurement projects and regeneration schemes, including the £1bn King’s Hill mixed –use development at the West Malling airport and the Norwich Forum, a key community building in the centre of Norwich visited by 2.5m people a year.

    Tim has worked extensively with central government in his roles as Chair of the Local Government Chief Executive’s Taskforce, the Local Government Construction Taskforce, and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), a position he held for four years. He also served as National Procurement Champion for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

    Tim received a CBE in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours list, for services to Local Government.

  • Sara Waller

    Sara Waller

    Sara Waller

    Director MRICS

    Sara is a Director at Cornerstone. Prior to joining Cornerstone, Sara was Head of Regeneration South for the London Borough of Southwark, where she was responsible for the successful restructuring and reinvigoration of the Aylesbury Regeneration Programme (28.5ha, 4,500 new homes, 7,500 existing residents), following withdrawal of government funding and collapse of delivery confidence.

    Sara was the Southwark Project Director for Building Schools for the Future, developing an estate reorgansiation strategy for the secondary school estate (£250m, 15 sites), preparing the business case to secure national and local approvals, completing procurement on programme, achieving high value for money when benchmarked, and delivering schools with CABE assessed good quality design.

    Before joining Southwark, Sara lead the Project Preparation Committee at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). She was responsible for brokering partnerships between donor agencies, international financial institutions and individual countries. Supporting local and national governments to identify viable environmental infrastructure projects.

    Sara worked as a senior consultant for Environmental Resources Management, working internationally for clients including the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, EBRD, UK Department for International Development, European Commission, UK Department for Trade and Industry and Business Partners for Development.

    Sara trained as a civil, structural and environmental engineer, working for Arup and Posford Duvivier.

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    Colin Ross

    Colin Ross

    Director MRICS, RIBA, FRSA

    Colin joined Cornerstone in 2013 and focuses on development appraisal and viability. He has a professional background is in development surveying as well as architecture/urban design.

    Colin has a background in both private and public sectors as well as consultancy having worked on education PFI before moving to Countryside and Taylor Woodrow to work on delivery Millennium Communities. He was Assistant Director for LB Barnet responsible for kick-starting their estate regeneration programme. Colin also has director level experience in consultancy providing commercial and financial advice to developers and local authorities on large scale urban regeneration schemes and PRS as well as appraisal and business planning for government investment in economic regeneration programmes.

  • Harry Scarff

    Harry Scarff

    Harry Scarff

    Property Director MRICS

    Harry has worked in the London and South East markets for over 20 years, specialising in PFI and PPP procurements. His career has also involved working overseas, supporting the emerging European and Canadian PPP markets, covering all aspects of construction advice and consultancy.

    At Cornerstone, Harry is leading a number of projects, including a zero carbon housing development in the south west, a series of school asset projects and the development of new energy based solutions for public bodies.

    Prior to joining Cornerstone, Harry worked at Partnerships for Schools where he led a team of Project Directors responsible for the delivery of the Government's education capital investment programmes in the South of the country. He also helped to manage the new and existing PFI portfolio. This built on his experience from Currie and Brown, where having been the Head of International Building Consultancy and overseeing the expansion and integration of this business unit, he was appointed to the role of Divisional Director and Board Member.

    Having is a chartered surveyor, and has worked on complex public private partnerships across a range of sectors, from education and healthcare to energy, transport infrastructure and custodial.

  • Rob

    Robert Barton

    Robert Barton

    Director

    Rob is an experienced developer who joined the development industry in 2002, having spent the earlier part of his career with Toshiba UK, where he created and led the most profitable division in the company before becoming Head of Financial Planning & Analysis for the UK & Ireland.

    He has worked for some of the UK’s leading residential developers including Berkeley Homes as Development Director, Countryside Properties as Major Projects Director, and St Modwen as Land Director, before joining Cornerstone in 2016. Rob has been directly responsible for delivering 4½ million sq.ft of development, including nearly 3,000 new homes, offices and town centre extensions.

