I was born and brought up in Sutton Coldfield and have lived in Staffordshire since marrying my wife, Jackie, 31 years ago. We have two children, educated in Lichfield, now making their way in London. I left school at 18 to be a professional golfer, which I nearly succeeded at, then studied from home for 6 years to earn a degree with the Open University while establishing my career in I.T. I established an Apple Computer dealership and then a software company developing business and accounting software. I still write software and offer advice on managing change.
Since 2007 I have been working and campaigning for communities across Staffordshire & Stoke as district councillor in Lichfield, a county councillor in Tamworth and as a parliamentary candidate for Stoke on Trent North & Kidsgrove in the 2015 and 2017 general elections.
During this time I have held senior council positions which have allowed me to help increase jobs, raise standards in our schools and colleges and to modernise and improve our public services. I have developed and tested policy through consultation with the public. I have always been ready to explain our policy and share good and bad news through newspapers, radio and TV.
Funding for public services was under pressure for much of my time as an elected representative so I found my experience of managing budgets and utilising technology really helped me to make a difference.
I have learnt that solving problems in business requires listening to customers, suppliers, management and the workforce. The same applies to public life where I seek to engage with charities, health providers, councillors, local and national agencies as well everyone delivering and receiving the service. I know that keeping us safe will mean working closely with many partners including social workers, schools and health professionals who can directly assist with prevention, detection, prosecution, rehabilitation and reassurance.
I expect services to be truly accountable to the public they serve, delivering what we need whilst being efficient, so our taxes aren't wasted. I also believe in acknowledging and learning from mistakes, something a lot of public bodies and politicians find difficult to do but I think is essential for earning trust and driving improvement.
If elected in May I will be accountable to you for the performance of our Police and Fire & Rescue services. I will be responsible for developing local plans that put Stoke & Staffordshire's safety priorities first while ensuring the £250m budget is spent wisely on the tools, training and support that the professionals need to keep us safe. Police, Fire and Crime commissioner is therefore an important role and it needs to be done well. I believe I have the experience and determination to be a good commissioner and would welcome your support in May and during the campaign.
Please sign up to follow my campaign and let me know what matters to you through my online survey.
Kind regards, Ben.