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Professor Alan Alexander

Alan Alexander, OBE


Advisory Council member

Professor Alan Alexander was General Secretary of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 2013-2018. He is Emeritus Professor Public Sector Management, University of Strathclyde.

Professor Alexander has been a member of two local authorities, and of the Board of the Housing Corporation from 1977 to 1980. In 1998-1999 he was a member of the Commission on Local Government and the Scottish Parliament (The McIntosh Commission). He was Chairman of the West of Scotland Water Authority 1999-2002 and Chair of Scottish Water 2002-2006. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2003 and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015. He was awarded the OBE in 2010 for services to social science.

He was a member of the Economic and Social Research Council 2003-2009 (where he chaired the Audit Committee [2003-6] and the Research Resources Board [2006-9], and of the Accounts Commission for Scotland 2002-2008. He chaired the Data Access Committee of Understanding Society, a major longitudinal data study, 2010-15. He was Chair of Postwatch Scotland 2007-2008, a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 2012-2018 and a Trustee of the David Hume Institute 2012-2018. He was chair of Waterwise, 2010-2015, and of the Outward Bound Scottish Council, 2011-2014.

In 2008-9 he chaired the RCUK/UUK review of Full Economic Costing of Research in UK Universities.

From 2013 to 2014, he was Vice-Chair of The Royal Society of Edinburgh Inquiry into Digital Participation in Scotland.

In 1991, he conducted an independent inquiry into the circumstances that led to the Western Isles Islands Council's large losses in the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). The Report of the Inquiry, Relations between Comhairle nan Eilean and BCCI was published by the Council in March 1992.


Local Government in Britain since Reorganisation, George Allen & Unwin, New Local Government Series, 1982

The Politics of Local Government in the United Kingdom, Longman, Politics Today Series, 1982

L'amministrazione locale in Gran Bretagna, CEDAM, Padova, 1984 (Italian translation, revised and updated, of Local Government in Britain Since Reorganisation.)

Borough Government and Politics: Reading 1835-1985, George Allen & Unwin, 1985

Managing the Fragmented Authority, Local Government Management Board, 1994 (with Kevin Orr)

The Future of DLOs/DSOs in Scotland, ADLO, 1998

Major articles and contributions to books

c. 35 refereed articles and book chapters published in UK, Canada, Ireland, USA and Italy

Official publications

Relations between Comhairle nan Eilean and Bank of Credit and Commerce International: Report of the Inquiry, Western Isles Islands Council, 1992

Review of Structures, Policies and Procedures, Western Isles Islands Council, 1992