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Paul Hackett

Paul has overall responsibility for the Institute's programme of research and events. He was previously Special Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott MP and other ministers at the Department of Communities and Local Government (1997-05). Paul has worked in various policy areas including, sustainability, industry and finance, regulation, housing and regeneration, cities and urban policy, planning, regional policy, local government, third sector, and public-private partnerships. Paul previously worked for the Financial Times, the Economist Group, Trades Union Congress, and the Parliamentary Labour Party under the late John Smith. He was also adviser to the House of Commons Trade & Industry Select Committee, EU, OECD, ILO, UN, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Dun & Bradstreet International. 

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  Paul Hunter
  Head of Research

Paul’s main area of responsibility is coordinating the research and production of the Institute’s publications. Prior to joining the Smith Institute Paul worked for an MP. At the Smith Institute he has edited a collection of essays on social enterprises and has written reports on the 2010 general election, the 2011 local elections, and a profile of MPs. Paul has also brought together numerous other publications on a wide range of public policy issues.

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Natalia Raha
Events and Communications  Manager


Natalia is the Smith Institute’s Events and Communications Manager. She is in charge of organising and running the Institute’s events programme and communications strategy. 

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Kitty Ussher
Research Fellow

Kitty Ussher is an economist and former Labour party politician. From 2007-09 she held ministerial positions in the Treasury (twice) and the Department for Work and Pensions, most notably as Economic Secretary to the Treasury in the early phase of the financial crisis.  Her government experience also includes three years as special adviser to the then Department for Trade and Industry on industrial and trade policy, from 2001-04. 
As MP for Burnley from 2005-10 she helped get a university, new schools, better housing and a new health centre as well as starting the ultimately successful campaign for a direct train line to Manchester.  She’s also been a councillor in Lambeth from 1998-2002 where she chaired the finance and environment scrutiny committees. She holds degrees in economics from Balliol College, Oxford and Birkbeck College, London and previously worked as an economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Centre for European Reform and Britain in Europe where she was the chief economist for the pro-European campaign group. Her interests include all areas of industrial, regional, welfare and economic policy including macroeconomics, financial services and government finance. After stepping down at the 2010 general election she wrote four pamphlets on economic and industrial policy as Director of the think-tank Demos before moving to the Smith Institute in January 2012. 


Michael Ward
Research fellow

Michael Ward specializes in local and regional economic development and regeneration. From 1981 to 1986 he chaired the Industry and Employment Committee of the Greater London Council, setting up the Council’s economic development programme, and establishing Greater London Enterprise. In 1985-6, he was Deputy Leader of the GLC. From 1987 to 2000, Michael  lived and worked in Manchester, as Director of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, a public policy, research and consultancy organisation, working on economic development. In 2000, he was appointed the first Chief Executive of the London Development Agency, London’s RDA, where he led the preparation of the Mayor’s Economic Strategy, and secured the initial commitment of the LDA Board to back the London Olympic Bid. Michael now works as a consultant, and is also the non executive chair of the Board of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies. He has a first degree in Philosophy Politics and Economics from Oxford University, and an MA in Social and Economic History from Birkbeck University of London.


David Coats
Research fellow

David Coats is recognised as an expert commentator on employment relations and quality of working life issues, drawing on his experience at the TUC and The Work Foundation.  His publications include: 
An Agenda for Work: The Work Foundation’s Challenge to Policy MakersSpeaking Up! Voice Industrial Democracy and Organisational PerformanceGood Work: Job Quality in a Changing Economy; The National Minimum Wage: Retrospect and Prospect; Migration Myths: Employment, Wages and Labour Market Performance;  Raising Lazarus: The Future of Organised Labour (Fabian Society) and Advancing Opportunity: The Future of Good Work (ed) (Smith Institute).  From 1999-2004 he was Head of the TUC’s Economic and Social Affairs Department managing work on economic and industrial policy, the welfare state, public services and the development of partnership at work, having first joined the TUC in 1989 as an employment law specialist. In 2004 he became Associate Director at The Work Foundation. He was educated at Portway Comprehensive School, Bristol and then read Law at University College, London receiving an LL.B in 1983 and an LL.M in 1986. He completed his Bar Finals at the Inns of Court School of Law in 1984 and was called to the Bar in 1985. David was a member of the Low Pay Commission from 2000-2004 and was appointed to the Central Arbitration Committee (the industrial court for Great Britain) in 2005.  He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Involvement and Participation Association, a number of academic advisory panels and the steering committee of Unions 21. From 1990-98 he was a councillor (Labour) in the London Borough of Haringey and served as a governor of local primary schools over the same period. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  



