The Fairness Commission is an independent body and Commissioners have not been appointed as representatives of any body, group, organisation or sector but will sit on the commission as individuals. They have been chosen because they understand some of the main problems facing the city such as child poverty, housing, transport, health and unemployment.
Chair of the Fairness Commission
Vic Rayner is the Chair of the Fairness Commission and was the CEO of Sitra until December 2015. Sitra is the leading national membership body championing excellence in housing, health, care and support.
Vic has always worked in areas addressing inequalities and promoting fairness, and has over twenty five years’ experience within the voluntary and community sector.
Vic has extensive experience working in a national and local policy environment, and in addition has strong connections with the development and implementation of best practice. Her areas of expertise include housing and homelessness, personalisation, coproduction, welfare reform, alternative commissioning and delivery models, and quality. She regularly speaks on national and European platforms about the importance of excellent housing and support to enable people to live as independent, engaged members of communities.
In addition, Vic is a Director of the London Housing Foundation, which funds innovation and development in homelessness. Vic has an MBA (Distinction), MA in Women’s Studies and BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
Vic lives in Kent with her partner and three children.
Wednesday Croft – Youth Mayor, Brighton & Hove
Wednesday Croft is a student at Varndean School in her final year of GCSEs. She recently took some GCSEs early and hopes to study Maths, Physics and French at A Level. Wednesday has been part of Brighton & Hove Youth Council for almost three years and finds it a brilliant way of feeding back into the city what young people want and need, whilst meeting new people and developing essential skills.
As well as recently being elected Youth Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Wednesday is also Student headteacher of Varndean School, which involves extensive organisation and leadership. In her spare time, Wednesday enjoys playing piano, singing in the choir and volunteering for the Neighbourhood Care Scheme (which reach out to lonely, isolated and vulnerable people and encouraging their confidence and participation). She also recently gave a presentation at Sussex University concerning young people in the media and how body image is being manipulated.
Martin Harris – Managing Director, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company
Martin Harris joined as Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company in 2013. With thirty five years in the bus industry, his career started in Brighton with Southdown. He worked during the formative years of the new bus company from the mid-eighties to mid-nineties and after eighteen years with Go North East, he returned to Brighton.
Martin is actively involved with many city stakeholders and works in developing key partnerships around the city. He is a member of the Sustainable Transport Partnership and Quality Bus Partnership (QBP) and successfully pushed for the inclusion of an all city operators elected representative and for representation of bus users via Buswatch for the QBP.
Martin recognises the need for businesses in our city to work in partnership across all sectors. This has led to roles as a board member of Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Economic Partnership, vice chairman of Hove Business Association and a wide range of partnerships with community based organisations. These include local organisations that work with disabled people, the street homeless or involved with the arts and culture of the city. A clear illustration of these passions are displayed on special liveried buses such as the WW1 Heritage Bus, Albion in the Community Bus, Paddle Round the Pier Bus, Pride Bus and the Get Bus(y) themed buses.
Ann Hickey – General Manager, East Sussex Credit Union
Ann Hickey has worked for East Sussex Credit Union (formerly City of Brighton Credit Union) for 15 years as Development Officer, Customer Services Manager and for the last two and a half years as General Manager. East Sussex Credit Union is a strategic partner of the Moneyworks Community Banking Partnership.
Ann has a working knowledge of helping people to combat financial exclusion and is committed to enabling people to access safe savings and affordable credit alternatives and believes that partnership working it crucial to achieving this. Ann has a background and qualification in human resources and experience in the voluntary sector. She has been a trustee of Community Works, the local voluntary sector infrastructure group, for the past 4 years and is Chair of the Volunteers Champions Group for Brighton & Hove.
Dr Rhidian Hughes – CEO, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group
Rhidian Hughes is chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group. The group represents not for profit disability organisations and has a vision for full choice and control for everyone with a disability. Previously Rhidian’s career spanned a range of senior research, regulation and consultancy roles.
Prior to joining the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, Rhidian worked in management consultancy across the health and social care sectors. Before that Rhidian worked in regulation first at the Commission for Social Care Inspection and subsequently at the Care Quality Commission, with responsibilities for strategic and policy priorities.
Earlier in his career Rhidian held academic appointments leading programmes of social policy research. He earned his Doctorate at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York.
Imran Hussain – Director of Policy, Rights & Advocacy, Child Poverty Action Group
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) campaigns to end child poverty and publishes the authoritative handbooks on the welfare benefits and tax credits systems for expert and non-expert advisers. In 2014, CPAG, the Trussell Trust, Oxfam and the Church of England published a ground-breaking report examining the drivers of foodbank demand.
Imran is responsible for CPAG’s influencing and welfare rights activities and was a member of Leicester’s Child Poverty Commission. CPAG has produced resources for local authorities and worked with several local commissions. Current projects include a project working with local authorities on tackling London’s high child poverty rate, a service for advisers who want to know more about local welfare assistance schemes and influencing national and local child poverty strategies. Imran previously worked for the Prison Reform Trust, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the Refugee Council. Imran lives in Brighton with his family and his son attends a local primary school.
Sally Polanski – Chief Executive, Brighton and Hove Community Works
Sally is Chief Executive of Brighton and Hove Community Works. Community Works creates the support and networks that help people, voluntary and community organisations and businesses to use their time and energy effectively. Sally is responsible for leadership, management and strategic development of the organisation and working in partnership with others in the city.
