The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice announced the extension to the appointments of Linda Bamford, Yvonne Blake, Alex Cobham, Lindsay Graham, Katie Schmuecker, Shona Stephen, Professor Morag Treanor and Douglas White as Commissioners of the Poverty and Inequality Commission.
Linda Bamford’s early career was with NHS Scotland, initially as a psychiatric and general nurse before moving into para medicine with the Scottish Ambulance Service and then on to senior management positions in various locations in Scotland. Linda is an Ambassador for Spinal Injuries Scotland and is also the Convener of Disability Equity Scotland and Convener of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland.
Yvonne Blake is a lifelong racial justice and migrant rights campaigner. She is the co-founder of MORE a migrant led grassroots organisation in Glasgow campaigning for International Protection applicants access to employment education, decent housing and dignity. As a Community Development Practitioner with refugee status, Yvonne’s lived experience and hands-on work in her community provide invaluable insight into the nature of poverty and inequity.
Alex Cobham is Chief Executive of the Tax Justice Network, the leading international organisation dedicated to ending the global damage caused by tax havens and corporate tax abuse. He is a development economist, having worked on inequality and tax at Oxford University and the Centre for Global Development, and led the policy research teams at Christian Aid and Save the Children.
Lindsay Graham is a former community nurse and local government officer from the Highlands. Lindsay is founder of two children’s charities for families affected by disability and is an advocate of their rights. She has an interest in tackling food insecurity causes and consequences and rural poverty. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2022 for her work campaigning to reduce food poverty. She is a Churchill Fellow and a member on the Scotland Committee of National Lottery Community Fund.
Katie Schmuecker is Principal Policy Adviser at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), where she leads a programme of work focused on tackling poverty and destitution. Prior to joining JRF Katie was Associate Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research North. Her areas of expertise include inclusive growth, economic development, devolution, universal credit and poverty.
Shona Stephen is currently the Chief Executive of Queens Cross Housing Association. She was previously a senior Civil Servant in the Scottish Government and chaired the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, representing the sector on Glasgow's Integrated Joint Board for Health and Social Care Partnership for ten years. Shona has also served on the Ministerial Housing and Rough Sleeping Action Group, established to identify how to eradicate homelessness.
Professor Morag Treanor is the Professor in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. Prior to this role Morag was the Professor of Child and Family Inequalities and the Deputy Director of the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University. The primary focus of Morag’s work is child poverty - its measurement, causes, consequences, mitigation and prevention. Her research focuses on the impacts of poverty on children’s social, education and health outcomes.
Douglas White has been the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Consumer Scotland since October 2022. Prior to this Douglas was a Director at Carnegie UK, a charitable foundation which aims to improve the wellbeing of people across the UK. Douglas has a background and experience in research, policy development and advocacy activity. He has previously worked in consumer rights and social research and recently completed his term as Vice-Chair at Shelter Scotland. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
The extensions are for two years and began on 1 July 2022 until 30 June 2024 apart from Ms Schmuecker’s extension which began on 1 December 2022 until 30 November 2024.
The extensions are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.
Remuneration and time commitment
The extension to the appointments attracted a remuneration of £225.00 per day for a time commitment of one day per month.
Other ministerial appointments
Ms Bamford is Convener of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland and receives £216 per day for a time commitment of between 30 -36 days per annum. Ms Bamford is also a Non-Council Board Member of the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership. This position is non renumerated and involves a time commitment of between 8-12 days per annum.
Ms Graham is a National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Committee member and receives £436 per day for a time commitment of one day per month.
None of the other Commissioners held Ministerial appointments at the time of the extension.
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.
Ms Schmuecker has canvassed on behalf of the Leeds Labour Party.
None of the other Commissioners have had political activity within the last five years at the time of the extension.
This announcement is being made to comply with the Ethical Standards Commissioners Code of Practice for Public Appointments.
The Poverty and Inequality Commission (the Commission), was established on 1 July 2019 under section 8 of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. It is an independent advisory Non-Departmental Public Body that was created in order to support Scottish Ministers to reduce levels of poverty and inequality in Scotland.
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017, as amended, sets out the legal functions of the Commission which are to
- advise Scottish Ministers on any matter relating to poverty or inequality in Scotland, including the impact of polices and use of resources in reducing such poverty and inequality
- monitor progress in reducing poverty and inequality in Scotland
- promote the reduction of poverty and inequality in Scotland
- provide advice to Ministers on the measures they propose to include in Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plans
- provide annual comment on progress made towards the child poverty targets set out in the Act, whether progress is sufficient and what further progress is required
- publish any advice it provides to the Scottish Ministers
In addition to the statutory duties the Commission also has scope to choose areas of focus within its broader remit, subject to these areas contributing to achievement of the outcomes in the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework.
The Commission has a dedicated secretariat that supports its work and its budget is set and provided by the Scottish Government on an annual basis.
Since these extensions were made Douglas White, Professor Treanor, Linda Bamford, Lindsay Graham and Shona Stephen have resigned from their role as a Commissioner.
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