The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP was first elected as the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green in London on 1st April 1992. In his first Parliament, June 1992-97, he opposed the Maastricht Treaty believing that if it passed, it would over a period of time, be followed by a series of other treaty changes that would change the relationship between the UK and the EU that would eventually make it untenable for the UK to be a member. He was also a member of a number of Select Committees during that time.
Between 1997 and 2001, he was Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security and then Secretary of State for Defence. From 2001 to 2003, he was leader of the Conservative Party and then from 2003, having stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party, he set up the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). The CSJ was an organisation dedicated to focussing on the problems facing those in the lowest income groups in society. It published a series of reports, perhaps the most significantly, “Breakthrough Britain: Ending the Costs of Social Breakdown”, focusing on the five pathways to poverty and a Conservative way to implement social justice and improve the quality of the poorest in society. It is also worth noting that in 2013, the CSJ published the paper on modern day slavery, “It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to Fight Modern Slavery”, which subsequently led to Theresa May enacting legislation on this matter.
In 2010, Iain Duncan Smith became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a position he held until he resigned in a dispute with the Chancellor over his determination to reduce his expenditure on disability benefits by over £1 billion. During his time as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, he undertook the most significant programme of welfare reform in modern times, transforming the benefit and pension systems, as well as employment services and support. Perhaps the most significant reforms were the introduction of Universal Credit, (bringing together the six unemployment and sickness benefits), the Work Programme, for the first time bringing together private and voluntary sectors to get unemployed people back into work, and the introduction of the Single Tier Pension simplifying the State Pension.
“What a resounding tribute to former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. In a single year, the number of children growing up in jobless homes has plummeted by 170,000 to its lowest on record. Politics is strewn with the wreckage of dreams that turned to dust. But IDS achieved what he set out to do, igniting hope for so many who had none. He has served this country well.”
[Daily Mail, 27th July]
He took a lead role in the Vote Leave campaign ahead of the EU referendum on 23 June 2016 appearing many times in the media and public debates and is now working alongside colleagues to ensure the Government achieves a smooth and rapid exit from the EU and forms a new relationship based on trade, continuing friendship and cooperation.
Before entering politics, he served in the Scots Guards from 1975 to 1982. During this time, he saw service in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe. After leaving the army, he worked in industry, first with the GUC and then as a Director of a property company and subsequently as a Director at the publishing company, Jane’s Information Group.
Stephen is a Director of Social Finance. His focus is on advisory work, including Social Impact Bond development. He has a particular interest in exploring ways of scaling proven interventions and reducing the barriers which constrain the ability of commissioners to deploy these effectively. Between 2011-2013, he was Expert Adviser to the Secretary of State at DWP. Prior to that, Stephen worked at Oliver Wyman, the strategic management consultancy, between 1997-2011. He was made partner in 2003 and was head of the London office from 2004 to 2008.
Stephen was a contributor to the CSJ’s foundation report Breakdown Britain, and since then has chaired the CSJ’s Economic Dependency Working Group publishing Breakthrough Britain, Dynamic Benefits and Outcome Based Government. Stephen also supported the development of Universal Credit whilst on secondment at the DWP.
Stephen has a B.Sc from University College, Dublin and a D.Phil in Computation and M.A in Law from Christ Church, Oxford.
Following her own experience of alcoholism and her journey into recovery, Noreen Oliver MBE founded the BAC (Burton Addiction Centre) O’Connor centres in Staffordshire. She has extensive experience in the field of rehabilitation and integrated services. Over the last 14 years, she has developed a Recovery Community in Staffordshire which has received numerous awards, and rehabilitated thousands of individuals and families, from detoxification through to independent living and into employment. In 2010 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Centre for Social Justice and in 2011 became the first woman to be named an Honorary Freewoman of the Borough of East Staffordshire. Noreen was an Olympic Torch bearer in 2012 as recognition for her work to both raise the profile of and address drug and alcohol issues. Noreen is chair and founder of the Recovery Group UK and co-chair of The Recovery Partnership, which reports directly to The Inter-Ministerial group on Drugs. She is also founder of the O’Connor Gateway Charitable Trust, which in September 2011 opened Langan’s Tea Rooms, a social enterprise and training centre located in the heart of Burton on Trent. As of 2013 Noreen is also a member of the CVLS Honours Committee.
Cara has been working at the CSJ since September 2008, during which time she managed the Fundraising Team for four years and served as the Deputy Director for three years. Cara currently acts as a consultant to the CSJ focusing primarily on strategy and development. Cara has also been a member of the Board of Directors since 2014.
Prior to joining the CSJ, Cara worked at the Stockholm Network, a pan-European think tank, where she was Head of Media and Communications. Cara started out her career working as Iain Duncan Smith’s Constituency Secretary when he was Leader of the Opposition. Following this, Cara toured the UK as part of Michael Howard’s General Election campaign team in 2005.
Cara has a strong interest in tackling social breakdown and improving broken communities. She also acts as a pro bono consultant to a number of charitable causes. She graduated from Bristol University in 2002 with a 2:1 in Ancient History.