Poverty and Inequality Commission: members' biographies

Information on the backgrounds of the members of the Poverty and Inequality Commission.

Membership of the Poverty and Inequality Commission


  • Douglas Hamilton

Deputy Chairs

  • Naomi Eisenstadt
  • Kaliani Lyle


  • David Eiser
  • Hugh Foy
  • Caroline Kennedy
  • Katie Schmuecker
  • Sally Witcher



Douglas Hamilton

Douglas Hamilton is currently the Director of the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust, having previously been head of Save the Children in Scotland. Between 2013 and 2016, Douglas was a member of the Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty, and has also served on the Scottish Ministerial Advisory Group on Child Poverty.

Douglas is a former Chair of the Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights, has been on the board of One Parent Families Scotland and helped lead the Coalition to End Child Poverty (ECP) in Scotland. He also currently chairs the management committee of the Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS) and is Vice-Convenor of the Scottish Grantmakers Group.

A law graduate from Edinburgh University, Douglas' career began at the Scottish Human Rights Centre and he subsequently took on policy and research roles with Children in Scotland, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and Barnardo's. Away from work Douglas helps organise children's and youth activities through his local church and coaches children's football.

Deputy Chairs

Naomi Eisenstadt

After a long career in the non-governmental organisation sector, in 1999 Naomi became the first Director of the Sure Start Unit. The Unit was responsible for delivering the British Government's commitment to free nursery education places for all three and four year olds, the national childcare strategy and Sure Start, a major programme aiming to reduce the gap in outcomes between children living in disadvantaged areas and the wider child population. After Sure Start, Naomi spent three years as the Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force, working across Government to identify and promote policies to address the needs of traditionally excluded groups.

Since retiring from the Civil Service, Naomi has chaired both the Camden Equalities Commission and the Milton Keynes Child Poverty Commission, and published a book and several articles relevant to child development and child poverty. She served as the First Minister's Adviser on Poverty from June 2015 to June 2017. She is currently a trustee of four charities: Save the Children, the Standard Life Foundation, the Dartington Social Service Lab and the Trust for London.

Naomi is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Department of Education and the Department of Social Policy and Intervention. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 2002 and in 2005 became a Companion of the Bath.

Kaliani Lyle

Kaliani Lyle was appointed as the Scottish Government's Race Equality Framework Adviser on 6 December 2016.

She is also a member of the Board of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) which is the independent regulator and registrar of charities in Scotland.

She was Scotland Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission between 2010 and 2016. As Scotland Commissioner she led the Scotland Committee, which is involved in working strategically with the Scottish Government, local authorities, UK Government and Parliament to ensure equality and human rights are at the heart of all work carried out.

She was a member of the Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services in Scotland (the Christie Commission), the Sentencing Commission, the Signet Accreditation Board and General Medical Council UK Revalidation Board.

She has been the Chief Executive Officer of two charities: Citizens Advice Scotland, from 1998 to 2010, and the Scottish Refugee Council (1995 to 1998). She also worked for Edinburgh District Council as their first Race Relations Officer.

In 2007 she received the Alastair Hetherington award for humanitarian service from the Institute of Contemporary Scotland.


Caroline Kennedy

Caroline was a Commissioner with the Poverty Truth Commission from 2014 to 2016. During this time she was involved in their Cost of School Group and subsequent School Clothing Grant campaign. She remains closely linked to the Poverty Truth Commission.

Caroline lives in the East End of Glasgow with her two teenage sons and is an active member of her local community: she has been chairperson of Parkhead Youth Project for the last five years, and has been involved in the project for around eight years. She has also been an active volunteer at other local organisations including the Church of Nazarene and the Salvation Army.

Hugh Foy

Hugh Foy is the Head of Programmes at the Conforti Institute, having previously held Consultant and Senior Consultant roles in the organisation. A lifelong grassroots anti-poverty and trade union activist, Hugh is a teacher by profession, and has held a number of posts in education and social work.

In his current role he manages Conforti's UK and Scottish programmes and its funding and partner relationships. Hugh is a Board member of the Poverty Alliance and a member of the National Steering Group of the Scottish Living Wage Campaign.

David Eiser

David is a Research Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. He joined the Institute in June 2016 to lead its work in fiscal policy. He is an adviser to the Scottish Parliament's Finance and Constitution Committee and a Fellow of the Centre on Constitutional Change. His research interests are in the economics of devolved finances and labour markets.

David has authored a number of reports on labour market trends and inequality in Scotland, including two reports for the David Hume Institute, both with Professor David Bell. David recently co-authored Oxfam Scotland's report, 'Building a more equal Scotland', and he has written articles on inequality in Scotland in publications including The Herald and the Scottish Anti-Poverty Review.

Katie Schmuecker

Katie is Head of Policy at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), where she supports the application of JRF's evidence base to public policy. She is one of the authors of JRF's 'We Can Solve Poverty' report, which was described as a landmark report by BBC Home Affairs Editor, Mark Easton. She is a regular commentator in the media, through blogs, articles and broadcast appearances.

Prior to joining JRF, Katie was Associate Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research North (IPPR North), where she carried out research and authored reports on regional economic development, neighbourhood renewal and UK devolution. She has also worked for the Campaign for the English Regions, the Yes campaign for an elected North East Regional Assembly and for an MP.

Her areas of expertise include: personal finance, the living wage, Minimum Income Standards, unemployment, universal credit, devolution, economic development and local growth.

Sally Witcher

Dr Sally Witcher OBE is the Chief Executive Officer of Inclusion Scotland – a national network of disabled people, their organisations and allies that aims to ensure that policy affecting the everyday lives of disabled people in Scotland is informed by and reflects their views.

Previously, Sally worked as a freelance consultant, and was a Care Inspectorate Board Member from 2011 to 2015. From 2006 to 2010 she was a Deputy Director in the Office for Disability Issues, part of the Department for Work and Pensions in UK Government. Before that, she chaired the Disability Employment Advisory Committee (a UK Government non-departmental public body) and worked in consultancy and academia. In the 1990s she was the Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (UK) and Campaign Worker for Disability Alliance. She has been a member of numerous government advisory groups and research advisory bodies, including the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics.


Poverty and Inequality Commission
C/O Social Justice Strategy Unit
Scottish Government
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150 Broomielaw
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