Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Alun Francis Named Interim Chair of the Social Mobility Commission [January 2023]

The press release issued by the Government Equalities Office on 6 January 2023.

Alun, previously Deputy Chair of the SMC and current Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College, will replace the outgoing Chair Katharine Birbalsingh.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, said:

“I am delighted that Alun Francis has agreed to be the Interim Chair of the Commission.

“During his time as Deputy Chair I have seen that Alun has all the necessary skills and experience to ensure accountability and strong leadership of the Commission and will continue to champion and improve social mobility across the UK.

“I am very grateful to Katharine for her time as Chair, and congratulate her on successfully giving the organisation a strong sense of direction and purpose. I know that Alun will continue to build upon her excellent work.”

Interim Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Alun Francis OBE said:

”I am very pleased to accept the role of Interim Chair of the Social Mobility Commission.

“The Commission has had a fantastic twelve months, from launching our first State of the Nation report to making great progress on our research priorities.

“The SMC continues to go from strength to strength, and I look forward to working with the Minister for Women and Equalities to continue to champion social mobility across Britain.”

In 2022, the Social Mobility Commission set out a fresh approach to social mobility, moving away from the notion that social mobility should just be about the “long” upward mobility from the bottom into the top.

Following this, in June, the SMC published their State of the Nation annual report. The report showcased their new Social Mobility Index, a rigorous new framework for measuring social mobility over time. Each year, they will report on mobility outcomes, intermediate outcomes, and the drivers of social mobility (the background conditions that enable social mobility to happen).

2023 will see the publication of the next State of the Nation report, in which the SMC will also overlay these metrics by UK regions, and give additional breakdowns by other characteristics including sex, ethnicity and disability. These breakdowns will connect personal characteristics to a place, and can help to inform early thinking about policy solutions.

The SMC will continue to deliver on the commitments it made over the last twelve months. Arrangements for a new permanent Chair will be announced in due course.