Barry has been the chief executive of a large and successful inner London borough (Lewisham) since 1994. Barry served as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of HM Revenues & Customs (from 2002-6). He was an independent member of two capability reviews of HM Treasury (in 2001 and 2008). For five years to 2009, Barry was appointed by Government to be the national efficiency champion for local government. In 2007 he produced a landmark report for Government on the potential transfer of public assets to the community.
Barry has experience of managing twenty different elections using five different electoral systems. He has a PhD in political and social geography and is an author and regular lecturer on localism, public policy and public management.