Barnsley 2030

For Barnsley to be the place of possibilities, we want to level the playing field so everyone can benefit from work in our borough. The Pathways to Work Commission is part of our commitment to supporting individuals who are currently unavailable to work.

The Commission has the ambitious task of understanding the challenges that our residents and communities face to find practical solutions to make a real difference in Barnsley. We hope to lead the way so that others regionally and nationally can learn from us too.

Our ambition

Barnsley residents are 12% more likely to be economically inactive than the national average. This is different to unemployment. It means that people aren’t taking part in the labour market for a number of reasons. It's often linked to barriers like ill-health or caring responsibilities.

Inclusive economic growth benefits people, families, and communities. However, not everyone can access these. Data tells us that there are thousands of Barnsley residents who want to work but are currently unable to.

Our approach

To pave the way for innovative solutions to the barriers that people face, we've partnered with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Under the guidance of Rt Hon Alan Milburn, former Cabinet Minister and social mobility champion, we’ve enlisted leading labour market, skills and health experts to contribute their insights.

Over the course of a year, Commissioners will meet with residents, employers, educators, and the Barnsley 2030 Board. This will allow the group to bring together local, national, and international research and data to help design targeted pathways for residents. With research, fresh data, and expert insights, the Commission aims to learn from successful practices both within the UK and internationally, so everybody can benefit from Barnsley’s economic growth. 

The Commission will culminate in a final report. This will make recommendations to national, regional and local government. It may also set out suggestions for future programmes to support residents into learning and work, or ways that employers can create more inclusive workplaces.

Meet the Commissioners

There are twelve Commissioners who each bring unique strengths to this work. By bringing together a group with such diverse experience, we hope to see fresh approaches and impact made possible. 

Rt Hon Alan Milburn

Rt Hon Alan Milburn

Rt Hon Alan Milburn

The Right Honourable Alan Milburn was a Member of the UK Parliament between 1992 and 2010. He served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury where he had responsibility for all aspects of public expenditure and the development of public-private partnerships.

As Secretary of State for Health he led a reform programme of health and social care services. As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster he was responsible for co-ordinating and developing government policy across all departments.

After retiring from politics in 2010, Alan was appointed to review and report on child poverty and social mobility. Alan then became the Chair of the Commission on Social Mobility from 2012 to 2017.

Alan has led a successful business career, working with corporate and government clients across the world. He is senior advisor to PwC’s government and health industries practice. He serves on a number of other corporate boards and chairs Huma the digital health business.

Alan is Chancellor of Lancaster University, one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions. He undertakes work for a number of charities including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where he is vice-chair and the Social Mobility Foundation which he chairs.

Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson

Alan has deep personal ties to the area having been born and educated in Barnsley and is looking forward to contributing to this hugely important work.

Alan joined the Evri board in 2018 and has over 20 years of varied experience in financial management, business leadership and corporate strategy. He previously worked at KPMG, Asda Stores, Morrisons Supermarkets and the Crawshaws Group.

Alan handles all the company’s financial functions, including accounting, tax and treasury, audit, corporate finance, commercial finance, and investor relations. He also oversees and manages all legal, public affairs and property functions for the Group.

Ben Harrison

Ben Harrison

Ben Harrison

Ben became Director of the Work Foundation in February 2020. He has 15 years’ experience of working across the public, private and third sectors.

Previously, Ben was a member of the Senior Management team at The National Lottery Community Fund. He was also the Director of Communications and Development at national think tank Centre for Cities. As well as that, Ben has worked as an economic development specialist at PwC.

In 2010 he established and led Future of London and began his career at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Dr Cath Sleeman

Dr Cath Sleeman

Dr Cath Sleeman

Cath is the Interim Head of Data Science at Nesta - the UK's innovation agency for social good. She leads a team of 15 data scientists who provide new insights on Nesta's three missions. These include creating a sustainable future, a healthy life and a fairer start.

Cath has a particular interest in identifying and filling gaps in data ecosystems. Her projects show the potential of novel data and methods to deliver new insights. Her work blends economics, data science and data visualisation.

Dan Jarvis (commissioner until 5 July 2024)

Dan Jarvis

Dan Jarvis

Dan served as the Mayor of South Yorkshire from 2018 to 2022. He has formerly worked as a British Army officer and a member of the Parachute Regiment.

