Terry Hanafin joined the Audit Commission in October from Croydon health authority, where he was chief executive.

Unusually for a health service manager, he has also been a local authority chief executive. He headed the London borough of Lewisham for four years. And before that he was a fellow in strategic management at the King's Fund college.

When he saw the job of director of public service research advertised, he jokes that he thought: 'Oh look, they have created a job for me.'

In his new job he heads a directorate bringing together the former local government and health studies divisions, part of a wider restructuring designed to prepare the Audit Commission for developments in the NHS, local government and devolution.

As an HA chief executive, he was 'a fan' of the national reports, but found the local ones 'variable' and admits that action did not always follow.

He is determined to get work done more systematically, but says Audit Commission staff were already aware 'what the big issues were'.