The son of Albert and Frances Blackwell, he was educated first at Latymer Upper School, and then at The Royal Academy of Music in London and graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a master of arts in natural sciences in 1973. He then went on to Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with a master of business administration in 1975, and then in 1976 with a doctor of philosophy in finance and economics.
Upon leaving academia Norman commenced employment in 1976 with The Plessey Company, a British-based international electronics, defence and telecommunications company, where he was involved with strategic planning. In 1978 he moved to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting and from where, in 1986, he was seconded to work, until 1987, for the Conservative government of the United Kingdom. Back at McKinsey's, Blackwell was made a partner in 1988 and he remained with the firm until 1995, when a second spell working for a British Conservative Government commenced. That administration's defeat in the 1997 general election saw him again take up private sector employment with National Westminster Bank as director of group development between 1997 and 2000. The new millennium witnessed a change in employment opportunities and he began a new phase in his career as a non-executive director and advisor appointed to a number of public listed companies.
Chairman, Interserve plc, a global support services group since 1 January 2006, having initially joined the board in September 2005.
Non-executive director, Halma plc, which provides specialist technologies for safety, health and environmental protection) since 29 July 2010.
Non-executive director, Lloyds Banking Group plc and at Lloyds TSB Bank Plc since 1 June 2012. He has been a non-executive director at Scottish Widows Group Ltd. and Scottish Widows plc since June 2012 and was appointed chairman of both Scottish Widows Group Ltd (insurance subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group plc) and Scottish Widows plc on 1 September 2012. He was appointed as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group on 3 April 2014.
Emoluments – business and commerce employment
Lord Blackwell received the following emoluments, as detailed in the latest annual reports, for each of the companies he serves as a member of their board of directors:
[a] financial year ending 31 December 2012.
[b] appointment commenced 1 June 2012, remuneration is therefore for a period of 7 months.
[c] financial year ending 31 March 2012.
Blackwell was a special advisor to KPMG, within its corporate finance division, between 2000 and 2008 his role was reported by the Financial News as being "to assist the firm in the development of its corporate finance business with big corporates".
He became non-executive chairman of Akers Biosciences Inc on 8 May 2002, ahead of its stock market listing on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange on 22 May 2002, yet resigned from the board on 28 March 2003, little more than 10 months later.
He served as senior independent non-executive director at Corporate Services Group Plc, a recruitment and employment agency, from December 2000 to 9 June 2006. and as a non-executive director of Dixons Group, a consumer electronics retailer, from 2000 to 2003 He was appointed non-executive director at SEGRO Plc, a property investment and development company which later became a real estate investment trust (REIT), from 1 April 2001 to 29 April 2010 and was senior independent director from 2005 Blackwell became non-executive chairman of Smartstream Technologies Ltd, a financial transaction management business, in 2001 a position he held until 2005 He served as a non-executive director of Standard Life Plc from 6 June 2003 to 25 May 2012. and as senior independent director from 2008 until May 2012.
From 1986 to 1987 Norman Blackwell was a member of Margaret Thatcher's Prime Minister's Policy Unit. He then returned to 10 Downing Street serving as head of the Prime Minister's Policy Unit under the government of John Major from 1995 to 1997, where he co-ordinated domestic policy development across government departments.
On 2 October 1997, he was created a life peer as Baron Blackwell, of Woodcote in the County of Surrey. The honour was bestowed upon him as part of the 1997 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours which marked the May 1997 resignation of Prime Minister John Major, following the Conservative party's defeat in the 1997 general election. He sits in the House of Lords as a lord temporal for the Conservatives.
As of 4 April 2013 the United Kingdom Parliament listed Lord Blackwell's participation in the following committees:
In 1983 Blackwell co-authored a pamphlet for the Bow Group the oldest conservative think tank in the United Kingdom. He is a non-executive board member of the British centre-right policy think tank the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), whose goal is to promote coherent and practical public policy, to roll back the state, reform public services, support communities, and challenge threats to Britain's independence. Although identified as non-partisan, the Centre has strong historical links to the Conservative Party. He had previously served as chairman of the CPS between 2000 and 2009.
The campaign group Global Vision was launched in March 2007 by Lord Blackwell and Ruth Lea. It purports to be "completely independent and non-partisan." Its website gives its aims as being; "to create a campaign which would offer a refreshing, forward and outward looking alternative to the existing polarised choices of going along with the full European project or pulling out and breaking all ties with our European neighbours. By advocating this middle way, Global Vision promotes a constructive new relationship between the UK and Europe based on free trade and mutually beneficial cooperation, whilst opting out of the process of political and economic integration."
