Who we are

Professor Stephen Sinclair – Chair

Stephen Sinclair is Professor of Social Policy and Co-director of the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Parma. He has authored and contributed to several books and numerous academic and other outputs on different aspects of social policy, with a particular focus on child poverty. He is a member of the Child Poverty Action Group’s UK Policy Committee and the Scottish Advisory Committee. He is Chair of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Poverty & Social Justice, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and consultant to the National Science Centre of Poland.

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Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick is the director of the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot Watt University. She is a leading international scholar on homelessness. She was principal investigator on the highly respected Crisis-funded “Homelessness Monitor” series for over a decade and leads a major programme of work on “Destitution in the UK” for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She co-led the influential ‘Hard Edges Scotland” report on severe and multiple disadvantage for the Lankelly-Chase Foundation/Robertson Trust. She was homelessness theme lead in the Economic and Social Research Council (ESCR)/JRF-funded ‘UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence’, and previously led/co-led the housing and homelessness strands in five-year ESRC funded study of “Welfare Conditionality”, as well as an earlier ESRC-funded project on “Multiple Exclusion Homelessness”. Suzanne is currently managing a multi-year research and capacity-building programme to on “Homelessness and Black and Minoritised Communities in the UK” and played a significant role in the recent evaluation of the “Social Innovation Partnership” for the Scottish Government/Hunter Foundation. She was lead researcher on a recent international evaluation of an “A Place to Call Home’ initiative to end street homelessness in 13 cities ranged across all six continents for the Chicago-based Institute of Global Homelessness, and funded by the Oak Foundation.

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Tressa Burke

Tressa Burke was a founder member of Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) in 2001, and five years later, was appointed CEO. She has taken the organisation from strength to strength over the past two decades. She is a member of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council for Women and Girls, the Minimum Income Guarantee Expert Group and the Social Isolation and Loneliness Advisory Group. Until recently she was Depute Convenor of the Disability and Carers’ Benefits Expert Advisory Group. Tressa also works closely with Glasgow City public partners ensuring disabled people’s voices and priorities are embedded across a range of areas including participative democracy, health and social care and the public realm among others. She has an MA (Hons) in Music and Philosophy and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Glasgow, specialising in community development. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University in June 2022 in recognition of her commitment to Public Services including her exceptional contribution as a campaigner for equality and human rights to improve the lives of disabled people.

Registration of Interests


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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