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Speakers

All our speakers are drawn from a variety of local and central government departments as well as private and third sectors. Further details of our plenary speakers are listed below.

Lord Bichard of Nailsworth in the County of Gloucestershire


Lord Michael Bichard was previously Chief Executive of Brent and Gloucestershire Local Authorities and in 1990 became Chief Executive of the Government’s Benefits Agency.

In 1995, he was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Employment Department and, subsequently, the Department for Education and Employment.

Michael received a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 1999. In May 2001, he left the Civil Service. He was appointed Rector of The London Institute, the largest Art and Design Institute in Europe in September 2001, which became University of the Arts, London in May 2004. In January 2004, he was appointed by the Home Office to chair the Soham/Bichard Inquiry. On 1 April 2005, he became Chair of the Legal Services Commission.

Lord Bichard left these two roles in September 2008 when he became the Executive Director of the Institute for Government and Chairman of the Design Council.

When he was introduced in the House of Lords on 29 March 2010 he became a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Government. He is now a crossbench peer and serves on the Leader’s Group Reforming Working Practices. He is also Chair of the Board of FILMCLUB, a nationwide after-school film club scheme which is free to state primary and secondary schools and an efficiency advisor to the Ten Group.

The Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP


Andy Burnham has been MP for Leigh since 2001. Born in Liverpool, and growing up in Culcheth, Andy attended St Aelred’s Roman Catholic High School and gained an MA in English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. As MP for Leigh, Andy has been a strong voice for the community, encouraging developments such as the Leigh Sports Village.

In his early years as a backbencher, Andy was a member of the Health Select Committee between 2001 and 2003, but was promoted to serve in the government after the General Election in 2005. In government, Andy served as a junior minister in both the Home Office and the Department of Health. Under Gordon Brown’s leadership, Andy was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2007, before becoming Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in 2008 and then Health in 2009.

Andy is an enthusiastic amateur footballer, playing in Labour’s Parliamentary team and charity matches whenever he gets the opportunity. He lives in the constituency with his family, wife Marie-France and their three children. He is a keen supporter of both Leigh Centurions and Everton FC.

Baroness Debbie Stedman-Scott of Rolvenden, OBE DL FRSA


Baroness Debbie Stedman-Scott
Debbie Scott is Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s People, a national employment charity founded in 1984. The charity works in some of the most deprived communities around the UK, where it helps long-term unemployed people overcome the barriers that prevent them from working and to find and keep a job.

The continuing growth and development of Tomorrow’s People is Debbie’s responsibility. Debbie ensures that key partners – major corporates, local employers, government agencies, local voluntary organisations and patrons -are aware of, and involved in, Tomorrow’s People’s developments.

Debbie is a founder member of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) and was its first Chair, until April 2007. Debbie is also a member of the Association of Chief Executives of National Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO).

Tomorrow’s People campaigns on a cross party basis for improvements to welfare to work policy and, as such, Debbie was Deputy Chair of the Social Justice Policy Group which published ‘Breakdown Britain’ and ‘Breakthrough Britain’. In addition, Debbie is an ambassador for Make Justice Work and a member of the Voluntary and Community Sector Partnership Board and is a member of the IPPR Policy Advisory Council. She was a member of the Advisory Board for the International Centre for Drugs Policy (ICPD) and the Chair of its Fundraising sub-group from its launch in 2004 to 2007.

Debbie was a member of the CBI’s Employment Advisory Group from 2004 until February 2009, and is the Vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Foyers. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society and Patron of Gloucester House.

In January 2008, Debbie was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for services to the unemployed.

In August 2007, Debbie was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex. Her role, along with a number of other Deputy Lieutenants, is to support the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field in carrying out his duties.

Debbie was named Charity Principal of the Year at the UK Charity Awards 2005. This award is made by the Charity Times publication to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and management skill in the running of a charity.

In July 2010 Debbie was ennobled and took her seat in the House of Lords as The Baroness Stedman-Scott of Rolvenden.

Debbie joined Tomorrow’s People as development manager in Kent in 1984. Her enthusiasm and ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude reflects the philosophy of the charity.

Geoff Mulgan is Chief Executive of NESTA


From 2004-2011 he was the first Chief Executive of the Young Foundation, which became a leading centre for social innovation, combining research, creation of new ventures and practical projects.

Between 1997 and 2004 Geoff had various roles in the UK government including director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office. Before that he was the founder and director of the think-tank Demos. He has also been Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP; a lecturer in telecommunications; an investment executive; and a reporter on BBC TV and radio.

