Leila Baker


Leila is an Associate of Just Ideas and is a researcher with 25 years’ experience in the public and voluntary sectors including roles in homelessness, housing, community and campaigning organisations. Leila takes great pleasure in getting to know organisations in order to support them to achieve their ambitions and bring about change.

Leila has particular expertise in participatory approaches to research and evaluation – organisations engage her to advise and supervise as well as deliver research and evaluation – and Leila has a track record in helping teams find ways to embed learning and evaluation in their work. She enjoys brokering partnerships between research and practice and has written, presented and taught on this subject. Such partnerships include the practitioner-led evidence review Volunteering and early childhood outcomes commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund; and learning partnerships with Big Local, a national community development programme led by Local Trust.

Since becoming an independent consultant in 2018, Leila’s recent projects have included work with temporary homelessness shelters to understand their experience of using an innovative new ‘flat pack pod’; support for BBC Children in Need to review their UK grantee training programme, Your Difference, and develop a national evaluation strategy; and supporting the evaluation of a Community Fund Reaching Communities volunteer peer support programme.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant Leila was Head of Research at the Institute for Voluntary Action Research and led the UK inquiry commissioned by Local Trust with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, ‘The Future for Communities: Perspectives on Power’, as well as the landmark study on small charities, ‘The Value of Small’ commissioned by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales.

Leila is chair of Citizens Advice Waltham Forest and an advisory group member to Commonweal Housing. She is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Education.