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Short-term appointments to the Poverty and Inequality Commission

Following the approval of a motion in the Scottish Parliament on 2 November 2023, Professor Stephen Sinclair will be Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, and Tressa Burke and Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick will join as Commissioners to the Poverty and Inequality Commission – all joining as short-term appointments till 30 June 2024 after public appointment processes have concluded.


Yvonne Blake

Yvonne Blake is a lifelong social justice anti-poverty campaigner. Her campaigning is embedded in the empowerment of migrant community to recognise and effectively challenge oppressive structures and behaviours individually and collectively. She is the co-founder of Roots to Return, a member of the Unity centre where she is responsible for day to day running of the centre, strategic development, volunteer recruitment and training and retention and, co-founder of Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment.


Registration of Interests

Alex Cobham

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 Center for Global Development, and led the policy research teams at Christian Aid and Save the Children. Mr Cobham has published widely in academic journals, and books: The Uncounted (Polity Press), and Estimating Illicit Financial Flows (Oxford University Press), including jointly the proposal for the income inequality measure, the Palma ratio.

Registration of Interests


Katie Schmuecker 

Katie Schmuecker is Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), where she leads activity to develop solutions to poverty in the UK. She was one of the authors of JRF’s landmark ‘We Can Solve Poverty’ report, and is a regular commentator in the media through blogs, vlogs, articles and broadcast appearances. 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. She was also a member of the non-statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission.

Registration of Interests


Secretariat Staff

Katherine Hudson, Secretariat Manager

Katherine Hudson leads the work of the secretariat to ensure that the Commission has the appropriate support in order to undertake its work. She works with the Chair and Commissioners to agree the strategic direction of the Commission and its work plan, and ensure that the Commission’s work has impact with government and with stakeholders. Katherine will also lead for the secretariat on supporting particular pieces of work that the Commission identifies as part of its work plan.

Rory Morrison, Analytical Manager

Rory is a researcher who provides support and advice to the Commission on research and evidence. He leads on developing and delivering analytical work to support the Commission, through carrying out research in-house or commissioning research from external sources to fill evidence gaps. Rory is responsible for building and maintaining the Commission’s network with other people and organisations in the public sector, third sector and academia who are also researching poverty and inequality in Scotland.

Órlaith McAree, Participation Manager

Órlaith leads on the Commission’s priority to meaningfully involve people with lived experience of poverty throughout its work. She designs and delivers approaches to engage experts by experience in scrutiny, advice, and advocacy on tackling poverty and inequality. On behalf of the Commission, Órlaith works with other organisations in Scotland who collaborate with people with lived experience of poverty to share learning and best practice so we can collectively improve the way we engage experts by experience in policy making.

Michele Barr, Secretariat/Administrator

Michele is the Commission’s administrator who ensures that the Commission’s meetings run smoothly and that Commissioners are kept up to date with the papers and information that they need. Michele organises travel and events and administers the Commission’s budget. She is also responsible for the Commission’s website. Michele is the first point of contact for any questions about travel, expenses or meeting arrangements.


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