Nick Johnson
Research fellow

Nick is a leading writer and commentator on issues of integration, equality and. Cohesion. He contributes regularly to books, journals and magazines on a wide range of subjects including integration, multiculturalism, social capital, cohesion, citizenship and race equality. Nick has recently completed a new pamphlet for the Fabian Society on what integration means and how it can be measured and was commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to develop a conceptual framework for ‘good relations’. Between 2004-7, he was the Director of Policy and Public Sector for the Commission for Racial Equality where he led the development of the CRE’s policy agenda. He was also responsible for managing the Commission’s relationship with the public sector and monitoring the performance of all public authorities with regards to race equality. In 2007, he joined the Institute of Community Cohesion as Director of Policy where he leads on policy development and public affairs. He is also the co-editor of the new Cohesion Journal. Prior to joining the CRE, he was a Consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and before that, he was at the Association of London Government, where he was responsible for corporate and strategic policy. Nick is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and a member of the Ethnicity Advisory Group for the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study.


Andy Rumfitt
Research fellow

An economic geographer and planner Andy specialises in the analysis of regional and local economies and the integration of economics, transport, planning and business development issues. He has nearly 20 years experience in providing professional advice to support the submission of major planning applications for rail, infrastructure and mixed use projects, in developing economic and planning policy, in assessing the impacts of physical developments and in designing practical interventions that support the local business base. He has worked with a wide range of clients including Communities and Local Government, the Northern Way, Regional Development Agencies, Local Authorities, Urban Development Corporations, Business Links and Transport Agencies such as the Docklands Light Railway and Transport for London.

For the Improvement and Development Agency he has identified Local Authority best practice in a number of areas including joint working in economic development, planning, highways procurement, voluntary sector networking, health, crime and sustainability. He recently helped the LDA to develop economic and planning policy for Outer London as part of the Mayor's Outer London Commission. He is currently advising the LDA, SEEDA and EEDA in the selection of areas for joint working across the £532 billion Greater South East economy and helping Transport for London to develop a range of river crossing options for east London.

Andy has Masters degrees from Cambridge and Reading Universities and a prize winning MBA from Imperial College, London University. He was appointed to the Policy Council of the Town and Country Planning Association in 2009. He is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Institution of Economic Development in addition to being an Associate Member of the Market Research Society.

As a CABE Enabler for the Thames Gateway he helped to deliver identity and placemaking workshops across all organisations responsible for the Thames Gateway Delivery Plan and was a member of CABE's international Strategic Urban Design Panel (2007-2009). He was recently appointed as a design quality enabler for Transform South Yorkshire, the largest housing market renewal programme in England.


Denise Chevin
Research fellow

Denise Chevin has nearly 20 years’ experience as a journalist, six of those editing one of the UK’s leading business titles, Building Magazine and its web site which she joined in 2004. Before that she revamped and edited the social housing magazine, Housing Today. Under both of these editorships, Denise steered the titles and its journalists to win a several PPA awards for both print and on-line. And during this time Denise regularly chaired conferences, spoke at debates and contributed to radio and TV.  Denise has had a long association with the Smith Institute, heading monographs on PFI and Public Procurement; and the Planning system. Since leaving Building in July 2010 Denise has embarked on a career as a freelance writer and consultant in the built environment. In this time she has written for a range of publications including Property Week and Times Educational Supplement, and advised a number of organisations including the charity, the Construction Youth Trust. She is also acting editor of Construction Manager magazine, standing in for the editor while she is on maternity leave. She was President of the International Building Press until June 2011; has been a Trustee of the company pension fund and a member of the editorial training panel of the Periodical Training Council. She graduated from Manchester University with a degree in chemistry.

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