Panel members’ biographies
The Panel members are: Darra Singh OBE, Simon Marcus, Heather Rabbatts CBE and Maeve Sherlock OBE.
Darra Singh OBE
Darra Singh was, until the end of September 2011, Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus and the Department for Work and Pensions’ second Permanent Secretary since November 2009. Before joining the Department, Darra was the Chief Executive of Ealing Council for four years and, prior to that, the Chief Executive of Luton Council.
Darra started his career in 1984 as a volunteer and housing case worker in Tyneside before moving to London to work for The Single Homelessness charity and as a Senior Policy Officer for the London Housing Unit. He became a Regional Director of the North British Housing Association in 1991, and later Chief Executive of the Asra Greater London Housing Association. He has also been the Northern Region Director for the Audit Commission.
In 2006, Darra was appointed the Chair of the Commission for Integration and Cohesion which published its report, ‘Our Shared Future’, the following year. He was appointed Chair of the London Serious Youth Violence Board in 2009.
Simon founded the Boxing Academy in 2006. This is a full time alternative education project for teenagers at risk of gang crime and social exclusion with sites in both Tottenham and Hackney. He also acts as an advisor to other alternative education projects. Before this Simon worked for the British Chamber of Commerce in Brussels and has been involved in small business management and investment in both the publishing and leisure sectors.
Heather Rabbatts CBE
Heather Rabbatts has a singular biography ranging across law, Government, sport and media. Beginning her career as a Barrister at Law she then moved to become a government advisor, a senior executive in public services and the youngest CEO in the UK. During this time she began an on-screen media career as a social commentator and then moved behind the scenes; a Governor of the BBC followed by an appointment as a senior executive at Channel 4 – commissioning programmes across genres and developing a range of talent development initiatives.
She then became Chairman of Shed Media, a publicly-listed media production and distribution company, recently bought by Time Warner.
Heather is currently advising a number of UK production companies, is a non-executive for Arts Alliance (a major film/digital investment fund) and sits on the Board of the Royal Opera House.
Maeve Sherlock OBE
Maeve Sherlock was made a life peer in 2010 and focuses her work mainly on issues affecting families with children, particularly health and welfare. Maeve has spent much of her working life in the voluntary sector including heading up the Refugee Council and the National Council for One Parent Families. Maeve also spent three years in the Treasury advising ministers on families with children, poverty and employment issues. She has served on various boards and chaired an Advisory Panel on the role of the Third Sector in Economic and Social Regeneration. She is the Chair of Chapel St, a social enterprise working for change in under-resourced areas. Maeve is also doing research on faith schools for her PhD at Durham University.
The Panel can be contacted via the details on the contact the Panel page.