He is a visiting professor at LSE, UCL, Melbourne University and a regular lecturer at the China Executive Leadership Academy. He is an adviser to many governments around the world, and has been a board member of the Work Foundation, the Health Innovation Council, Political Quarterly and the Design Council, and chair of Involve.

His recent books include:
- The Art of Public Strategy – Mobilising Power and Knowledge for the Public Good (OUP, 2008)
- Good and Bad Power: the ideals and betrayals of government (Penguin, 2006)
- Connexity.

Rt Hon John Healey MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health


John is currently MP for Wentworth and Dearne. And has been Shadow Secretary of State for Health since 2010.

He was PPS to Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer 1999-2001; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Adult Skills) 2001-02; HM Treasury 2002-07: Economic Secretary 2002-05, Financial Secretary 2005-07; Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government 2007-10: Minister for Local Government 2007-09, Minister for Housing (attending Cabinet) 2009-10 and Member Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission -2009.

Martina Milburn, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust


Martina started her career as a journalist, and showed her affinity for working with charitable causes early on. She freelanced for a number of charities and established the Press and Communications function for the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD), before joining the Association of Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (ASPIRE) as CEO in 1993.

During her seven years at the helm there, she grew the charity from five to 100 staff and brought in Europe’s first integrated arts, sports and rehabilitation centre on time and on budget, before moving on to head up the BBC Children in Need Appeal, arguably one of the UK’s most well known charities. In 2004, Martina was appointed Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust.

Since then, she has launched the charity’s first public fundraising and advertising campaign, reportedly trebling the public’s understanding of the charity’s work, as well as leading a change in attitude towards young people from all walks of life.

Fundraising efforts include the annual Prince’s Trust Rock Gala which last year attracted such names as Eric Clapton, Tom Jones and Jamie Cullum, and the Palace to Palace bike ride, among many others. She also regularly attends royal events as the Trust’s representative.

Matt Dunkley, President of the ADCS and Director of Children’s Services, East Sussex County Council


Matt Dunkley, President of the ADCS, and Director of Children’s Services, East Sussex County Council
Matt Dunkley has been Director of Children’s Services in East Sussex since August 2005. He is an American Studies graduate from Sussex University. He began his career in 1983 as a graduate trainee with the Inner London Education Authority, and held senior management roles there, in Greenwich and East Sussex Education departments before becoming Director. He was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in Public Policy in 1995-96 at University of California at Berkeley. He is also President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).

Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA


Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell has been Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea since April 2000 and a councillor since 1986. The Council has been a top performer under various inspection regimes and receives excellent feedback in national resident satisfaction surveys. Its performance as an education authority has been praised by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’.

In June 2011 Sir Merrick was appointed as the Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), the lobbying organisation which acts as the voice of the local government sector at national level.

Sir Merrick was appointed an Audit Commissioner from July 2009 until June 2011, sitting on the Board of the Audit Commission and in October 2010 he was appointed to the Board of the London Pension Fund Authority. He is currently Chairman of the think-tank Localis and was Chairman of the Conservative Councillors’ Association and on the Conservative Party Board from February 2008 until February 2011.

Sir Merrick was Chairman of London Councils from 2006 until 2010 leading London’s local government, campaigning for fair funding for public services in London and making the case for more devolution from central to local government.

Other appointments include Chairman of the Kensington and Chelsea Partnership, board member of the Central London Partnership, Trustee of 2020 Public Services Trust, fellow of the British American Project and president of the Chelsea Theatre.

Sir Merrick is married with two daughters. He ran an international trading company for 23 years and now devotes his full time to public service. He was knighted in 2010 for services to local government.

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP Secretary of State for Education


Michael is the Member of Parliament for Surrey Heath.

He is married to Sarah, a journalist on The Times, and they have two children, Beatrice, born in May 2003 and William, born in November 2004.

He was born in 1967 in Edinburgh and was educated at Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen and then Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

His past career includes being a reporter for The Press and Journal in Aberdeen, a researcher and reporter at Scottish Television, a reporter for BBC Television, and assistant editor of The Times.

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE MA MCIH, Chief Executive of Turning Point


Lord Victor Adebowale
Victor is Chief Executive of Turning Point, a leading health and social care organisation which provides services for people with complex needs, including those affected by drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems and those with a learning disability. Today Turning Point provides services to over 140,000 people from 250 services across England and Wales, employs 2000 people with a turnover of £85 million.

Victor is a champion for the cause of those affected by poverty, mental ill health, drugs, alcohol addictions, a learning disability and those with cross cutting and complex needs. He is one of the country’s top sector leaders in the policy and delivery of health and social care.

In 2000, Victor was awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours’ List for services to the New Deal, the unemployed, and homeless young people and in 2001, he was appointed a cross bench member of the House of Lords.

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