Smith Institute

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The Smith Institute is a left-wing think tank in the UK. It was founded in memory of John Smith QC MPWikipedia-W.svg, former leader of the Labour Party.

The Institute is a not for profit, public policy, think tank. They aim to inform, develop and promote policies that help create a society which is productive and prosperous, but shares its wealth and power with a strong sense of social justice and fairness. They are well known in the media and to politicians, policy-makers, opinion formers, academics and decision-makers in the private, public and third sector.

The Institute is proud of its contribution to the discussion and development of public policy. "All our work is open to scrutiny and each project we undertake is independently funded. We are a highly trusted organisation and do not depend on personal donations or gifts; instead we receive sponsorship from a wide range of organisations, including professional bodies, companies, local government, universities, campaign groups, trade unions and charitable foundations."


  • (Murray Elder, Baron ElderWikipedia-W.svg), Chair
  • Larry Whitty, Baron WhittyWikipedia-W.svg, Vice-Chair
  • Ruth Lister, Baroness Lister of BurtersettWikipedia-W.svg, Board member
  • John MonksWikipedia-W.svg, Board member
  • Something went wrong in Template:former Paul Hackett, Director. Previously SpAAd to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott MP and other ministers at the Department of Communities & Local Government (1997-05). Previously worked for the Financial Times, the Economist Group, Trades Union Congress, and the Parliamentary Labour Party under the late John Smith. Was also adviser to the House of Commons Trade & Industry Select Committee, EU, OECD, ILO, UN, PwC, and Dun & Bradstreet International.
  • Former-UK-HoC.svg
    Paul Hunter, Deputy Director. Has written reports on: GE-2015; poverty in suburbia; the living wage; the future of council housing; wealth inequality; and the private rented sector. He has also helped lead commissions into council housing and the world of work and brought together many of the Smith Institute’s collections of essays. Contributed to a book on the future of the left, the "Socialist Way", edited by Roy Hattersley and Kevin HicksonWikipedia-W.svg, and publications and blogs. Prior to joining the Smith Institute, Hickson worked for an MP.
  • Former-UK-HoC.svg
    Steve Barwick, Deputy Director. Previously: Secretariat for both the Yorkshire and West Midlands APPGs; helped found DevoConnect; Director of Strategy at the North West Leaders Board; member of the Northern Way Taskforce (predecessor to the Northern Powerhouse); worked in the House of Commons for the Shadow Health Secretary (1990s). Managed the "Beyond Shareholder Value" project for the TUC; co-wrote the reports "A New Golden Rule" and "Beneath the Bonnet: how Sound is Britain’s Economy?".
  • Andrew Heywood, Research Fellow. Editor of the journal "Housing Finance International"; visiting fellow of the Land Economy Unit of the University of Cambridge. Was on the Governing Body of BRE Global (2003-2009); on the board of Chelmer Housing Partnership (2008-2011); an adviser to the Treasury Committee of Bromford Housing Group (2012-2015). Has written for "Inside Housing" and for "Social Housing" magazine. Was deputy head of policy at the Council of Mortgage Lenders; co-ordinated between the CML and the Building Research Establishment on certification standards for Modern Methods of Construction.
  • Michael Ward, Research Fellow. Chaired the Industry and Employment Committee of the Greater London Council (1981-1986). Deputy Leader of the GLC (1985-1986). Director of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (1987-2000). Chief Executive of the London Development Agency (2000-?). Non-executive chair of the Board of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.
  • Martin Wheatley, Research Fellow. Former senior civil servant and local govt professional, including the HM Treasury, the Social Exclusion Unit, Croydon Council and the Local Government Association. Operates an advisory business supporting national and local organisations in understanding public policy and its drivers. Was a member of the Southwark Housing Commission (2012-?). Is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Board Member of Wellingborough Homes, and a founder member of the SHOUT social housing campaign.
  • David Coats, Research Fellow. Commentator on employment relations and quality of working life issues. Was Head of the TUC's Economic and Social Affairs Department (1999-2004); Associate Director at The Work Foundation (2004-?). Member of the Low Pay Commission (2000-2004). Appointed to the Central Arbitration Committee (2005-?). Serves on the Executive Committee of the Involvement and Participation Association, a number of academic advisory panels and the steering committee of Unions 21. Was a Labour councillor in the London Borough of Haringey, and governor of local primary schools (1990-1998).
  • Denise Chevin, Research Fellow. Freelance writer and consultant in the built environment. Has written for a range of publications including Property Week and Times Educational Supplement; has advised a number of organisations including the Construction Youth Trust. Acting editor of Construction Manager magazine. Was President of the International Building Press (?-Jun.2011); Trustee of the company pension fund and a member of the editorial training panel of the Periodical Training Council (??).
Sources: People, About


  • Jan.2018: Out of Contract: Time to move on from the ‘love in’ with outsourcing and PFI. The pressure on govt departments, public bodies and local govt to outsource public services has intensified since the 2010 election. This growing trend towards contracting out is largely being driven by fiscal austerity and the relentless search for budget savings. But also by the Conservative Party's deep-rooted belief in marketisation, privatisation and desire for a smaller state. Contracting out has become part of the DNA of govt. But how effective has it been for the public sector and the companies concerned; has it really delivered the promised savings and improvements in service delivery; and what have been the social and human costs? This policy discussion paper is the first in our 2018 series of "what needs to change" talking points. David Walker, John Tizard, The Smith Institute.


  1. ^ Transparency Comparison Table. Who Funds You?. Accessed Aug.2018.