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Critical Thinking was established in July 2000 and is a public policy consultancy specialising in further and higher education, training and skills. We offer a wide range of services to clients including educational organisations, bodies and agencies, universities and colleges as well as private sector organisations interested in, or affected by, the proposals or decisions of government and its various agencies.

Our policy and consultancy projects are complementary and closely linked. We apply our extensive knowledge of the education and training policy environment to provide practical solutions to the implementation and operational issues faced by individual institutions and organisations. We feed those issues back into our work developing policies for institutions and organisations, government and its agencies.

Critical Thinking is not a management consultancy, nor are we parliamentary lobbyists. We do provide high quality analysis of, and practical advice on, policy issues at all levels and at all stages of the policy process cycle. And we work with specialist management consultants and public affairs agencies when these skills are a necessary component of a project.

We work with both government and its agencies and also with those who have to implement the policies enacted by those bodies.

Critical Thinking helps these different client groups to:

  • devise and develop public policy;
  • analyse and understand new developments in public policy;
  • respond to and influence public policy outcomes;
  • devise strategies and creative options for implementing policy; and
  • evaluate and improve the effectiveness of existing policies.

Critical Thinking meets the needs of its clients by working closely with each one to understand the specific context in which it operates and the issues with which it is faced. We generate effective results through independent, informed, evidence-based analysis and advice.
who we are
Jane W Denholm

MA Politics and Economic History (Aberd) MSc Social and Public Policy (Edin)

Since January 2003, Critical Thinking has been run by Jane W Denholm, one of the two founding partners. Jane has eighteen years' experience of strategic policy analysis, development and implementation and was formerly deputy director of the organisation now known as Universities Scotland and deputy director of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. She was policy adviser to the Dearing Committee and secretary to the Garrick Committee, drafting the Report which became the basis of higher education policy in Scotland

Partner organisations

On larger projects, or where additional personnel or expertise are required, Critical Thinking collaborates with other organisations and specialist consultancies. We are highly experienced at putting together and managing teams comprising the most appropriate blend of skills and expertise. Current and past collaborations have involved:

    Bishops Consulting
    Information Browser Ltd
    Lesley Kelly
    Mike Wilson
    Nigel Brown Associates
    Peter Hurrell
    PS Communications
    Scottish Council Foundation
    Frank Stoner
    Technology Development Group
    Whitton PR