|Naomi Eisenstadt CB
I was the first Director of the Sure Start Unit, which I ran for seven years. The Unit was responsible for delivering the government’s commitment to free nursery education places for all three and four year olds, the national childcare strategy, and programmes aiming to reduce the gap in outcomes between children living in disadvantaged areas and the wider child population. This was later extended to developing policy on parenting support, and a greatly enhanced delivery system for the provision of extended services for families with school aged children, including childcare and school based family support.
After Sure Start, I spent three years as the Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force working across government to identify and tackle policy barriers that increase the likelihood of exclusion, and to design new policies to reduce the exclusion faced by some of the most disadvantaged individuals, families, and groups. I recently retired from the UK civil service and I am currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Departments of Education and Social Policy, University of Oxford. I was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 2002, and the CB in 2005.
I work for Jobcentre Plus as an Advisory Team Leader based at Southgate House, Central Milton Keynes. My Team deliver advisory services to lone parents, Employment and Support Allowance customers, carers and partners of customers receiving DWP benefits both at Bletchley and Milton Keynes. Additionally we manage the claims for customers under 18 receiving benefits other than Jobseekers Allowance.
My role is to work with Advisors to support customers to move closer to the local labour market by delivering a diagnostic interview to identify customer needs and working together with their customer to find appropriate work, training and support. My team deliver services on an outreach basis at a number of Children’s Centres across Milton Keynes and conduct mandatory work focussed interviews at The Art Room, Saplings and Daisy Chain.
I delivered presentations to customers who were subject to the welfare reforms affecting their entitlement to claim Income Support. It provided me with a great insight in to their lives and as a consequence I became a member of Gingerbread to broaden my knowledge and engage with other lone parents.
After working in industry, education and the voluntary sector, I have spent the last 16 years in the third tier of local government – town and parish councils. I am currently Chief Executive Officer of Woughton Community Council which covers one of the most deprived wards in Milton Keynes, and some of the oldest housing. With offices in the heart of the community, the needs of our residents, particularly children, are evident on a daily basis. Our staff engage with residents and young people on a daily basis and have worked with Milton Keynes Council officers on their 'Thriving Communities' regeneration initiative, which aims to empower residents to change their own neighbourhoods.
My interest in child poverty is based on my concern that children who live in relative or absolute poverty also suffer a poverty of experience which seriously limits their life chances. Poverty has long term effects on their quality of life and aspirations which in turn condemns them to a life of limited opportunities and often worklessness or low wage employment. We need to explore ways of breaking the cycle and supporting our residents to make the changes for themselves.
I retire from the post of Principal at Stantonbury Campus in August 2011. I have spent 36 years as a teacher, the last 18 as headteacher of three different secondary schools. Throughout my career, I have been motivated by the barriers to success faced by young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Schools can, and do, make a difference for young people every day, but across the piece as a society, we are not doing well by those who come from the poorest homes. I see this as a shameful waste of talent and potential. I live in Milton Keynes and enjoy its vibrancy and “can-do” attitude. I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the Milton Keynes Child Poverty Commission, because I believe the real solutions to the difficulties faced by those living in poverty require concerted action across agencies and society as a whole.
For the past three and a half years I have been jointly appointed Director of Public Health for Milton Keynes and Chief Executive of NHS Milton Keynes.
I studied medicine at Cambridge and Oxford and trained in general practice and public health. Throughout my career I have had a particular interest in managing and improving quality of care. I was a Harkness Fellow based at RAND Corporation, Santa Monica
I have worked as a Public Health Consultant and was a Policy Analyst in the Department of Health. My achievements include the development of the Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework and I was a member of the Secretary of State’s Strategy Unit which played a significant role in the development of the NHS Plan, particularly the elements addressing health inequalities including policies promoting closer working between the NHS and local government. I am also a Senior Associate of the Nuffield Trust and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department of Primary Care University of Oxford and a member of the Common Room at Green Templeton College University, Oxford.
Rita Spada is the Chief Executive of Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber of Commerce. She is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the Chamber’s activities are coordinated and focused on adding value to local businesses.
I have worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years both at a local and national level. For over half of that time, I worked in charities directly involved in service delivery to children and families. In the last 10 years, as Chief Executive of Community Action: MK (formerly known as MKCVO) I have overseen the development of the Community Mobiliser Service as part of the local implementation of the Children’s Fund. Community Mobilisers work alongside children and families in 12 neighbourhoods focusing on supporting local people to identify and express their needs and then to find their own solutions. As a member of the Commission on Child Poverty, I am keen to ensure that voluntary and community groups have the opportunity to contribute their frontline knowledge and experience in helping to shape the recommendations.