People’s Commission on life after Covid-19 launched to lead largest ever public conversation on Britain’s future

  • The People’s Commission on Life After Covid-19, led by Demos, aims to engage with up to one million citizens to shape what Britain will look like after the Coronavirus crisis.
  • The expert Commissioners announced to steer Renew Normal include former Cabinet minister Baroness Morgan of Cotes, and’s Martin Lewis OBE.

Cross-party think tank Demos has launched a People’s Commission on Life After Covid-19, Renew Normal, to lead the largest ever public conversation on the future of the UK. Using Demos’ pioneering technology, the project aims to involve up to one million people from all walks of life in shaping society after the coronavirus crisis.

The Commission brings together leading figures from sectors across society to steer the major project. The Commissioners appointed are:

  • Andrea Sutcliffe – Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Professor Donna Hall CBE – former Chief Executive of Wigan Council and Chair of the New Local Government Network
  • Hetan Shah – Chief Executive of The British Academy
  • Josh Hardie – Deputy Director-General, Confederation of British Industry
  • Martin Lewis OBE – founder of and personal finance expert
  • Mike Clancy – General Secretary of the Prospect trade union
  • Ndidi Okezie – Chief Executive, UK Youth
  • Nick Timothy – author and former adviser to the Prime Minister
  • Rt Hon Nicky Morgan – Baroness Morgan of Cotes, former Secretary of State for Education, and for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
  • Stewart Wood, Lord Wood of Anfield – former senior adviser to the Leader of the Opposition
  • Vidhya Alakeson – Chief Executive of Power to Change, a National Lottery-funded network of community businesses

As part of the Commission, Demos has today launched an open platform for citizens to share their stories, experiences and ideas, as the first step to understanding the impact current changes are having on people’s lives across the country. Renew Normal will work with the public throughout the project, through social listening, deliberation, participation, polling, and discussion, to understand the real life implications of all these changes.

Demos will then work with Commissioners and the public to find ways to hold on to the changes we value – from increased community connection to reduced air pollution – and heal the damage that has been caused – from unemployment to loneliness.

Commenting on the new Commission, Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive at Demos and convenor of the Commission, said:

“Britain will change dramatically after Covid-19, but it shouldn’t just be for politicians to decide what that change looks like. The whole country needs to get involved in making these choices about how we repair our country, and what we build back. The debate must be open, friendly and involve people on a massive, unprecedented scale. With a stellar set of trusted experts on our Commission, we hope to facilitate this huge conversation.

“Our first survey out today gives people across the whole country a chance to share what they have been experiencing during this life-altering time, which will help us to shape a vision for a better future.”

Martin Lewis OBE, founder of and the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute said:

“Life has changed forever. Not just the way we work, support each other, travel, shop and spend, but also the roles people play in society. The past few months have been challenging for our country on every level, but it is time to try and find opportunity from the adversity. This is a moment to decide how we want to rebuild things, by design, not chance. A national conversation is needed, to see how lives have changed and how everyone feels about it, that’s why I’m delighted to be involved in the Demos commission, to try to work to ensure all voices are heard, and amplified, to hope for the betterment of society for all.”

Baroness Morgan of Cotes, former Secretary of State for Education and for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“It is clear we aren’t going to be returning to life as we knew it at the end of February and that we’ve all been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown – so it will be really fascinating to be part of the Demos Commission and hear what people really think the future looks like.”

Hetan Shah, Chief Executive of British Academy, said:

“The humanities and social sciences can provide us with the insights and imagination to shape a better future. This commission is a chance for that expertise to be harnessed in the service of public priorities.”

Ndidi Okezie, CEO of UK Youth said:

“Even before COVID-19, young people had the least stable employment opportunities, they were lonelier than older people and more likely to be the victims of serious crime – they have been particularly hard hit by this crisis. Nonetheless we can see the incredible ways in which they have stepped up to the mark throughout. Proactively building peer led online communities, volunteering in record numbers across the country. Having sacrificed so much, their futures must now be reimagined. They must be empowered to contribute to the conversations and equipped to thrive going forward. I’m so pleased to be asked to join this Commission so we can proactively amplify a diversity of youth voices. We need to restore the sense of hope and agency that all young people are entitled to feel and that starts by ensuring they are a central part of this national conversation.”

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said: 

“It’s clear the way we live our lives has been fundamentally changed by Covid-19. We have a once in a lifetime chance to come together to shape a future that reflects the incredible collaboration and resilience shown by individuals and communities across the UK throughout this crisis. 

“Many of our dedicated nursing and midwifery professionals, working across health and social care, have been at the heart of the response to this pandemic from the beginning, which is why I’m delighted to be involved in the Commission. I want to play my part to ensure the diverse voices of our nursing and midwifery professionals are heard, and the interests of health and social care are recognised as we all work together to create our new normal.” 

Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect trade union said:

“I am very pleased to be involved in such an important project, and pay tribute to Demos in convening such a high calibre commission, that I can’t wait to get started working with. 

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp focus many of the structural challenges faced by our economy and society. Whether that is on how we value our key workers, how we invest in safety at work, or crucially on how we make sure all workers have a voice at work.

“It has also exposed some of the limits of flexibility in the workplace particularly for those freelancing or self-employed.

“A return to business as usual after the crisis would be a huge missed opportunity, so I hope this Commission will help describe a better, fairer road map for the future.”

Josh Hardie, Deputy Director-General of the CBI, said:

“Listening to people from right across the UK Is the only way to build Britain back better.

“By having clear, shared aims that guide recovery, whether that’s on the climate, jobs or healthcare, we’ll be able to set a course for a brighter future for our country.”

The survey can be found at





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