Red Flag Alert appoints public sector leader in chief economist role

Mark Halstead Press

Date: 1/4/2021

Red Flag Alert, the UK’s number one insolvency score which monitors the financial health of companies, has named Dr Nicola Headlam in a newly created role, chief economist and head of public sector.

Red Flag Alert captures real-time data on every UK and Northern Ireland business and provides insight on the performance of companies, flagging any early warning signs of financial distress.

Nicola has worked in local and central government and in parliament. She joins from the NP11 – a partnership between the public and private sectors – which aims to drive prosperity across the North. Before this, she was Head of Northern Powerhouse for the Cities and Local Growth unit where she led No. 10’s agenda for the North. Nicola has influenced policy at all levels and conducted extensive international post-doctoral research and policy development work at the Universities of Oxford and Liverpool with a focus on how to use evidence for policy development.

In her new role, Nicola will also be director of the Red Flag Alert Living Lab, which will allow the business to co-create value and innovate using its data. Living Lab insights will illuminate the most pressing issues for economic recovery in real-time by working with the issues users are facing.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Nicola Headlam, said: “Public finances and businesses are under significant financial pressure and to drive recovery, we need to be smart about every move. By understanding the performance of local companies, the public sector can make better, data-led decisions. Red Flag Alert’s insights on company financial health means we’re uniquely placed to help local government identify and prioritise investment.

“The possibilities for this data are endless from government departments to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) Growth Hubs, Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Authorities. All levels need better understanding of industrial structure and supply chains as we unlock the economy. In my role, I’ll be expanding our reach and demonstrating how data can shine a light on how local economies and communities are evolving. This will help shape the policy making and planning that will support employment and drive long-term economic recovery.”

Mark Halstead, managing director at Red Flag Alert added: “To have someone with the breadth and depth of Nicola’s experience brings a new dimension to our business as we look towards future growth. In recent years, we’ve expanded our customer base and extended our reach across multiple sectors to build our reputation as the UK’s number one insolvency score. As we continue to operate in a volatile and ever-evolving economic environment, the potential impact is vast.”

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Mark Halstead Mark Halstead Partner

Mark's experience is big data analytics, financial services and building businesses provides Red Flag Alert with strategic direction.

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