    Rob is also a non-executive director of Spectrum Premier Homes Ltd and was previously a board member of Sentinel Housing Association and Chairman of Sentinel’s private home development company Vestal Developments. He is also a retained consultant for the UK Government’s Design Council (formerly CABE) advising on housing design and asset management.

    Rob has a first class degree in Engineering, as well and an MSc in Information Technology and an MBA with distinction from the London Business School.

  • Vikki d'Arcy

    Vikki d’Arcy

    Vikki d’Arcy

    Project Director

    Vikki joined Cornerstone in 2015 as a Project Director and has over 15 years experience as a project manager and procurement specialist.
    Vikki previously worked at Citibank Hong Kong as a Regional Manager in their strategic sourcing team. Here she lead a transformational procurement with the Real Estate Transaction Services team to appoint regional lead brokers/agents to source, execute and manage Citi property assets in the Asia Pacific region.

    Prior to Citibank Hong Kong Vikki worked at PwC where she was a member of their procurement advisory team, specialising in capital projects procurement in the public sector which included Building Schools for the Future, Further Education capital projects, housing projects and lead on an NHS accommodation relocation project.

    Vikki also worked at Navigant (formerly Precept) as a lead technical advisor/project manager where she worked mainly on BSF and PFI schools projects, working with numerous local authorities from project inception to close.

    Vikki was commissioned into the British Army and served 4 years in the Royal Logistics Corps before leaving to work as a Venue Logistics manager for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002. This was followed by a brief stint in facilities management in Canary Wharf before moving into consultancy.

  • kirsten-mundy

    Kirsten Mundy

    Kirsten Mundy

    Project Director and Company Secretary MCIPS

    Kirsten joined Cornerstone in January 2012 as a Project Director.
    Kirsten is an MCIPS qualified procurement professional and PRINCE 2 qualified project manager with 10 years public and private sector experience.

    Prior to joining Cornerstone, Kirsten worked at PwC where she was a consultant delivering transformation programmes with public authorities. This included supporting clients to deliver efficiency savings and project managing the delivery of high profile procurements in a range of categories, including social care. Kirsten also supported authorities develop proposals for developing arms length delivery vehicles and outsourcing services.

    Kirsten started her career in local government. Until 2007, she was a Senior Policy and Service Development Manager at Surrey County Council, where she was also a Graduate Management Trainee from 2002-2004. She has experience of working across a range of services, including children and young people / education, adults, communications and HR. Whilst at Surrey, Kirsten developed the annual £10m service delivery agreement for the Council’s education support services Joint Venture.

    Kirsten is also Company Secretary to Cornerstone and its subsidiaries.

  • Mark Byles

    Mark Byles

    Mark Byles

    Project Manager

    Mark joined Cornerstone as a graduate in 2012 and is currently studying for his MSc at the University of Reading to inform his training as a RICS Planning and Development Surveyor. During the last 5 years his experience has quickly grown in a variety of areas whilst working on a multitude of complex development projects; developing and supporting innovative ways of delivering property services to clients in local government and the private sector.

    Mark project managed the creation of a 91-unit eco-village scheme in the South West before leading on managing the disposal of the project to a private sector developer. A particular career highlight has been project managing the delivery of full planning permission for a new 8FE secondary school with corresponding sixth form in Hertfordshire, funded by an enabling residential development of 153 much needed family homes. This project has involved obtaining consent from the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and Education.

    Mark is a professionally trained actor and singer, receiving his BA (Hons) at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

  • Laura McLaughlin

    Laura McLaughlin

    Laura McLaughlin

    PA to Tim Byles and Office Manager

    Laura has been working with Cornerstone since its inception in 2011 and is Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive, Tim Byles. Laura’s role includes full responsibility for diary management of the CEO; preparation of board reports; meeting coordination; document production; maintaining office systems; travel arrangements; conference and event management; travel and expense processing, and liaison with clients, Board Directors, other staff and suppliers.

