Sir Martin Narey
Former CEO Barnardos and Former Director of the Prison Service

Change, Employee Engagement, Leadership

Sir Martin Narey is the Government’s Adoption Czar, appointed in July 2011 after The Times published his 22,000 word blueprint for adoption in the same month. He is also a Board Member of the Advertising Standards Authority. He stepped down as Chief Executive of Barnardo’s in January after five very successful years at the helm during which Barnardo’s grew in size and influence becoming, once again, the biggest children’s charity in the UK. Before that he was Director General of the Prison Service and then the Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service and a Permanent Secretary at the Home Office.

When running prisons he was widely recognised for his commitment to transforming and motivating prison staff, and for his clarity of vision and determination to drive through improvements in the way in which prisoners were treated. He established the Decency Agenda in prisons, which led to significant improvements in prison conditions. He was appointed as the youngest ever Director General of the Prison Service in 1998.

Martin paints a portrait of the challenges of the Prison Service, contrasting that with the management of a large charity, outlines why no one wanted the Prison job, why he did want it, and then, how very difficult it was to do. He talks frankly about the many challenges, including things he got badly wrong. From that, but also reflecting on his wider managerial experience, he draws up a list of ten simple leadership rules which, he argues, apply in good times and bad and in any type of management job and which, he believes helped him to win the Chartered Institute of Management’s gold medal for leadership, the first public sector recipient of this for ten years.

Martin has a deep and passionate concern for disadvantaged young people. It is this thread (in addition to a growing frustration with the political process), which brought him to Barnardo’s which works with 111,000 disadvantaged children and young people with a staff of nearly eight thousand and with 16,000 volunteers.