Gillian is a solicitor by profession qualifying in 1985 having obtained an upper class honours degree in law (LLB) from Exeter University. She worked as a Solicitor in local government for 21 years for a number of local authorities including Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council. As a Solicitor Gillian specialised in children’s law and she worked with central government of the implementation of the Children Act 1989. She was the principal trainer for the Law Society on children’ s law for local authority solicitors and she also trained many other professionals on child care legal practice. She carried out pro bono work for the National Children’s Bureau and the National Council for Disabled Children in the 1990s to assist their charitable work and lobbying to government. She has also authored a number of articles on children’s law and practise.
Gillian became the Chief Executive of Peterborough City Council in 2002 and joint Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council in 2015. She retired from these roles in 2021. During these years Gillian served on a government commission for Council building and also advised government on migration policy. She served as Chair of a national charity UNITAS supporting young people at risk of offending and served for many years as a co-opted Member of Peterborough Interfaith Council. During the pandemic Gillian co-chaired the Strategic Co-ordination Group with Jan Thomas from the health service (CCG) which led the response to the COVID-19 Pandemic across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Gillian was awarded an OBE for services to local government and an honorary doctorate in Business Administration from Anglia Ruskin University in 2009. Gillian was also awarded Freedom of the City of Peterborough in December 2021 for exceptional service to the Council and the City of Peterborough. Gillian is currently a Trustee of Nene Park Trust, a governor of the Inspire Education Group and she chairs the Peterborough Cathedral Trust.