NewHow to Prepare for and Run an Effective Review

When an organisation in the public eye faces a review, there can be a tight line to walk between its survival and public disaster. In order to ensure a review is conducted as efficiently and effectively as possible, Civil Service College introduces How to Prepare for and run an Effective Review, a half day training course to help guide those in positions of leadership through the review process.

Though the relevance of the course is primarily for those in the public sector, it can also be delivered to private sector organisations. It is based very much on the trainers experience as a Chief Operating Officer of a large legal regulator and the leader of a major independent review.

The style of the course would be an informal round table and structured discussion with supporting handout material.

Delivered by Ian Acheson, his review of islamist extremism in prisons and probation has included the SoS policy advisor stating that it was extremely unusual for a review to survive a change in Government like his did, as well as being reported by the press as changing 50 years of penal policy. Ian’s review has also been publicly endorsed by the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss.

Ian will also be introducing his professional colleague Bob Pennington (former senior detective) to demonstrate effective interviewing style and evidence gathering.


Key features of the programme include:

  • Preventing the need for a review
  • Running and effective review
  • Implementing recommendations that stick and managing the aftermath


Designed for:

The purpose of the course is to give delegates a thorough insight in setting up and running an internal review. It will be of use to: Company/NDPB NEDs, board and SMT responsible for risk and reputation management, as well as for those looking to pitch for Government reviews and those who need to prepare themselves for any form of external scrutiny.


Learning Outcomes:

Delegates will be able to see the advantages of thorough external scrutiny as a means of credibly identifying and managing business risks. They will know how such a review should be commissioned and managed, as well as what the practical challenges are.

Attendees who wish to be part of potential government reviews will gain practical knowledge of how to and who to pitch to. Risk managers will understand what steps to put in place in terms of risk management to prevent the necessity of reviews!




10:00 - 16:00


£595 + VAT


St James's Park, London


20 September 2017 Book

30 November 2017 Book

In-House Option

This course is available In-House and can be tailored to meet your individual training requirements.


Course Trainer

Bob Pennington

Bob Pennington is a former Assistant Chief Constable who held the portfolios for Major Crime, Counter Terrorism, Intelligence, Emergency Planning, Operations and Inspections.

Read Bio

Bob Pennington

Bob Pennington is a former Assistant Chief Constable who held the portfolios for Major Crime, Counter Terrorism, Intelligence, Emergency Planning, Operations and Inspections.


During his career in the police he commanded a number of incidents including civil disasters, terrorism, co ordinated Military Aid and trained Commanders in dealing with Emergency Planning. He co ordinated the police response following the Thai Tsunami and has exercised all blue light services and the military in relation to civil emergencies including nuclear accidents and procedures. He also orchestrated numerous Inspections and Reviews both in-facing to prepare for major change and externally to assist other agencies.


On leaving the police he held a number of positions assisting government agencies, overseas charities and other bodies in relation to risk reduction and emergency planning.


Recent work has included a significant Review into working practices and intelligence sharing between the police and other government agencies. He was also contracted to provide strategic risk oversight into a particular area of work following the collapse of the Calais Jungle Camp.


Bob continues to work as a freelance Specialist Security Consultant.

Course Trainer

Ian Acheson

Ian Acheson

Ian Acheson has over 10 years’ experience as an Operational Prison Governor, commanding serious incidents at both local and national levels.

Read Bio
Ian Acheson

Ian Acheson

Ian Acheson is a 48 year old Ulsterman with a long involvement in prison security and counter terrorism.

After a career in journalism, Ian joined Her Majesty’s Prison Service as a prison officer, rising rapidly to Governor grade. He became one of the youngest in-charge Governors in the service’s history. Ian has extensive involvement in operational command of serious prison incidents, hostage negotiation and counter-terrorism policy relating to the threat posed by IRA republican prisoners.

After leaving the prison service, Ian was appointed Director of the international prison charity Prisoners Abroad that supports British citizens detained overseas turning a potentially lethal cash flow crisis on his appointment into a budget surplus on his departure. A spell as Head of Region for the Government’s Youth Justice Board in South West England led to a role in the Senior Civil Service with the Home Office as Director of Community safety with responsibility for running the UK Government’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST in South West England.

Ian left public service in 2016 as Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the GB statutory regulator for the Equality Acts. He then joined the international leadership consultancy Sampson Hall as Director of National Security projects where he develops programmes to help public and private organisations understand and counter the threat posed by violent extremism.

In July 2015, the then Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, MP, asked Ian to lead an independent review of Islamist Extremism in prisons and probation in the UK. With the help of a small expert team, Ian spent the next seven months identifying the threat, assessing the quality of the response and making recommendations. To date, 68 of the 69 recommendations have been accepted and the report is widely regarded as one of the most significant and far reaching contributions to the UK Government’s fight against extremism.

When Ian is not involved with Sampson Hall, he runs his own executive coaching service, Reboot, which aims to assist high value clients work through their management problems when out walking on Dartmoor.


  • Certificate in Terrorism Studies (nearing completion), University of St. Andrews, 2013
  • BA (Hons) Politics , 2.1, Durham University, 1986 – 1989

  • University of Cambridge; PG diploma, Applied Criminology and Prison Management, 2001 – 2001

  • Advanced diploma life coaching skills Stonebridge College

  • Fellow Chartered Institute of Management

In this Series

Improving Audit Committee Effectiveness

Civil Service College can deliver In-House training within your organisation that is exactly tailored to meet your individual training requirements.

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