Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton UK LLP has been working with local authorities and other public sector clients for over 30 years. We have over 500 public sector specialists and have over 200 local government clients in the UK. Our blend of consultancy, advisory and assurance expertise, including our deep analytical capabilities, means that we are a leading advisor to councils, supporting them managing their current and future challenges and opportunities. This includes designing and implementing new operating models, strategic planning with corporate and departmental leadership teams on service and organisational sustainability, financial advisors on infrastructure projects, and undertaking specialist reviews drawing on our breadth of service domain and technical expertise.

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Grant Thornton

Meet the Team

Phillip Woolley


+44 (0)161 953 6430

Phillip Woolley | LinkedIn

I work in the government and infrastructure advisory group, providing advice to public and private sector clients on infrastructure transactions. I am the national lead for real estates and assets projects.

With more than 10 years' experience in public private partnerships and public sector consulting, I specialise in providing financial and commercial advice to public sector bodies and private sector project sponsors on deal sizes ranging from £20 million to £1.5 billion. I have previously worked with the Capita Group as a senior consultant.

My team and I have worked on a number of high-profile pathfinder projects across the UK. We are leading financial advisers on the establishment of commercial and development joint ventures between the public and private sectors, including local asset-backed vehicles and local housing companies.

Guy Clifton


+44 (0)20 7728 2903

Guy Clifton | LinkedIn

I am a CIPFA qualified accountant and Fellow of the Institute. I joined the firm in 2007 where I have held a number of senior consulting and advisory roles, including five years as head of local government advisory. My main focus is the local government sector and my expertise includes public financial management, service improvement, governance and collaboration.

Before joining, I was a managing consultant within RSM Robson Rhodes public sector advisory practice for five years. Prior to this I spent 12 years in local government holding a number of operational roles, including head of finance of a London Borough. I've also worked previously in the health, criminal justice, central government, non-departmental public body and regeneration sectors.

I have recently taken up a new role in our public sector assurance team leading on our value for money work with local government and related bodies (fire, police and national parks).

I also manage key sector intermediary body relationships, such as Solace, CIPFA and the LGA.

Outside work my time is taken up by music, travel, history, current affairs, sport and family.

Simon Christian


+44 (0)78 3112 0989

Simon Christian | LinkedIn

I am a director in the firms public services consulting team. I have over 14 years’ experience of working across the public sector and specialise in leading major transformation and reform programmes ranging in value from c.£10-100m.

Recently, my work has focussed on supporting organisations to respond and recover from the pandemic, working in areas where there has been an emphasised and accelerated need for transformation.

With a background in public policy development, I understand the broader pressures facing public services and the opportunities available through more effective and efficient operating models and more comprehensive public sector reform.

I have significant experience in delivering complex programmes, coordinating long-term place-based visions and developing robust cases for devolution and local government reorganisation.

Whether collaborating with colleagues to fundamentally change how services are delivered, responding to emergencies or interpreting the government’s policy agenda, my work is valued and trusted by senior civil servants, executives and politicians.

Specific experience includes:

  • Leading major central and local government transformation programmes

  • Leading a cross council COVID-19 recovery programme at a major local authority within London, resulting in a £70m transformation and modernisation programme to improve public service delivery.

  • Leading on the development of the firm's COVID-19 Vulnerability and Recoverability Index.

  • Developing proposals for devolution, reorganisation and the delivery of better public services across several geographies in England.

  • Leading the development of long-term place-based visions; obtaining a commitment from key partners and residents.

  • Developing a £4bn investment programme and growth agenda - providing trusted strategic advice.

Sarah Ironmonger


+44 (0)20 7865 2997

Sarah Ironmonger | LinkedIn

What I really love about my role is the variety of working with different clients to understand their specific needs and aspirations and working on sector wide developments.

With over 20 years’ experience of working in and with the public sector I have developed a deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the public sector, working with a range of clients in the NHS and across local government. I head up our sector focus on NHS commissioners with a genuine interest in the wider sector and how commissioners can collaborate with providers within both NHS and social care to improve health outcomes.

As part of my role I take an active part in our health strategy group and engage with thought leadership offerings as well as attending and presenting at sector events such as the Health Financial Management Association.

Outside of work my family life keeps me busy including supporting my partner in his community role, the children in their activities and my own voluntary roles such as a trustee of a charity or independent audit committee chair for another charity.

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