The Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson, today announced the appointment of Matthew Cole as Chair and Margaret Corrigan, Kirsten Jenkins, William Alister Steele and Fraser Stewart as members of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel.
Matthew Cole is an award-winning strategist, facilitator, and campaigner leading activity across the utility sector to support the most vulnerable, championing and driving change to both deliver better consumer outcomes and to build trust in the sector. Recent achievements include a radical transformation of npower’s approach to customers in need and establishing the independent Fuel Bank Foundation with the Trussell Trust, which he continues to lead. To date half a million people who are living without heat, light and power have been supported by Fuel Bank. Previously npower’s Head of Customer Vulnerability, he currently sits as a member of Scottish Power Energy Networks’ Customer Engagement Group, and is the Independent Chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee, with an objective to drive up standards for energy customers. Matthew is passionate about Net Zero – but a net zero in which all can benefit from – and uses his lived experience of fuel poverty to continue to champion and drive the need for change.
Margaret Corrigan has managed a front line Fuel Poverty Support and Advocacy service for over 8 years now, advocating on behalf of vulnerable households suffering the work effects of fuel poverty. She sees first-hand how that affects health including mental health and dignity. Margaret knows how it feels having been a single parent on one income and trying to make ends meet and keep her child warm and this is what drivers her to help others.
Kirsten Jenkins is Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies group at the University of Edinburgh and Programme Director for the Energy, Society and Sustainability MSc. Her background is as a sustainable development and human geography scholar, with research interests that centre on energy justice; energy policy; science, technology and innovations studies; transitions theory and sustainable energy provision and use.
Alongside her lectureship, Kirsten serves as Managing Editor for the journal Energy Research and Social Science, Associate Fellow of the Durham Energy Institute and external examiner to postgraduate programmes in Development, Environment and Policy at SOAS University of London. Kirsten also runs two large international energy social science networks and works on research grants related to fuel and transport poverty, inclusivity in the energy transition and Just Transitions.
William Alister Steele has 30 years’ experience in delivering affordable housing and community regeneration and a track record in strategic thinking and business leadership. As Managing Director of Castle Rock Housing Association, he led the development and implementation of the organisation’s energy and fuel poverty strategies. He co-founded and chaired Our Power, a not for profit energy supply business and in 2017 was appointed to the Board of the newly formed Crown Estate Scotland where he chairs the Investment Committee. Alister was awarded the MBE in June 2014 for services to social housing and regeneration in Edinburgh.
Fraser Stewart is an early career social scientist at the University of Strathclyde, working on the relationship between clean energy, socioeconomic inequality, and fuel poverty. Originally from Forfar in the North-East of Scotland, Fraser has recent lived experience of fuel poverty, growing up in an area of high deprivation, and works closely with communities and families experiencing the issue every day. Alongside academic expertise, Fraser thus brings an intimate knowledge both from a personal and a real-world standpoint, in addition to strong knowledge of policy processes, design, and analysis at local, Scottish, and UK level.
The appointments will be for four years and will run from 1 January 2022 until 31 December 2025.
The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.
The appointments are part-time. The Chair role attracts a remuneration of £208 per day for a time commitment of 15 days per annum. The member roles attract a remuneration of £156 per day for a time commitment of 12 days per annum.
Other ministerial appointments
William Alister Steele is a Member of the Crown Estate Scotland, for which he receives remuneration of £217.33 per day, for a time commitment of two days per month.
Matthew Cole, Margaret Corrigan, Kirsten Jenkins and Fraser Stewart do not hold any other public appointments.
All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.
Matthew Cole, Margaret Corrigan, Kirsten Jenkins, William Alister Steele and Fraser Stewart have had no political activity within the last five years.
The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel (“The Panel”) is a new advisory Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). It is established in statute from the 19 September 2019 through The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019. The Panel takes over from the previous non-statutory Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel.
The Panel will contribute to policy development to tackle both fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty in Scotland. The Panel will collectively hold the Scottish Government to account on their progress in tackling the four drivers of fuel poverty: poor energy efficiency of the home; low household income; high fuel costs; and how energy is used in the home. It also has a lead role in considering the impacts of actions by others on fuel poverty in Scotland, providing constructive challenge as appropriate. Across the Panel’s work, it will seek to influence stakeholders effectively to deliver change.
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