    Laura also works closely with the senior managerial team providing administrative support on a daily basis; and provides assistance to the Finance Director on accounts and all matters relating to Human Resources when required; and organises all employee events such as the Summer and Christmas parties.

    Laura has previously worked with Partnerships for Schools, Ministry of Justice, Birmingham City Council and the Northern Ireland Planning Service.

  • The Board

    The Cornerstone Board is chaired by John McDonough CBE, with three non-executive directors.

  • tim-byles

    Tim Byles CBE

    Tim Byles CBE

    Chief Executive

    Tim Byles founded Cornerstone Assets in May 2011 as a new breed of social investment company. From 2006 – 2011, Tim was the Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, the Government’s school building agency, managing large scale multi-billion pound investment programmes, including, including Academies, Free Schools, UTCs and BSF.

    Prior to this, Tim was Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council, where he raised the Council’s performance to the highest level, creating a wide range of public private partnerships for improved service delivery, and developing trading subsidiaries turning over more than £100m per annum. Before joining Norfolk in 1996 as one of the youngest chief executives in the country, Tim was Director of Economic Development at Kent County Council.

    During his time in Kent and Norfolk, Tim was involved in large-scale schools and commercial premises procurement projects and regeneration schemes, including the £1bn King’s Hill mixed –use development at the West Malling airport and the Norwich Forum, a key community building in the centre of Norwich visited by 2.5m people a year.

    Tim has worked extensively with central government in his roles as Chair of the Local Government Chief Executive’s Taskforce, the Local Government Construction Taskforce, and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), a position he held for four years. He also served as National Procurement Champion for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

    Tim received a CBE in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours list, for services to Local Government.

  • john-mcdonough

    John McDonough CBE

    John McDonough CBE

    Chairman

    John McDonough has been a Director and Chairman of Vesuvius plc since 2012, prior to which he was group Chief Executive Officer of Carillion plc, the support services and construction firm, for 11 years. John is also Chairman of the Vitec Group plc.

  • Sara Waller

    Sara Waller

    Sara Waller

    Director MRICS

    Sara is a Director at Cornerstone. Prior to joining Cornerstone, Sara was Head of Regeneration South for the London Borough of Southwark, where she was responsible for the successful restructuring and reinvigoration of the Aylesbury Regeneration Programme (28.5ha, 4,500 new homes, 7,500 existing residents), following withdrawal of government funding and collapse of delivery confidence.

    Sara was the Southwark Project Director for Building Schools for the Future, developing an estate reorgansiation strategy for the secondary school estate (£250m, 15 sites), preparing the business case to secure national and local approvals, completing procurement on programme, achieving high value for money when benchmarked, and delivering schools with CABE assessed good quality design.

    Before joining Southwark, Sara lead the Project Preparation Committee at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). She was responsible for brokering partnerships between donor agencies, international financial institutions and individual countries. Supporting local and national governments to identify viable environmental infrastructure projects.

    Sara worked as a senior consultant for Environmental Resources Management, working internationally for clients including the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, EBRD, UK Department for International Development, European Commission, UK Department for Trade and Industry and Business Partners for Development.

    Sara trained as a civil, structural and environmental engineer, working for Arup and Posford Duvivier.

  • Rob

    Robert Barton

    Robert Barton

    Director

    Rob is an experienced developer who joined the development industry in 2002, having spent the earlier part of his career with Toshiba UK, where he created and led the most profitable division in the company before becoming Head of Financial Planning & Analysis for the UK & Ireland.

    He has worked for some of the UK’s leading residential developers including Berkeley Homes as Development Director, Countryside Properties as Major Projects Director, and St Modwen as Land Director, before joining Cornerstone in 2016. Rob has been directly responsible for delivering 4½ million sq.ft of development, including nearly 3,000 new homes, offices and town centre extensions.

