Biographies

Bev Smith - Chair
Bev Smith

Bev is a passionate and committed public servant of 32 years starting her career in Lincolnshire Police and working in a wide range of District and Borough Councils within England. Her career has involved economic regeneration and town centre renewal programmes alongside delivering housing growth. Her most recent role is as Chief Executive of North West Leicestershire, which is a council managing significant  economic growth within the heart of the National Forest and is host to East Midlands airport one of the largest freight airports in the UK. She has worked across the region and with partners nationally on EU Transition and the response to and recovery from the Covid pandemic within Leicestershire and Rutland. 

She has worked with the Local Government Association as a peer reviewer, supporting local government improvement and is an experienced chair, trustee and board member in a wide range of sectors, from environmental bodies, education and sport. 

She believes strongly in the strength of partnership working and has built excellent relationships with regional, national and local government colleagues. 

As an experienced returning officer she has managed Parliamentary, Mayoral, District, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections and is also a champion of inclusive and accessible democracy. Contributing to research on the voter ID pilots she firmly believes in ensuring the community voice is encouraged and heard to influence place shaping and local and national policy.  

'I was born and brought up in the Rhondda valley and even though much of my career has been serving the communities in England my heart has always been in Wales and I am excited and proud to have been given the opportunity to use my experience and skills to work with the Democracy and Boundary Commision in Wales during its next phase. I am also very much looking forward to working with the Welsh local government family. '

Frank Cuthbert - Member
Frank Cuthbert

Frank has lived in South Wales all his life, either in Cardiff or Caerphilly. He is married with one daughter. Educated at Whitchurch High School and Cardiff University, he holds a Master’s Degree in Research Methodology.

Frank has had a varied career, including spells in the civil service but also including time as a political consultant and as a research manager with Training and Enterprise Councils and Gloucestershire County Council. However, most recently he served for 18 years with the Welsh Government heading a team in the Local Democracy Division.

During his time at Welsh Government he had responsibility for liaison with the Boundary Commission and for advising Welsh Ministers on policy and legislative proposals in relation to the Commission.

He retired in 2018.

Michael Imperato - Member
Michael Imperato

Michael is a director at South Wales solicitors Watkins and Gunn. He has acted for vulnerable people, trade unions, charities and campaigning groups for many years and has been involved in a number of the highest profile legal cases in Wales in recent years. Michael is a former president of the Cardiff and District Law Society and has served on several Law Society committees.

Michael holds a number of public roles. He is an independent member of Cardiff & the Vale Health Board, a member of the panel of chairmen of the Valuation Tribunal of England, a visiting scholar at Swansea University and trustee of the Bevan Foundation.  He is a longstanding school governor.

He was born and bred in Cardiff, attending Whitchurch High School before graduating from Reading University. Michael is a keen follower of most sports and enjoys trying not to get lost on walks with his wife in the Welsh countryside.

Ms Julie James - Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Member

Although born in London, Julie married into a family that has lived for many generations in the Brecon Beacons National Park. 

Julie was Director of Personnel for 18 years for Monarch Airlines and Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd employing 3,000 staff before retiring to live in Capel Isaac, Carmarthenshire  with her husband, a retired GP, in 2000.

Julie was Chair of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority from 2011 to 2014 where she was a WG appointed Member from 2006 to 2016 and it is in this capacity that she served as a Member of South West Wales Regional Tourism Partnership where she was Vice Chair.

She holds a variety of public appointments including:  Independent Board Member of Hywel Dda University Health Board, a Non-Executive Director of the Welsh Government EPS Audit and Risk Committee and an Assessor for the Welsh Government’s Corporate Health at Work Standard.

Past public appointments have included a Non-Executive Directorship with the Welsh Ambulance NHS Trust, Health Professions Wales, and Pembrokeshire and Derwen NHS Trust.  She has also served as a Non-Executive Director of Estyn, Deputy Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Standards Committee and a Member of the OFCOM Advisory Board for Wales.

Julie has been a School, College and University Governor within England and Wales and was awarded any Honorary MBA by the University of Bedfordshire and is a Life Member of Court of Swansea University.

Julie is a Trustee of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Trustee of Brecon Beacons Trust and is a Member of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Advisory Board for Wales.  She is a past Vice Chair of Keep Wales Tidy.