New Social Mobility Commission chair to appoint diverse set of commissioners

Dame Martina Milburn says hiring a diverse team is her first priority, with applications open until 25 July

Dame Martina Milburn (middle), in her former role as chief executive of The Prince’s Trust with Prince Charles and an Afghan refugee. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

By Tamsin Rutter

17 Jul 2018

The just-appointed chair of the Social Mobility Commission is seeking to appoint a diverse team of commissioners, from experts to apprentices, to help her shape the government’s social mobility agenda.

Dame Martina Milburn, who was confirmed in the role on 13 July, today announced a recruitment drive for new social mobility commissioners, with applications due by 25 July.

The Social Mobility Commission is seeking to appoint people from a range of backgrounds and areas of the country for the roles, which will take up approximately one day a month.

“We encourage you to put forward an application even if you don’t think a public appointment is for you – this could be the opportunity you have been waiting for to make a real difference to people’s lives,” it said in a statement announcing the roles.


The social mobility commissioners will contribute to the business of the Commission and its research reports and publications; build relationships with stakeholders and other members of the Commission; and act as an advocate for the social mobility agenda, espousing the values of the Commission.

Milburn said: “This commission matters, because its purpose is to help people enjoy better lives.

“My first priority is to recruit my team of commissioners and we’re looking for people from all walks of life. I want to engage real people, with real life experiences, who can challenge government, business and society as a whole, to create a fair system where people can thrive.”

The Commission is looking for diversity of thought, and stated it will appoint anyone “from experts in the field of social mobility, to young people on their social mobility journey, to people with a drive to make change happen, to current apprentices”. It said applications are welcome from experts in the fields of, for example, business, higher education, further education and digital communications.

Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to improving social mobility, and should have made a practical impact in their field.

The commissioners will be expected to attend meetings and events across the UK, and they will be paid £250 a day, with reasonable expenses such as travel reimbursed.

Interviews will take place in September. The assessment panel will include Milburn, Emran Mian, director of strategy and social mobility at the Department for Education, Ruby McGregor-Smith, a non-executive board member at DfE.

Milburn, education secretary Damian Hinds’ preferred choice for the role, was confirmed last week after being endorsed by the Education Select Committee.

She joins the Social Mobility Commission from youth charity The Prince’s Trust, where she was chief executive for 14 years from 2004. Previously she served as chief executive of BBC Children in Need and of the Association of Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration.

Milburn said she was delighted to be appointed. “I hope my experience of working closely with and listening to young people from many different backgrounds will help make a difference,” she added.

Hinds said: “Dame Martina’s work at The Prince’s Trust – helping hundreds of thousands of young people – shows that she has the skills and experience to take on this important role working with government to ensure there are no limits on anyone’s ambition.

“We both share a vision for a country where opportunity is spread equally, helping to create future generations of ambitious and highly-skilled young people who can fulfil their potential. I look forward to working with her to make this vision a reality.”

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