Dan actively works with businesses and stakeholders to support and develop the Barnsley economy. He campaigns to raise aspiration amongst young people, and to support skills and adult literacy programmes.

Denise Hampson

Denise Hampson

Denise Hampson

Denise is a behavioural economics and experience design expert. Between 1999 and 2004, Denise was a member of the highly successful Great Britain Track Cycling Team. She is a past British Women's Sprint Champion and British 200m record holder.

Before her athletic career, Denise was a Systems Engineer at BAE Systems. She specialised in human-system interaction and cockpit design on the Eurofighter Typhoon. This sparked her career-long obsession with human-centred design. She's especially interested in creating systems and services that are best matched to real human behaviour.

Dr Jennifer Dixon

Dr Jennifer Dixon

Dr Jennifer Dixon

Jennifer joined the Health Foundation as Chief Executive in October 2013. Before that, she was Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust from 2008 to 2013.

In pervious roles, Jennifer has been Director of Policy at The King’s Fund and the policy advisor to the Chief Executive of the NHS between 1998 and 2000. Jennifer has undertaken research and written widely on health care reform both in the UK and internationally.

Oliver Coppard

Oliver Coppard

Oliver Coppard

Born and raised in the region, Oliver took office as Mayor in May 2022. He was elected on a platform of restoring the pride, purpose and prosperity of South Yorkshire.

After graduating from Leeds University, Oliver began his career at Barnsley Council working on low carbon regeneration projects. Since then, he’s worked in Parliament, in the US Congress and with the charity BookTrust. He was Chair of the Board at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union and has worked on high-profile political campaigns within the region and abroad.

Salma Yasmeen

Salma Yasmeen

Salma Yasmeen

Salma was Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Strategy and Change at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. She has recently been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust.

From her time in health and care systems, Salma brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. She has vast experience of leading innovation and change in organisations and across systems with people at the centre.

Salma is passionate about public services and the role that they play in addressing inequalities. She believes in their role enabling every person to live a safe, connected, meaningful and healthy life.

Salma is also an advisory Board member at the Huddersfield University Business School and Thirteen Housing group.

Dr. Sue Pember CBE 

Dr. Sue Pember CBE

Dr. Sue Pember CBE

Sue started her career as a teacher and has held senior leadership roles in colleges, local authorities and government. Sue started her career in teaching and believes that grounding still underpins everything she does.

Sue is now the Policy Director for HOLEX, the professional body for adult education services, centres and institutions. Her work concentrates on ensuring the voice of adult learners is heard and she is a keen advocate of lifelong learning. Sue's role includes building up an evidence base on why Lifelong Learning is vital to this country’s prosperity.

Torsten Bell

Torsten Bell

Torsten Bell

Torsten is the Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation. He has a background in economic policy. Currently, his research focus is on how to renew the UK’s economic strategy to raise growth and reduce inequality. Before leading the Resolution Foundation, Torsten worked in HM Treasury, as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers during the financial crisis. He also worked as the Director of Policy for the Labour Party.

Torsten is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, school governor, and trustee of the Child Poverty Action Group. He is an Honorary Professor at the UCL Policy Lab.

Valerie Hannon

Valerie Hannon

Valerie Hannon

Valerie is the co-founder of Innovation Unit, and the Global Education Leaders Partnership. In the past, Valerie has been a secondary teacher and researcher as well as the Director of Education for Derbyshire County Council. Since then, she's been an adviser in the UK Department for Education (DfE). Now, Valerie works independently to support change programs across the world.

As a regular keynote speaker and facilitator at international conferences and workshops, Valerie draws upon her substantial research and collaborative publications.

 

Learn more about our recent milestones

Celebrating the launch of the Pathways to Work Commission

Monday 3 July marked the official launch of the new, independent Pathways to Work Commission.

Commissioners were welcomed to Barnsley, meeting the Leader of the Council and our Barnsley 2030 Board. In the morning, the focus was on setting the direction of the project. In the afternoon, Commissioners enjoyed meeting and listening to the experiences of a diverse mix of adult learners at Wellington House. They also met with local businesses and educators to hear about recruitment challenges and to discuss how to build more inclusive workplaces.

