ATHE Quality and Compliance Committee

The work of the Quality and Compliance Committee assists managers and the ATHE Board in ensuring that ATHE continues to operate to the highest standards and meets the expectations of stakeholders.  In achieving this overall purpose, the Committee monitors ATHE’s compliance with the regulatory requirements as stated by Ofqual in the General Conditions of Recognition and those provided by other regulators.

Below you will find a brief description of the various members of the Quality and Compliance Committee and their experience. 

Alex Birks

Alex Birks joined ATHE as Chief Executive on the 27th November 2017, having given the ATHE Board his assessment of challenges and opportunities in domestic and international markets.  His initial focus has been to build capacity and capability in key areas to realise the growth potential for ATHE, particularly internationally, while assuring continued quality of service and regulatory compliance.  Alex works from ATHE’s head office in Norwich, an operational hub co-ordinating a network of associates and supporting 200 centres in over 30 countries.  

Alex’s earlier career provided a broad base of commercial experience managing multi-£m Government and private sector accounts for The Stationery Office Group.

His MBA at Henley Business School enabled Alex to spend four months with The British Library, delivering a highly regarded analysis of the organisation’s change prospects to its management team.  Overseas MBA assignments included studying diverse businesses in South Africa and researching Swiss business culture.

Consulting assignments post-MBA produced strategic plans for the National Construction College and parent organisation CITB, leading to Alex’s appointment to lead corporate planning and performance management for the national training body.

Further leadership roles at CITB followed involving new ventures and technology development, culminating in a pan-industry GB-wide skills strategy for construction.  Alex also headed CITB’s Standards & Qualifications department, engaging with Governments and regulators nationally, and hosting the Built Environment Awarding Body Forum. 

Moving back into management consulting in 2017, Alex helped set up and launch boutique consultancy Stirling Strategy before returning to independent strategy and change consulting immediately prior to joining ATHE.

Alex lives in North Norfolk and has a long association with the county, from school days at Gresham’s in Holt, to working for national organisations headquartered in Norfolk.  Alex has an internationalist outlook having grown up abroad and travelled frequently with a father in the oil business.  His keen interest in overseas culture continues with a Swiss wife and regular visits to family and friends in Zurich.

Daniel Cocksedge


John Fairhurst

Having qualified and practiced as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, in 1993 John entered academia with the University of Huddersfield.  During his final two years at Huddersfield he undertook the role of Head of Collaborative Provision for the Business School, responsible for the development, quality assurance and enhancement of all programmes delivered off-campus, in addition to UK and international marketing and recruitment.

In 2004 he took up the position of Associate Dean (Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences) with Anglia Ruskin University, responsible for a very diverse portfolio.  During the period 2007-09, he combined the role of Associate Dean with Head of Anglia Law School, until he departed in August 2009 to take up the post of Professor and Head of the School of Law at Birmingham City University.

John is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In 2011 he was appointed NCC Education’s Managing Director.  NCC Education is a transnational provider of UK Higher Education programmes in Business and Computing. 

John joined LSBM as Managing Director and Academic Principal in September 2012.


Dr. P J Hood

Dr. Penelope Hood has had experience  working in the Information office of United Nations, commerce, industry, the National Health Service and a large local authority in the UK.  Her work includes training, teaching, and research, advising and consulting.  Formerly a Principal Lecturer in the Lord Ashcroft International Business School (a faculty of Anglia Ruskin University), where she was Director of International Partnerships and then Director of International Partnerships for The Association of Business Executives, she is now working for Amity University London and the University of Bolton on masters’ and Ph.D. programmes. Overseas work has included consultancy to the Ministry of Education and National Institute of Education in Sri Lanka, advising the Maldivian government on decentralisation of education and working as Project Co-ordinator for three British Council Funded Higher Education Links in Sri Lanka on education management and leadership in Sri Lankan schools, as well as on entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education.  Dr. Hood is a private education consultant and faculty member of the Postgraduate Institute of Management, Sri Jayewardenepura University, Sri Lanka, member of ARTDO (Asian Regional Training and Development Organisation), Fellow of the UK Academy of Higher Education and sits on the Academic Board of two higher education institutes in Colombo, Sri Lanka.