Kat is a Manager in Frontier’s Public Policy practice and has been a professional economist since 1999. She has specialised her career in using economics to help create policy that delivers better outcomes for society, the economy and the environment. She has worked with many major UK government departments, agencies, regulators and the wider public sector. Kat has extensive experience of policy design, appraisal and evaluation. Particular areas of her policy expertise are in environmental policy (mainly climate change adaptation); economic growth; transport and infrastructure; and health and social care. She takes a common-sense approach by listening carefully to her client’s policy challenge, understanding the decision-making context and applying economics to find a practical solution.
Kat has worked for many clients to help them understand the impacts on local or national economic activity of particular government policies, and the contribution of particular sectors to economic growth. She led work for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to assess the channels through which the digital communications sector contributes to the economy, and estimated the magnitude of this contribution using analytical methods. This work fed into the DCMS review “A Communications Review for the Digital Age”.
She also led work with Infrastructure UK and HM Treasury to assess the potential contribution to economic growth of better accounting for the interdependencies across the infrastructure system. This analysis used in-depth case studies to estimate the scale of benefits and fed into the government’s National Infrastructure Plan.
Kat joined Frontier in 2011 after twelve years in the Government Economic Service. During that time she held several senior economist positions advising government ministers and senior officials on issues such as the value for money of transport initiatives, climate change policy, airport regulation and carbon valuation in appraisal.
Kat has worked extensively on flooding and climate change adaptation policy. This includes exploring the impacts of flooding, heatwaves and other extreme weather on businesses, communities and individuals, and how best to adapt to those challenges.
She led a major 15-month programme of work for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to explore the case for further action to prepare the UK for projected extreme weather and climate change. This analysis was carried out by considering projected extreme weather and climate risks to business continuity; health and well-being; agriculture and forestry productivity; strategic transport and power generation infrastructure; and, fisheries. The recommendations informed the UK government’s first ever National Adaptation Programme and provided a framework for considering adaptation policy across government.
Kat has also developed guidance for Defra and local authorities on how to assess the impacts on the local economy of taking action to address flood risk or to manage coastal erosion. This step-by-step guidance will help local flood authorities understand and quantify the scale of benefits to their local economies when investing in flood or coastal erosion risk management initiatives.
More widely Kat has advised the Environment Agency on matters such as methods to evaluate Environmental Permitting Regulations Assurance Schemes and on how to assess the productivity of its regulatory functions.
Kat works with clients right across the health and social care sectors to develop evidence on the costs and benefits of interventions to help inform decision-making. With a focus on mental health, well-being, integrated care and children’s social services, Kat has experience in assessing the likely costs and benefits before they are implemented, as well as evaluating interventions ex post to learn about what works, how well, for whom and under what conditions.
Kat recently developed a tool kit to help businesses understand the impacts on their employees of mental-health related problems and the associated financial costs to the business from sickness absence and presenteeism. This was used to help businesses monitor the scale of the challenge and how employees can be better supported in the work place when they have a mental health problem, and how to promote good mental health and well-being in the workplace.
She also carried out analysis of the impacts of extreme weather events on the mental health of those affected by flooding. This was to help ensure that the potentially very long term impacts of such traumatic events are better understood so that policy-makers are able to provide appropriate support for those at risk of flooding.
Kat has also carried out analysis of a range of ‘integrated care’ interventions that seek to integrate mental health and physical health services; healthcare and social care services; acute care and community care services; and to empower patients to manage their own long term conditions so that they have higher well-being and can prevent avoidable trips to the acute hospitals. This involved detailed analysis of the costs of interventions and assessing the outcomes that have been achieved, relative to what would otherwise have been expected to happen. This analysis helped healthcare providers understand the returns on their investment and how best to target interventions to maximise those returns.
Kat has in-depth expertise in transport policy having worked for eight years as a senior economist in the Department for Transport before joining Frontier and leading various transport studies since arriving at Frontier in 2011.
While at Frontier she led a study of the case for further action to increase the preparedness of strategic road and rail infrastructure in England to flooding and other extreme weather. This considered the capacity of key organisations to adapt and assessed the barriers and incentives to take appropriate adaptation action. This analysis made recommendations to inform the UK’s National Adaptation Programme.
She has also worked with the Department for Transport (DfT) to help implement their monitoring and evaluation strategy. This has involved a range of projects to help support DfT in building its capability to carry out proportionate and well-targeted evaluations in line with the HM Treasury Magenta Book guidance.
Before joining Frontier, Kat held a range of senior economist positions in DfT advising Ministers and senior officials on policies including the effectiveness of transport carbon reduction policies, airport regulation, aviation and the EU Emissions Trading System and methods to assess the value for money of transport interventions.