Dr Tim Williams is CEO of the Committee for Sydney, ‘an increasingly influential policy forum’ (Australian Financial Review). The Committee has been welcomed by Premier Berejiklian as providing ‘key thought leadership for the city we love’.
Before coming to Australia in late 2010, Tim was recognised as one of the UK’s thought-leaders in urban regeneration and economic development. Between 2000 and 2010 he wrote 400 weekly columns for the specialist professional journal, Regeneration and Renewal, and in 2003 was named by readers of that journal as the leading personality in the sector in the UK. This award also owed something to the profile Tim developed as CEO of the Thames Gateway London Partnership between 1998 and 2003.
In this position, Tim played an important role in attracting massive new investment in infrastructure into East London and established the urban renewal case which helped secure the 2012 Olympic Games for the area. In recognition of his work, Tim was appointed a founding associate member of Tony Blair’s Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in 2002. Between 2005 and 2010 Tim was a special advisor on housing, urban regeneration and planning to five successive senior UK ministers, a unique record.
As a special advisor he helped create a new national urban regeneration and affordable housing organisation, the Homes and Communities Agency, which managed an £8 billion budget. He also helped to reignite the £25 billion CrossRail project — on a ‘Thames Gateway’ alignment through both Stratford and Woolwich — part-funded through a value capture model which Tim helped to develop. Tim was part of the government team which created what became ‘UK City Deals’ now being implemented in Australia.
He has also advised the London mayor on housing and the Australian federal minister for Housing. In 2007, he chaired an inquiry into the quality of housing in East London on behalf of the Housing Corporation and the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment published as The Williams Report. He wrote London Mayor Boris Johnson’s first draft Residential Design Guide for London in 2009 — and accompanied the London mayor on a visit to New York that year as an expert on social housing, for discussions with Mayor Bloomberg’s team.
Tim has also worked at a senior level in the private sector. His last role in the UK was as managing director of Navigant Consulting Public Services’ team, where he acted as strategic advisor to the CEO of Lend Lease on the building of the Olympic Athletes’ Village in Stratford, East London.
Since arriving in Sydney in late 2010, Tim has written some ground breaking and influential reports on housing, urban policy and the potential impact of high speed broadband on cities and public policy. He has written a number of columns on public policy, housing and urban issues for the main Sydney media outlets; the Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Telegraph and the Fifth Estate and regularly appears on radio and TV. He is regular lecturer on urban policy issues for University of Technology, Sydney. Tim has a blog hosted by the UK’s leading urban regeneration journal, Regeneration and Renewal.
His work for the Committee for Sydney on the ‘big city’ policy issues has helped make that organisation become a key player in policy-making for Sydney. Its work with the NSW Government on developing Sydney as a global talent hub has been innovative and has had impact both on public policy and private sector best practice. He has been asked to advise on a number of key initiatives in Sydney including planning, urban renewal and governance reform. He is working closely with the NSW Government on a joint project with the Committee for Sydney — Sydney as a Financial Services Knowledge Hub – aimed at creating a platform for collaboration between the public and private sectors in driving Sydney’s financial sector.
Tim has previously advised both the South Australian and Federal Governments on affordable and social housing innovation and was a trusted source of advice on the design of the Greater Sydney Commission based on his experience of being a ministerial advisor negotiating new powers for the London mayor in 2005 to 6. He is currently advising the Australian Federal Government on its cities policy agenda. Tim was raised in public housing in a mining community in South Wales before studying at universities in Cambridge, Oxford and Wales.
He has a degree in history from the University of Cambridge (1978), having been a student at Peterhouse where he had been a winner of the PC Vellacott History Essay Competition. He has a teaching qualification from the University of Oxford (1984), a Ph.D. from the University of Wales (1990) and has been called to the Bar from the Inner Temple (1998). Tim has published Patriot Games, essays on Wales (1997), and he has written and presented a 50 minute television documentary based on his Ph.D. broadcast by the BBC in 1995. Between 1997 and 2000 he wrote a weekly column for The Scotsman newspaper. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Business School at UTS.