Sally has over fifteen years' experience providing support to the community and voluntary sector (VCS). She enjoys working in both strategic leadership roles and with socially excluded groups and communities to bring about local change. She is committed to promoting equality and diversity. She brings expertise in developing cross sector, multi-agency partnerships, bringing people and resources together to achieve set goals. She has supported the VCS in influencing public policy and redesigning services.
Sally worked previously for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Worthing Voluntary Action, Groundwork UK and BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development). She volunteers currently as a trustee of Community Base and treasurer of a PTA committee.
Bill Randall – Writer, Journalist and Housing Consultant
Bill Randall was a Brighton & Hove City Councillor for Hanover and Elm Grove for 12 years during which time he was Leader of the Council, Mayor of the City and Chair of Housing and Communities.
During his tenure as Leader, the Brighton & Hove Living Wage was established and two successful local participatory budgeting pilots were set up. Moneyworks was launched during the two years he was responsible for housing and communities, bringing together the local CAB, the East Sussex Credit Union and other advice agencies
He was a partner in a successful publishing company and ran a PR consultancy working with housing organisations for 25 years. He is the author of several housing publications and was Housing Journalist of the Year in 2000. He was the founding editor of Inside Housing and remains a regular columnist for the magazine. He also works as a housing consultant.
He is a Brighton Housing Trust Board Member, Chair of House, the contemporary arts element of the Brighton Festival, and Chair of the Friends of St Nicholas’ Church, Brighton. He is a Trustee of Allsorts, which works with young LGBTU people and the Brighton Table Tennis Club.
Bill is married with three children and six grandchildren. One son apart, they all live in the Brighton & Hove area.
Dan Shelley – Vice Principal, Sussex Coast College Hastings
Dan worked in the regeneration and education sectors in Brighton & Hove City Council and led the city’s Learning Partnership. This included the writing and development of a variety of citywide strategies including Skills for Life, 14-19 and Apprenticeships.
Dan then became the Head of Partnerships and Projects for City College Brighton in 2011 and led the development of programmes for unemployed people and work linked to training for adults who were unemployed or needed to improve their basic skills. He helped set up the citywide Apprenticeship Training Agency and GFE South, a not-for-profit company owned by 23 GFE (general further education) Colleges across the south east, set up to bid for regional contracts.
Since August 2012 Dan has been the Vice Principal (Enterprise, Employment and Skills) at Sussex Coast College Hastings leading the colleges work on Apprenticeships, HE, Marketing, International, student services, Project work and Business Development. This has included expanding the college’s work for those local people with low or no qualifications. Dan is also currently a Trustee of the Friends Centre, the oldest adult education provider in the centre of the city and the Rye Partnership, a Regeneration company in Rye.
Dr Katie Stead – GP and Clinical Lead for Public Health and for Locally Commissioned Services and Quality for Primary Care
Katie Stead has worked as a GP in the city for more than 20 years in Kemptown, Hove, Patcham and Preston Park. For the past 6 years she has also been working as a clinical lead in the Public Health Directorate working on various areas but including work to reduce health inequalities. She has helped lead an audit to look at premature mortality in the city which achieved full engagement of all the GP surgeries in the city. This work will help to inform planning of services to ensure we do all that we that we can to prevent or avert avoidable deaths with particular emphasis on making those services accessible to those who need them most. Recently her role has been extended to include locally commissioned services and quality for primary care. There will be a new contract with GP surgeries to deliver locally commissioned services which will ensure that these will be offered to all patients who need them.
As part of her role she has had experience working on the Transgender Needs assessment, is a member of the Citywide Needs Assessment Steering Group, was a member of the Healthy City Partnership, planned Quality Workshops in Primary Care and is a member of the Primary Care Transformation Board at the Clinical Commissioning Group.
Katie has lived in Brighton for 25 years and has 3 sons; 2 at local schools and one at University.
Rachel Verdin – Organiser, GMB
Rachel Verdin has worked with the GMB trade union for over the last 10 years in a number of roles with responsibility for a wide range of members in both the public and private sector. She supports, advises and represents members alongside working with the companies that employ them to ensure that workers are treated with dignity and respect. Rachel has seen how damaging the drastic scaling back of local government has been and the real impact this is having on those who work within it and the communities that rely on its services. She is a firm believer in fair and equal treatment and the principle of social justice and finds herself increasingly concerned about the impact of the cuts to the most vulnerable in society.
Rachel has recently studied a postgraduate law course with a project focussing on the Inequality in employment law and how this particularly affects working women. As a mother to two young daughters she'd like to ensure that the city in which she’s raising them is doing all it can to ensure that they and children like them are growing up in a society which is not defined by a shameful record on inequality and austerity.
David Wolff – Director, Community University Partnership Programme
David Wolff has worked in the community and voluntary sector and social action programmes for 30 years. He worked extensively with street homeless communities in London and Yorkshire and in advice and information services, project management and community use of technology. He has occupied roles as a volunteer, service delivery worker, manager, director and consultant.
David has led the pioneering Community University Partnership Programme (Cupp) at the University of Brighton since its inception in 2003. Cupp enables mutually beneficial co-working between the University of Brighton and communities in Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings and is recognised as a global leader for university social action programmes. David is a published author, regularly teaches and undertakes international conference talks and consultancy. His particular interest is in how communities and public bodies can genuinely work together for social good.