Short-term Chair and Commissioners appointed

We are delighted to welcome the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s new Chair, Professor Stephen Sinclair, who took up his role on 12 November 2023, and two new Commissioners, Tressa Burke and Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, who joined the Commission on 11 November. These are short-term appointments up until 30 June 2024. A new round of public appointments to the Commission will take place in 2024.

We would like to thank our outgoing Chair, Bill Scott, who stepped down from the Commission on 11 November, and our Commissioners Linda Bamford, Lindsay Graham and Shona Stephen who stepped down on 10 November. Their expertise and contributions to the Commission’s work over the last four years have been invaluable and we wish them well for the future.

You can read some reflections from Stephen Sinclair, in his first blog as Chair.


Professor Stephen Sinclair 

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.


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.


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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