Des McConaghy

Des McConaghy: biographical note
(December 2017)


Des (1931-2017) has been a reticulist and retired public servant presently concluding a review of public sector accountability at Westminster and within the UK devolved countries (incl. Northern Ireland). This work involves central/local relationships: the localisation of all community services and the strategic targeting of resources for exceptional local tasks or problems. His interests include public participation and area management and the effectiveness of accountable systems at all levels of government.


Des was educated at Liverpool University, graduating in 1955 as an architect. He worked in private architectural practice in London and Northern Ireland and was then in charge of (SSHA) large scale housing projects and town expansions in Scotland until 1962. In 1964 he completed a post-graduate thesis on regional policy set against the EEC trade liberalisation pressures on Europe's peripheral nations. In 1963 he became principal planner with the NI Craigavon "New City" programme, in charge of statutory planning and inter-agency co-ordination. Des left public service in 1969 to direct an inner city project in Toxteth (SNAP), pioneering early co-operative and housing associations and "area management" within local government finance reform.


In 1972 Des published proposals for area management, comprehensive regeneration and for the national financing and political validation of local performance driven renewal. He was then Whitehall adviser (DOE: Planning & Urban Policy) during both the Conservative and the subsequent Labour Government Administrations. He then directed the post-graduate planning workshop at Liverpool Polytechnic and the "Connect" (Area Information Service) providing online access to area profiles and public spending across geographical and jurisdictional boundaries: 1980-1986.


Des was a Salzburg Fellow (North American Studies), a Winston Churchill Fellow (USA: New York, Philadelphia & New Orleans "Model Cities"), sometime an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool University and commentator on UK and European public administration for House of Commons Committees and the local government, planning and public finance press. In 2012 Des is bringing forward proposals for the inclusion of public audit in the UK national supply systems and for an effective democratic control of public capital.



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