The rail review gathers pace

Keith Williams, together with his expert challenge panel and the team at the Department for Transport continue to beaver away to develop an innovative, practical solution to the more intractable issues of the rail industry. The industry has some really positive achievements under its belt: growing passenger numbers, upgrading infrastructure and rolling stock, offering a more inclusive service…the list goes on. And yet – there are still significant problems and we are seeking creative, cost-effective and practical solutions. The call for evidence is still open, so if you haven’t yet contributed your two penn’orth, please do! Keith will be setting out his initial thoughts in his George Bradshaw address at the end of February, but the work will go on. So have your say and help us make a lasting difference.

New Appointment to the Fuel Poverty Committee

Fuel Poverty

I am delighted to have been appointed to the Committee on Fuel Poverty, which advises Government on the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing fuel poverty and encourages greater co-ordination across the organisations working to reduce fuel poverty.


It replaces the former Fuel Poverty Advisory Group and, as part of this transition, it has moved from being a committee of organisational representatives to one of independent experts. Members were appointed in January 2016 for 3 years following the appointment of our Chair, Tom Wright CBE, last year.


With only our first meeting under our belts it is early days;  I am looking forward, however, to tackling what is a big agenda for both our social and environmental responsibilities.


For more information about the Committee on Fuel Poverty and its remit please see

Developing new NICE Guidelines for Adult Social Care


I’m privileged to be chairing the newly formed committee that will develop NICE guidelines on improving the experience of people using adult social care services, in conjunction with the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care.  The guidelines will make evidence-based recommendations on how to improve adults’ experiences of social care services; these will apply to all settings where care is delivered (people’s own homes, residential care and community settings).

For people who use social care, the way in which it is delivered – how we experience it – can make the difference between just existing from day to day and living as full a life as possible. That’s why I am looking forward to helping those who deliver social care and those who use it to understand what good looks like and what we can expect.

The scope of the project has been finalised and we are now calling for evidence until 30 March 2016. So watch this space!

For project information or to register as a stakeholder please see

Transformational Journey Reflections

I was delighted to share my experiences of studying for the Cranfield DBA at a recent Transformational Journey Webinar for prospective students.


Putting together the presentation was a useful exercise in reminding me how the experience enriched my life. It certainly wasn’t easy: I sometimes found it tricky championing an unpopular topic in a sector that can be conservative around diversity issues. Throw the four-year part-time schedule into the mix and it was even more of a challenge!  In hindsight, however, I can appreciate how it all helped me to develop my potential professionally and personally.


The discipline and process required to complete on schedule made me a more critical thinker, better able to challenge the status quo and, importantly in my current role as a NED, deal successfully with ambiguity and change within organisations.


It was also a pleasure to catch up with my supervisor Dr John Towriss and reflect on the impact my research made.

Disabled Role Models in the Public Sector

The List Influence

With the recent publication by the Disability News Service of The List identifying the UK’s most influential disabled people in 10 categories, I was privileged to see my name on the 2014 Public Service top 10 influencers list.


It got me thinking that, whilst the list is impressive, I can easily name another 10 impressive disabled people who are making an impact on public life but are not necessarily as well known or as ‘noticed’. I wondered if part of the problem was visibility – lots of disabled people are doing interesting things and making a difference across society through their work in public service, but that work goes largely unsung.


So while it may be true that there are not enough disabled role models in society, perhaps that’s because we don’t look hard enough – and because people find it difficult to think of themselves as ‘role models’. It would be great to see a whole host of other names on the list next year!