4 March 2022

12.00 - 13.00

Join the Law Family Commission on Civil Society to reflect on the relationship between government and policymakers and the social sector

About this event

Chaired by Jenny Scott, this Law Family Commission on Civil Society event will launch the findings of its new report into the relationship charities, community groups and social enterprises have with MPs, councillors, civil servants and Ministers. This is the social sector’s opportunity to dive into that research, to understand how different parties and different policymakers truly perceive the sector, its strengths and weaknesses, and how the relationship between the two can be improved.

PBE will kick off the event by presenting brand new research on the relationship between civil society and the government. Our panellists will then reflect on what the government and the social sector working on together, and where the distance between them is the greatest. Is the relationship between civil society and government as strained as some people say?

Chaired by Jenny Scott, and drawn from the world of policy, philanthropy, and from the charity sector, our expert panel consists of:

 Helen Barnard, Director of Research & Policy at Pro Bono Economics

• Kolbassia Haoussou MBE, Co-founder of Survivors Speak Out (SSO), and Service User Champion at Freedom from Torture

 Caroline Slocock, Director at Civil Exchange and former Private Secretary at No 10

 Sarah Vibert, interim Chief Executive of NCVO

This live event will contain plenty of opportunities for the audience to ask their questions of our expert panel.


Pro Bono Economics uses economics to empower the social sector and to increase wellbeing across the UK. We combine project work with individual charities and social enterprises with policy research that can drive systemic change. Our vision is for a United Kingdom with high wellbeing for all.

Experts and economists at PBE work on a wide range of issues related to wellbeing including mental health, education, employment, poverty, volunteering and civil society. The charity was founded in 2009 by Andy Haldane, Chief Economist of the Bank of England and is chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell.

The Law Family Commission on Civil Society is an ambitious programme of ground-breaking research into how we can unleash the potential of civil society, to harness and enhance the powerful community bonds that exist in our nation.It will provide tangible ideas for policy-makers, companies, philanthropists and society to tackle the systemic challenges that are stopping civil society delivering on its potential.


Helen Barnard joined Pro Bono Economics as Director of Research and Policy in June 2021. She was previously Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). Prior to becoming Director, Helen set up and developed JRF’s analysis and policy teams.

Helen is a leading national expert on poverty, inequality and social policy. Her extensive body of written work and regular media contributions have covered poverty, destitution, labour markets, housing and social security. Helen is a Social Metrics Commissioner and member of the Poverty Strategy Commission. Before joining JRF Helen worked for Opinion Leader Research and BMRB Social Research. She continues as Deputy Director of JRF.

Kolbassia Haoussou began his career in campaigning and advocating when he co-founded the Survivor Speak OUT (SSO) network, a network led by survivors, campaigning for survivors. After a short while running, SSO came under the umbrella of Freedom from Torture and Kolbassia found himself employed with Freedom from Torture as SSO Coordinator.

Kolbassia was and has been instrumental in building Freedom from Tortures’ survivor activism and making sure survivors were centred in all aspects of the organisation. After over 10 years of working at Freedom from Torture in the capacity of SSO Coordinator, Service User Champion and acting Survivor Activism Lead, Kolbassia is now the department head for the organisations newly founded Survivor Empowerment directorate.

In 2020 Kolbassia has received an MBE for service for torture and sexual violence survivors in the New Year honour list.

Jenny Scott is a founder partner at Apella Advisors, a senior advisor to North Star Transition and mother to twin girls. Jenny began her career as an economist at the Bank of England before becoming an economic journalist for a number of years, first with Reuters and then with the BBC where she was a regular correspondent across television and radio. Jenny then returned to the Bank of England as Executive Director for communications throughout the financial crisis and Brexit referendum. Jenny is a trustee for PBE and also for a meditation charity.

Caroline Slocock is the Director of Civil Exchange. Caroline set up Civil Exchange at the beginning of 2011 to use her expertise and experience to help government and the third sector understand each other better and work more effectively together.

She is a founding member of A Better Way, a network committed to improving services and strengthening communities and co-manager of the network. She is also part of the Early Action Task Force, which is seeking to tackle the barriers to investment in more preventation, including social infrastructure and is the author of Valuing Social Infrastructure.

In government, Caroline developed new policies and services in a number of Departments and advised many Ministers, including working as the Private Secretary for Home Affairs to two Prime Ministers. At the Treasury, she advised the Chancellor on public sector priorities and reformed the public expenditure system. At the Department for Education and Skills, she won new funding from the Treasury for innovative new childcare services and worked closely with voluntary organisations and local authorities to deliver them on the ground.

Sarah Vibert is currently the interim Chief Executive of NCVO, and was formerly the Director of Membership and Engagement, having joined NCVO in January 2020.

Sarah has held a number of leadership roles in the voluntary sector; most recently as Chief Executive of umbrella charity The Neurological Alliance. Sarah also spent time in senior management roles at Epilepsy Society and In Kind Direct. She started her career in local government management, including working for The Mayor of London.

Sarah is a Trustee of The Brain and Spine Foundation and volunteers for her son’s school PTA.

Booking for this event has now closed.