    Rob is also a non-executive director of Spectrum Premier Homes Ltd and was previously a board member of Sentinel Housing Association and Chairman of Sentinel’s private home development company Vestal Developments. He is also a retained consultant for the UK Government’s Design Council (formerly CABE) advising on housing design and asset management.

    Rob has a first class degree in Engineering, as well and an MSc in Information Technology and an MBA with distinction from the London Business School.

  • sir-david-bell

    Sir David Bell

    Sir David Bell

    Non-executive Director

    Sir David Bell is the Chair of Trustees for The Transformation Trust. He is also a non-executive director of the Economist, Chairman of Sadlers Wells, the University of Roehampton, the London Transport Museum, the Media Standards Trust, the Institute of War and Peace Reporting and the Walpole Committee. He also serves on the boards of a number of organisations. David was Chairman of the Financial Times from 1996 until his retirement at the end of 2009 and served on the board of Pearson plc for thirteen years until May 2009. He was also Chairman of the Millennium Bridge Trust (1995-2002), responsible for conceiving the first new bridge across Thames in the centre of London for 100 years. Sir David received his knighthood for services to industry, the arts and charity.

  • sir-rod-aldridge

    Sir Rodney Aldridge

    Sir Rodney Aldridge

    Sir Rodney Aldridge is the Founder of the Aldridge Foundation and is now responsible for 11 academies and colleges in the North West, London and southern coastal communities. Rod is also the founder of the Capita Group, leading the company from start-up to becoming a FTSE 100 company.

    Prior to this, Rod worked in local government for 10 years. Sir Rod is Patron and former Trustee of The Prince's Trust, and a founding member of the Prince's Charities Council. He is also Chairman of The Lowry, the theatre and arts venue in Salford. Sir Rod was appointed OBE in 2004 for services to the computer industry and received his knighthood in 2012 for services to young people.

  • Associates

  • Willy Roe

    William Roe CBE

    William Roe CBE

    An associate, of Cornerstone, William ‘Willy’ Roe took up the role as Chair of the Board of Grameen Scotland Foundation in November 2015. Since April 2015 he has also held the role of Chair of the British Council Scotland Advisory Committee, leading the organisation’s work in Scotland on international cultural relations and educational opportunities.

    He was Chair of Highlands and Islands Enterprise from 2004-2012 and Chair of Skills Development Scotland from 2008-2010. He led an independent review of Social Work in Scotland in 2006-2007 and an independent review of Vocational Education and Training in 2010-2011, both for the Scottish Government.

    Earlier in his career he worked in the fields of community leadership, social enterprise, community housing initiatives, fuel poverty and employability. He helped create the Association of Commonwealth Students in the 1970’s, a global leadership development organisation promoting international exchange and supporting aspiring political leaders.

    In 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by The Open University for his work on social work reform. In 2010 he was awarded the CBE for his contribution to public service in the Highlands and Islands.

  • Gillian Cawley

    Gillian Cawley

    Gillian Cawley

    Between 2010 and 2013, Gillian Cawley led the transformation of Hertfordshire’s Standards and School Effectiveness Service into an innovative schools’ company, Herts for Learning, co-owned by the local authority and schools. This required high level negotiation, persuasion and interpersonal skills and the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders including Members, Headteachers, Governors, Senior LA Officers, Dioceses, the Department for Education and Ofsted. Her in depth understanding of the needs of schools and her commercial awareness underpinned the creation of a financially viable and still thriving model.

    Gillian was Assistant Director of Standards and School Effectiveness during this period of significant educational, financial and political change, successfully managing an education service which consistently raised standards (Early Years to 19) and delivering high quality traded services generating £23million annual income from schools and £6million in savings and efficiency for the council.

    Following the launch of Herts for Learning in 2013, Gillian became Assistant Director for Education Services leading best value commissioning arrangements for the council – cited as best practice in Ofsted’s HMCI annual report 2014. She also devised, in consultation, with schools a new school improvement strategy to address the achievement gap for vulnerable learners.

