Think-tank Demos gears up for May 2015

The think-tank Demos is announcing a series of changes as part of a long-term vision for the organisation, laying the groundwork for maximum cross-party policy impact in the run up to the election.

The current director David Goodhart will become the Chair of a new Advisory Group for the think-tank, drawing together a wide range of leading political figures to broaden Demos’ reach and provide intellectual direction in the run up to the General Election. The group already includes Lord Falconer, Baroness O’Neill, Trevor Phillips OBE and Prof Jean Seaton with more members to be announced.

Claudia Wood, who has led Demos’s work on public services and welfare as Deputy Director, will become Chief Executive. Claudia’s research interests stretch across subjects as diverse as welfare reform, housing, health and social care policy, measuring social value, demographic change, personalisation and looked-after children.

She led Demos’s groundbreaking work on poverty, which took a multi-dimensional look at how to measure and tackle poverty, and developed the influential Disability in Austerity project, which has tracked the lives of a group of families coping with disability during this Parliament. The project has been extensively profiled in the national media and drawn upon in Parliamentary debates.

Duncan O’Leary will become Research Director, continuing to expand the think-tank’s streams on good business and citizenship, and will focus on ensuring Demos’ research influences the three main parties’ manifestos.

Showcasing the best in political thinking

The move comes shortly after Demos has relaunched its magazine of political ideas, Demos Quarterly, to showcase the best in policy and political thinking. The first edition includes contributions from Jon Cruddas MP, David Willetts MP and a lead essay on postliberalism from Goodhart, who is the Quarterly’s Editor-in-Chief.

As part of Demos’s long history of institution-building, the think-tank proudly announces that after successfully being incubated as Demos Finance, The Finance Foundation will officially launch in April. Demos will continue to work with The Finance Foundation as it expands its work on financial services policy in areas such as entrepreneurship and non-bank finance. The Centre for the Analysis of Social Media continues to thrive as part of the Demos family, and will host a speech by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper later today [Monday].

Goodhart will also lead the Demos programme ‘Mapping Integration’ on ethnic minority integration and segregation, an issue on which he has become a leading commentator. Demos has recently announced a newIntegration Hub website to launch later this year and last week published Mapping Integration, a collection of essays by leading academics and commentators in the field.

Demos will be continuing its innovative policy research across its five programmes in 2014, in the lead-up to the General Election. This will include:

– ‘Bottom-up public services’ including a pilot of pupil-powered education in four schools across the UK

– The Centre for the Analysis of Social Media launching its first full-length report, applying its revolutionary social media polling technique to discover public attitudes across Europe

– Good business in the round, including improving careers advice, FE and apprenticeships to help the ‘other 50%’

– Building on our influential research into ‘Generation Citizen’ to explore the relationship between volunteering and a cohesive society

– New research on the typology of debt, including a ‘harm index’ which reveals how harmful each type of debt really is

– Continuing our work on contributory welfare to suggest radical reform to the welfare state to bring it closer to public intuitions

David Goodhart, Chair of the Demos Advisory Group, said:

“After two and a half years as Director of Demos, I will be stepping back from day-to-day management to focus on the areas where I can contribute most to Demos’s future. I look forward to providing long-term intellectual shape for the organisation through our new Advisory Group, ensuring Demos research is reaching the right places.

“I am also looking forward to working with Claudia as Chief Executive, who will do an excellent job leading Demos into the election period and beyond. I am pleased to say that Demos is now well placed to be very influential on all three party manifestos.”

Claudia Wood, incoming Chief Executive of Demos, said:

“I’d like to thank David for his work as Director over the past two and a half years and for continuing to provide intellectual direction for Demos. I look forward to working with the Advisory Group to maximise Demos’s impact.

“The next 14 months is an exciting time in British politics. Demos’ vision is of a ‘bottom-up’ politics: giving people power over their everyday lives, and bringing the public and policy makers closer together. This is a message that resonates across party political divides, and we at Demos are uniquely placed to have the maximum influence at this crucial time.”

Phil Collins, Chair of Trustees at Demos, said:

“I am grateful to David for how he has led Demos over the past two and a half years. I am also glad that he will continue to provide intellectual insight for the organisation, as well as bringing in big thinkers and leading our work on immigration and integration.

“Demos has a bright future ahead with Claudia at the helm, who I know will guarantee that our research is relevant, rigorous and influential. She and her team will make sure that Demos’s unique and cross-party research is taken on by policy makers.”