Welcome to TRL Insight

Practical devolution – your money, your control

TRL Insight is the trading name of Tom Lawrence. I can provide a variety of services to organisations across sectors.

Services I can provide

Services I can provide


As I work largely alone and pursue other interests as well, I want to focus on small ‘task-and-finish’ projects. For example, spreadsheet analysis should be clearly delineated, with regard to data availability and quality. I am also happy to contribute in a limited way as one of a team of researchers, for example in a senior advisor role in a consultancy project.

My freelance work to date has been for national organisations supporting local government, for example the LGA and NPI (under the TRL Insight banner) and LGiU, APSE and LG Futures (as an associate). (See the About and Feeds pages for more detail.) But I am keen to broaden TRL Insight’s client base.

Organisations to which I can provide services


The ethos of TRL Insight

I believe that when a community experiences a problem – be it a geographic community, a community of interest or identity, or any other kind of community – it knows the problem best. It knows all the subtleties and details. Solutions are therefore best designed by the community, or co-designed with it. Similarly, services work best when service users are involved in their design. If a service is delivered across a locality, it needs to be sculpted around the specific needs, demographics, opportunities and challenges of that locality.

Where voluntary organisations, social enterprises and small businesses have emerged from a community, they have great expertise and transformative potential. Local authorities also have a wealth of local knowledge. They have a mandate to take a holistic view across services and policy areas and to take key decisions. They have an influential role as convenors and facilitators.

The knowhow and capacity of existing organisations, both local and national, can achieve a lot. But there are occasionally times when an external input is desirable. TRL Insight can help you through those moments when additional resource is needed, providing a fresh perspective and exploring potential routes to success. I can provide national policy context and examples of best practice and help you finesse your ideas.

Governance and finance are both key to delivering sustainable services and value for money for citizens. Efficient and effective solutions often involve working in partnership with other organisations, using structures supported by strong governance arrangements. TRL Insight can provide critical challenge to service transformation, pointing out where decision-making can be further devolved and community empowerment can be enhanced. For this to be put on a sustainable, long-term footing, it also needs to be affordable. I believe in working with the grain of organisational culture to find workable approaches to resourcing. This could include, for example, income generation and/or short-term investment in projects which will generate long-term savings or other financial return.


TRL Insight takes an approach of “no project too small”, for an appropriate daily rate. Typically, my fees are around £600-700 per day, but there can be significant variation in this, according to factors such as project risks, level of specialist knowledge/expertise required and the nature of the client.

My relevant skills and experience are described on the About page. Visit the Feeds page for examples of my work, along with blog posts and tweets.