External Advisory Board

The purpose of the Wales Governance Centre External Advisory Board is to provide strategic advice and guidance to the Wales Governance Centre, the School of Law and Politics and Cardiff University on the mission, development and ambitions of the Wales Governance Centre.

Ann Beynon OBE (Chair)

Ann Beynon OBE is the Chair of the Wales Governance Centre External Advisory Board. Ann is the Senior Adviser Welsh Affairs for Severn Trent Water and is the former Wales Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Ann is the former BT Director of Wales and was their strategic and development representative for Wales.

Her career background includes a number of senior Business Development roles and she is currently Chair of the Wales Advisory Board for Business in the community.

Ann was awarded an OBE in 2008 and was the Prince of Wales’s Ambassador in the Community for Wales from 2005-2006.

Professor Gillian Bristow

Gillian is a Professor in Economic Geography with research interests in the areas of regional economic development; regional economic resilience; local and regional competitiveness; and regional policy.

As Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Gillian supports the development and implementation of both the University’s research and innovation strategy, and the College’s research agenda.

Gillian liaises with and supports College Board and Directors of Research in developing and strengthening the research culture and environment, and works to support our various research groups, centres and institutes. She also works to maintain strong relationships with our external funders and partners.

She is currently leading one of Cardiff University’s flagship engagement projects – City Region Exchange – which is designed to enhance the University’s engagement with the Cardiff Capital Region.

Alan Cogbill thumbnail

Alan Cogbill

Alan Cogbill held senior civil service posts in the Home Office and forerunners of the Ministry of Justice, including Director of Civil Justice and Legal Services and Finance Director. From 2005 to 2009 he was Director of the Wales Office.

He became first chief executive of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, leading its set up and first years of operation, before retiring in 2014.

He takes continuing interest in government, law and constitution as a UCL Constitution Unit Associate, and led a joint project with the Wales Governance Centre on the UK Government’s Wales Bill. He is a non-executive director of Avenues Trust, a not for profit body which pioneers specialist social care to support people disadvantaged by disability to live full lives in their communities. He has recently been appointed to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

Carolyn Hitt

Born in Llwynypia, Rhondda, Carolyn Hitt read English at Oxford University. After training on the Neath Guardian and Merthyr Express, Carolyn joined The Western Mail in 1992 and progressed to Features Editor, winning Welsh Feature Writer of the Year in 1998. That same year she switched to broadcasting, joining the independent television and radio company Presentable Ltd. In 2012 she co-founded the all-woman production company Parasol Media Ltd.

She has written and presented television and radio series on the arts, popular culture, consumer issues, women’s issues, history and sport for Radio 4, BBC Wales and ITV Wales. As a producer, she has worked with some of Wales’s biggest names, heading up TV projects as diverse as Land of Our Mothers – a women’s history of Wales presented by Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson – and Max Boyce’s Big Birthday, which notched up record viewing figures.

Her broadcasting commitments are combined with a freelance writing career. She has written for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and has been a Western Mail columnist for 25 years. Though she writes regularly on a wide variety of subjects, a particular passion for rugby has proved an award-winning sideline. She was the first woman to win Welsh Sports Journalist of the Year and went on to win the award for the whole of the UK – twice. She also became the first woman to win The Welsh Sports Hall of Fame Journalist of the Year.

A former Welsh Woman of the Year finalist, she has been twice Highly Commended for Columnist of the Year in the UK Regional Press Awards in the past three years.

Carolyn has contributed to several literary and sporting anthologies and in 2012 she published her first book, Wales Play In Red – on Welsh rugby in the noughties. (The title is taken from her experience of being the only woman in the rugby international press box and being teasingly told “Remember…Wales play in red!”) Her second book – Wales In the 1970s, a retro-style annual – was published in 2015. Her next book will be on Welsh women in politics.

She is an Ambassador for Velindre Cancer Centre and is on the board of the National Dictionary of Welsh Biography; The Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust; The Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and Ty Hapus, a charity supporting people with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Her proudest claim to fame, however, is beating a 15-year-old Gary Barlow into second place in the BBC carol-writing competition A Song For Christmas in 1986! Not that it held Gary back…