As the government turns from managing the Covid crisis to recovering from it, we’ll be hearing even more about levelling up. But turning a slogan into real deliverables that will change people’s lives is no easy task.

On 20 April, Lord Gus O’Donnell was joined by our expert panel to discuss how the government can ensure the levelling up agenda makes the most difference to people’s lives, and the role civil society has to play in that.

Drawn from the world of politics at both a local and national level, from business and from the charity sector, our expert panel consists of:

  • Gus O’Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary
  • The Rt Hon Justine Greening, former Secretary of State for Education and Chair of the Levelling Up Goals
  • Kamran Rashid, CEO and Founder of the Bradford Impact Hub
  • Madison Kerr, Economist at Pro Bono Economics
Together, our panel explored whether levelling up policies announced so far will achieve the government’s aim to improve people’s lives, and whether enough attention is being paid to the social and community infrastructure that is such an important contributor to our wellbeing.
At this webinar, PBE set out the findings of new research from The Law Family Commission on Civil Society into the importance of civil society as a contributor to levelling up.

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 social sector organisations to tackle the systemic challenges that are stopping civil society delivering on its potential.

Justine Greening entered Parliament in 2005 representing Putney in South West London as the local MP for over 14 years until standing down in 2019. During her career, she served under two prime ministers, as a Treasury minister and later as Secretary of State for Transport. In 2014, Justine was appointed Secretary of State for International Development, where she led the UK’s response to Ebola and the Syria refugee crisis.

In 2016, she took up the role of Minister for Women and Equalities, introducing gender pay gap reporting, as well as Secretary of State for Education, a role she describes as her dream job. She was the first Secretary of State to have been to a comprehensive school.

In 2018, Justine set up the Social Mobility Pledge to mobilise the business community and deliver change on the ground. Today more than 500 organisations representing seven million people have signed the Pledge and have committed to spreading opportunity more fairly in Britain.

Having left Parliament, Justine now leads a coalition of hundreds of organisations on a mission to level up Britain. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, she led the UK business effort through the C-19 Business Pledge, which called on businesses and universities to support their employees, customers and communities through the early stages of the pandemic.

Justine lives in Wandsworth, London with her partner Tess and their dog Cooper.

Lord Gus O’Donnell was Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service between 2005 and 2011, serving three Prime Ministers. Before this, he held several positions at the Treasury, British Embassy in Washington, International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Gus spoke at the launch of Pro Bono Economics at the Treasury in 2009 and continued to support the organisation as a patron, joining the Pro Bono Economics Board as Chair in July 2016. Since 2012 he has been Chairman of Frontier Economics, a microeconomics consultancy firm that has seen a number of its economists support Pro Bono Economics on charity projects.

Kamran Rashid, CEO and Founder of the Bradford Impact Hub, is also founder of The Socially Conscious Company, a private training and consultancy company, specialising in youth culture, diversity & inclusion and specialist engagement.

Kamran was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in February 2020 and of Bradford City of Culture 2025 Trust in November 2019.

Kamran holds a Masters in International Politics, undergraduate degree in Youth & Community work and has over twenty years’ sector experience. Prior to setting up his own social enterprise, Kamran worked for Unltd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs. Kamran is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Common Purpose Graduate and is trained in both the Art of Hosting and unconscious bias & intersectionality.

Madison Kerr is Economist at Pro Bono Economics. Madison joined PBE in November 2020. She recently attained her Ph.D. in economics with specialisations in applied microeconometrics and gender economics. Madison’s work focuses on the importance of gender and family on attitudes and labour market outcomes of individuals.

Booking for this event has now closed.