Lord Blackwell published the research paper, "A Blueprint for Renegotiating The UK's EU Relationship" for the campaign. The paper sets out an agenda to safeguard UK powers or, repatriate EU powers in the following areas: foreign and defence policy, legal and judicial, legislative and regulatory, European Court of Justice, EU programmes, trade policy, and free market, so as to create a new relationship between Britain and the EU.
Norman Blackwell was appointed a non-executive board member for The Office of Communications (Welsh: Y Swyddfa Gyfathrebiadau), commonly known as Ofcom, initially for a three-year term, from 1 September 2009. He was subsequently reappointed to serve a second three-year term that will conclude on 31 August 2015.
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Ofcom Content Board, Nominations Committee and Remuneration Committee. He has special non-executive responsibility for postal regulation.
Emoluments – public service appointments
Lord Blackwell received the following emoluments for his public service role:
[a] for 1–2 days per week
Norman Blackwell served as a non-executive board member for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) from 1 April 2003 initially for a five-year term, that was subsequently extended upon expiry for a further two years, up to 31 March 2010.
The OFT is a non-ministerial government department of the United Kingdom, which enforces both consumer protection and competition law, acting as the UK's economic regulator. The OFT's goal is to make markets work well for consumers, ensuring vigorous competition between fair-dealing businesses and prohibiting unfair practices such as rogue trading, scams and cartels.
During the period when Lord Blackwell served as a non-executive director of the OFT a company where, at the time, he was also chairman, Interserve plc, became subject to an investigation by the OFT. The investigation was described by the OFT as "one of the largest ever Competition Act investigations". Interserve were found to have engaged in illegal anti-competitive bid rigging activities and were fined a sum of £11,634,750.
Lord Blackwell served as a commissioner of Postcomm, the Postal Services Commission a non-ministerial department of the government of the United Kingdom charged with overseeing the quality and universal service of post in the United Kingdom. Postcomm was merged into the communications regulator Ofcom on 1 October 2011.
He married Brenda Clucas, daughter of Thomas Walter Clucas, on 22 June 1974. They have three sons and two daughters: Jane, Simon, Sarah, Richard and William. Blackwell owns properties in London and Epsom let on assured short hold tenancies, owned jointly with his wife. Blackwell's recreations, as listed in Debretts People of Today, are: classical music, walking, gardening.Norman Blackwell Esq (1952–1976)
Dr Norman Blackwell PhD (1976–1997)
The Rt Hon The Lord Blackwell (1997–present)
Lord Blackwell has published the following public policy pamphlets:Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2011). Look Back from the Future : A radical path to growth and prosperity in the 21st century (PDF). 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 978-1-906996-39-0.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2009). A Blueprint for Renegotiating The UK's EU Relationship (PDF). 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Global Vision Research Paper.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2006). Three Cheers for Selection : How grammar schools help the poor. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1905389418.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2006). From Principle to Policy: What an alternative manifesto should say. (with Ruth Lea). 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 190538937X.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2006). Sleepwalking into an EU Legal System: How the Charter of Fundamental Rights is Being Incorporated Into British Law. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1905389248.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2005). Take poor families out of tax!. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1905389140.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2004). Why Britain Can't Afford Not to Cut Taxes: Five Tax Cuts to Make Now. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219817.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2004). Better Schools and Hospitals : Why parent and patient choice will work. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219752.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2004). What if we say no to the EU Constitution?. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 190321971X.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2003). Freedom and Responsibility: a manifesto for a smaller state, a bolder nation. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219590.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2003). A Defining Moment? A review of the issues and options for Britain arising from the Convention on the Future of Europe. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219531.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2002). Better Healthcare for All : Replacing the NHS monopoly with patient choice. (with Daniel Kruger). 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219434.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2001). Funding the Basic State Pension : Report of the Independent Panel on Pension Reform. Chairman: Lord Blackwell. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219264.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (2001). Towards Smaller Government: the second wave of the revolution. 57 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 1903219302.
Blackwell, Norman Roy. (1983). Beyond Minis: Improving Public Sector Efficiency and Effectiveness : the Next Steps. (with Tim Eggar). 240 High Holborn, London WC1V 1DT: Bow Group.