    More recently in 2015, Gillian became Director of Education, Quality and Standards for Kent County Council with a remit including Early Years and Childcare, School Improvement, Skills and Employability, Safeguarding in Education and Community, Learning and Skills. In this role, she has led continued improvement in quality and standards (from 79% to currently 90% good and outstanding schools) and co-produced with schools a leadership strategy to promote dynamic system leadership across the county. She has also significantly increased trading income and helped shape the future of a potential education services company.

    Prior to moving into advisory work, Gillian moved from a successful background in teaching and senior leadership in schools. She has since held a wide range of roles including Principal Adviser for Teaching and Learning, Head of Learning, Training and Research and ICT Strategy Manager.
    Gillian has led regional local authority peer reviews in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Bedford. She has also worked nationally with ISOS, the National Educational Network and National Foundation for Educational Research on the development of school led system leadership and the role of the local authority in education for the future.

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    Tim Waters

    Tim Waters

    Tim is the founding Director of RENEW Planning Limited, a planning and development consultancy based in London, and has provided bespoke planning advice to Cornerstone since May 2011.

    Tim has helped secure planning permission for our development projects in Bickleigh, Cheshunt and Enfield, whilst also providing strategic planning advice on our various feasibility commissions.

    He is at the forefront of Cornerstone's planning negotiations with local planning authorities and helps us manage and coordinate the large multi-disciplinary consultant teams throughout the planning process.

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    Dr Clive Grace OBE

    Dr Clive Grace OBE

    Clive Grace is a former local authority CEO and Deputy Auditor-General for Wales. He has held a range of senior Chair and NED roles in a variety of private, public and voluntary bodies. He is an expert in local public services and public policy, performance management and measurement, and in local and regional development. He also has extensive internet and digital experience and expertise, and he is an expert on Impact Assessment and Impact Evaluations.

    He has worked internationally in the Balkans, North Africa, Nepal, and Southeast Asia, Australia, Canada, the U.S., and in western Europe on a wide range of central and local government policy and delivery issues.

    An Associate of Cornerstone, Clive has been supporting Cornerstone’s work launching the Social Infrastructure Development Framework in Wales.

    Clive is also Chair of BT Wales and a NED on Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd, and he is a Founder and Principal of UK Research and Consultancy Services Ltd, as well as an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University and a Senior associate of the Forum of Federations.

  • mike-bennett

    Mike Bennett

    Mike Bennett

    Mike Bennett is an experienced consultant, adviser and senior executive with a track record of working with national and local governments, international bodies and with the private sector. Mike has particular expertise in working with public sector leaders to co-create imaginative solutions to complex policy problems.

    An Associate of Cornerstone, Mike has recently supported Cornerstone’s work launching the Social Infrastructure Development Framework in Scotland and Wales.

    Mike is also the Director of Public Intelligence, a Senior Advisor to Newton, a Fellow of the School of Management at St Andrews University and an Associate of Local Partnerships. Previously Mike held a series of senior policy roles at the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) before becoming Managing Director.

    Prior to this Mike worked at the Scottish Local Authorities Management Centre in the University of Strathclyde where he worked with local authorities, with Scottish Ministers and with the Scottish Parliament.

  • VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

    John Hall

    John Hall

    John is an experienced Finance Director/Controller with over 15 years’ experience in house building and a further 10 years in the public sector. John was the Finance Director for Laing Homes having moved from temporary worker to finance director in just over 2 years.

    An associate of Cornerstone, John provides financial advice and financial modelling expertise, creating mixed tenure models for viability purposes to ensure that all hurdles rates are met. John also creates and improves management reporting for developers to ensure an informed decision is made in relation to sites and brings practical experience/expertise to the appraisal process to ensure viability is met.

    John also provides services to Housing Associations, Local Authorities and small to medium developers in respect of market rent business plans, development appraisals, bidding for large regeneration sites, management reporting for development companies and advising on reducing costs of homelessness for Local Authorities.