Born in Montreal Canada, Professor Wendy Thomson has a distinguished career in public service and social policy research in Canada and the United Kingdom. Her experience has combined senior roles in the academy and government.
Moving to the UK in the 1980’s, Professor Thomson obtained a PhD in social administration from the University of Bristol supported by scholarships from Canadian governments. She stayed on working for the Greater London Council before becoming Assistant Chief Executive of Islington Council in London. In 1993, she was appointed Chief Executive of the charity, Turning Point. Professor Thomson returned to local government as Chief Executive of Newham Council before becoming Director of the Audit Commission.
During Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s second government, Professor Thomson led the Office of Public Service Reform in the Cabinet Office, and served on the advisory committees of the University of Warwick’s school of local government, the University of Birmingham’s INLOGOV and several think tanks. She was awarded a CBE for her work on public service reform in the 2005 New Year Honours.
Also in 2005, Professor Thomson was given a tenured Professorship in Social Policy at McGill University, Montreal when she was appointed Director of the School of Social Work and founding member of the centre for research on Children and Families Alongside this role, she was appointed to lead Commissions for the governments of Ontario (Commission on Child Welfare) and Quebec (Patient-based financing of health care). International work included advising governments in Nigeria, Ghana, the UNDP and OECD missions in the middle east. She was honoured by the YWCA Women of the Year for her work in education.
In 2014, Professor Thomson returned to the UK to serve as Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council, one of the largest local authorities in the country with a staff of over 6,000, a budget of £1.4bn, and several fully-owned public companies. She sits on the Boards of Norwich University of the Arts, the University of East Anglia, and national charity Diabetes UK.