About TRL Insight
TRL Insight is the trading name of Tom Lawrence.
Tom Lawrence has been working for local authorities and related organisations since 2001. Tom can be hired for analysis, advice, support and other consultancy work either through APSE Solutions, through AWICS or independently. Which of these is most appropriate may depend upon the nature of the project. Visit these external sites or use the Contact page for further information.
Since turning freelance in 2013, Tom’s work has included:
- Creating two spreadsheet tools for the Local Government Association (LGA) to support its work on the Fair Funding Review (see Feeds for more);
- Carrying out research and analysis in support of some of LG Futures’ highly respected benchmarking reports;
- Providing analysis and advice in relation to proposals for both 50% Business Rate Retention and 100% Business Rate Retention;
- Writing dozens of briefings, blogs, journal articles and guides on local government finance, service transformation, accountability and related issues;
- Running training sessions for councillors and officers on local government finance;
- Chairing and participating in meetings of senior local government figures on Devolution Deals;
- Participating as an expert panellist in a Guardian LiveChat.
See Feeds for examples of Tom’s work, along with blog posts and tweets.
In 2017-2018, he also held the post of Senior Researcher in School Funding at the Education Policy Institute. During this time, he co-authored a high profile report on school balances, teacher pay and the National Funding Formula (see Feeds for more).
Prior to turning freelance, he worked for London Councils and the London Borough of Lewisham. During this time, his work included:
- Modelling income and expenditure trends and creating budget projections;
- Providing bespoke analysis to council finance officers, including creating analysis tools for them to use;
- Negotiating on behalf of London at meetings chaired by Government departments;
- Compiling a collection of case studies on infrastructure investment for a London Councils micro-website and running an associated launch event;
- Writing and drafting responses to numerous government consultations, mainly on local government finance matters;
- Modelling the impact of potential changes to Formula Grant;
- Administering and running finance officer meetings and member meetings, including compiling papers for committees of London Borough leaders;
- Carrying out research into local authority policy across an extremely wide range of services.
Particular strengths of Tom’s include:
- Extensive knowledge of key issues of strategic finance;
- A practitioner’s knowledge of policy development processes at the national level;
- Strong understanding of the regulatory framework of local government finance;
- Extensive memory bank and records of case studies and analysis;
- Skill in advancing appropriate innovative suggestions;
- An instinct for engagement, inclusivity and good governance, especially in relation to service users and local communities;
- Deep understanding of the linkages between policy areas;
- Honed skills in articulating a narrative in a clear, precise and thought-provoking style;
- Skilled in providing critiques of verbal arguments and documents, on political, technical and typographic levels.
- An extensive network of other consultants and organisations he can draw on to support any project.
Tom holds a doctorate in mathematical physics. Among other things, he has also provided content for a social enterprise website on recycling and run an awareness-raising campaign on community rights.