There was real energy and excitement from everyone involved. Commissioners are ambitious to support Barnsley in building more accessible pathways into work for all.

Back to Barnsley for session two

On Monday 24 July, Barnsley’s Pathways to Work Commission were back together after the launch in July. With a range of statistical and evidence sessions, their focus was to build an understanding of their data and hear from local practitioners and national experts. This included insight from the Resolution Foundation, the Learning and Work Institute, The Health Foundation, and Professor Fothergill from Sheffield Hallam University (CRESR).

It was great to bring together representatives from the voluntary sector, physical and mental healthcare providers, support services for young people and a childcare provider to share their experience and expertise.

The commission meets with partners in session three

Employment support programmes and initiatives are key to creating good pathways to work. On Thursday 21 September, we welcomed the commission back to Barnsley. Together, the members reviewed the support residents have access to. With guest speakers, they explored national and international best practice.

With a vision to be even better, the commission heard about experiences and insights from partners. This included:

  • APM Human Services
  • the Institute for Employment Studies
  • the Learning and Work Institute
  • Working Win
  • Resurgo Spear
  • Return to Work Carers Project

Employment support is especially helpful for people who want to work but face multiple barriers. Good support is proactive and tailored to individuals.

The commission will continue to identify opportunities for Barnsley. They've a particular interest in how we can lead the way with innovative approaches.

The commission collaborates with businesses in session four

On Wednesday 29 November, the Pathways to Work Commission gathered at the EVRI Hub to meet with a range of businesses of different sizes that operate in the borough. Together with local businesses, they set out to explore ways to enhance job opportunities for Barnsley residents.

The heart of the conversation revolved around how employers could create excellent work opportunities and implement best practices within the borough. Commissioners and employers discussed the different types of support that would enable people with barriers to access inclusive opportunities.

This included exploring the impact of flexibility, balancing caregiving responsibilities, and how supporting health and wellbeing can make a positive difference. The Commission's session aimed not only to acknowledge existing practices but also to identify different ways of working to benefit Barnsley residents. They heard from various contributors including the Federation of Small Businesses and the Centre for Decent Work.

Speaking to residents

The Pathways to Work Commission are keen to learn from Barnsley residents who have experienced barriers to accessing work.

We’ve partnered with Kada Research, a Sheffield-based company, to understand the challenges people are facing. Through November 2023 to January 2024, they’re helping us talk to people who find it challenging to benefit from learning and work. The Barnsley residents that have shared their experiences are helping to shape new possibilities.

The commission talks policy at session five

The fifth session of the commission took place on Friday 8 December. It focused on policy, particularly the role of national government and devolution. The guests were:

  • a former Department for Work and Pensions Permanent Secretary
  • a former Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions
  • a speaker from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an anti-poverty think tank
  • two speakers from the Local Government Association

The speakers gave insight into some of the initiatives that have taken place across the country. It looked at some examples of what has worked well, and what could have been improved. They also gave suggestions on where changes could have an impact in the future.

All the contributions the commission has received in the first six months have helped to shape the direction of travel. It has given the commission plenty to think about going into the festive period, with further updates expected in the first couple of months of the new year.

Health is on the agenda at session six

On Thursday 1 February, the sixth meeting of the Pathways to Work Commission took place. The session focused on health in the borough and the wider South Yorkshire region. It explored how health impacts the ability to remain in work.

We heard from organisations that support people with physical and mental health conditions. They provided insight into the successes of their services and how they help people to access and stay in work. Leading health officials discussed how we could make a real difference for people that need support.

Finally, Professor Dame Carol Black shared health information over the last two decades. It was great for Commissioners to hear from an expert in the field and their recommendations.

Telephone interviews 

We're working with IFF Research to hear from people in South Yorkshire. In March 2024, IFF Research will be contacting South Yorkshire residents asking them to take part in a telephone interview.

Your feedback can help us to understand how people in South Yorkshire could be better supported to access work.

If you receive a call inviting you to take part, you can choose if you'd like to share your views. You can ask IFF Research to send you more information about the interviews and how your information will be used.

 

More information

Please email pathwaystowork@barnsley.gov.uk if you require more information.