Introducing the Fairness Commissioners

Chair of the Commision: Dr Giles Fraser

Giles Fraser is a priest and journalist, currently serving as Priest-in-Charge of St Mary, Newington near the Elephant and Castle.

Before that he was the Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral and director of the St Paul's Institute, responsible for the cathedral's engagement with the City of London and the relationship between ethics and modern finance. He resigned from St Paul's in October 2011 following the resolve of the Cathedral Chapter to evict the Occupy protestors by force.

His academic training is in philosophy, gaining a PhD in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, and going on to be a lecturer in Philosophy at Wadham College, University of Oxford. His general interest is in ethics and aesthetics and he currently is a regular lecturer on moral leadership to soldiers at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham.

He has written widely as a journalist in diverse publications such as The Socialist Worker, the Daily Mail and the Church Times, and currently writes the weekly Loose Canon column for the Guardian. He is also a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day, Moral Maze and Saturday Review.


Abdul-Hayee Murshad

Abdul-Hayee Murshad is a Headteacher and has a Doctorate in literacy and school improvement from the Institute of Education, University of London. He has experience of working in education both at local and national levels.

He has worked as an advisory teacher, and is in his second Headship in Tower Hamlets. He is a lead Ofsted Inspector with HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector) experience. During a secondment to Ofsted, Abdul-Hayee inspected and supported provisions for 3 to 19 years in more than a dozen Local Authorities in the Southern region of England. He was a member of the Advisory Committee for the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum carried out by Sir Jim Rose. He was an Associate Headteacher Trainer with the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority (QCDA) which involved working in different parts of the country on issues linked to the curriculum. He was a judge for the Junior Aventis Science Prize organized by the Royal Society.

As an accredited School Improvement Partner (SIP) he worked in a number of Local Authorities, and continues to support schools as an external advisor. Prior to teaching, Abdul-Hayee did a number of other jobs including youth and community work in Tower Hamlets. He is involved with a number of community organisations that aim to improve links between home and school, and raise educational aspiration of children and young people.

Born in Bangladesh, he immigrated to the UK with his family in 1975. He attended a primary school in Tower Hamlets and then returned to Bangladesh for secondary education. He received his further and higher education in the UK. Abdul-Hayee has lived and worked in the borough for more than 30 years. He is married with four children. All of his children attended schools in Tower Hamlets.

Rt Revd Adrian Newman

Adrian was born in Watford and survived. The youngest of 6 children, he worked as an economist before ordination in 1985. He served parish communities in East London, Sheffield, and central Birmingham (the Bullring) before being appointed Dean of Rochester in 2005. In 2011, he became Bishop of Stepney, serving an area covering the 3 London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington.

He describes himself as a social entrepreneur, committed to human flourishing and the re-enchantment of society. He was once introduced as ‘the most un-Dean-like Dean in the Church of England’ - a description he quite liked at the time. He is currently intent on being a most un-Bishop-like Bishop........... 

Adrian is married to Gill, with 3 grown up sons and a mad black Labrador. He loves all forms of sport, and exercises regularly to try and stay fit. He is still the only Dean to have run the London Marathon and cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats. He is a great fan of U2, Bruce Springsteen and the folk group Show of Hands.

Andy Brent

Customer and Marketing Director, UK Retail and Business Banking, Barclays

I’ve spent most of my career in senior marketing roles with big consumer-facing organisations: 13 years at Procter & Gamble, including running one of their 3 UK divisions; 6 years working in pan-Asian roles for Hutchison Whampoa, based in Hong Kong; CMO roles for Burger King, Boots and for BSkyB. Additionally, I’ve spent 2 years running a small start-up business: ‘GreenBottle’ which manufactures environmentally-friendly packaging for liquid consumer products.

Key achievements have been: quadrupling profits in 3 years leading the Home Cleaning & Care Division of Procter & Gamble; turn-around in sales and profits of pan-Asian Health & Beauty retailer; driving Burger King globally, including market entries in China, Brazil & Korea; sales/profit turn-around at Boots The Chemist behind consumer-led brand repositioning.

The common thread linking all of my senior roles has been helping businesses position themselves in a way that enables them to play a genuinely positive role in their customer’s lives. That’s how great Brand Engagement is built, and is what we aspire to achieve at Barclays.

Graham Fisher

Graham is the Chief Executive of Toynbee Hall, an innovative multi-purpose social welfare charity that provides a range of services aiming to eradicate poverty and disadvantage for communities in the City and Tower Hamlets, and across East London. By learning from local action Toynbee Hall influences national policy on financial inclusion, advice and legal services and social justice. Toynbee Hall provides housing and workspaces and runs a successful venue hire and conference centre social enterprise.

Prior to joining Toynbee Hall, Graham was the Chief Executive of MLA London, the strategic regional development agency for museums, libraries and archives. He led MLA London over a 4 year period initiating basic skills programmes, tourism development, knowledge transfer and sector capacity building programmes. Before joining MLA London, Graham was the Director of London Libraries Development Agency, the strategic development agency for public libraries in London.

Graham’s earlier career was in the advice and legal services sector. He spent nearly 3 years at the Legal Services Commission leading the team establishing the Community Legal Service in London. Prior to this he was the London Regional Director of Advice UK. Graham has also worked in local government managing Welfare Rights services, for the Citizens Advice Service and in adult education.

Graham is presently the Chair of Cardboard Citizens, a unique theatre company working with homeless people. He has held numerous trusteeships in the voluntary sector.

Lindsay Mackie

Lindsay Mackie was trained as a journalist and worked on The Guardian. She now works with the new economics foundation as a campaigns consultant and has contributed to programmes on local economies, banking reform and the need for a publicly owned Peoples Bank at the Post Office. She became Director of the Diana Princess of Wales Award for Young People at its inception, and expanded and strengthened the Award which now has over 30,000 award holders. She was a co- founder of FilmClub, the charity which takes free films into over 7,000 schools, and she is a Trustee of EnglishPen the writers organization.

Liz Bingham

Ernst & Young, Managing Partner - People UK & Ireland

Liz is a Corporate Finance partner specialising in advising some of EY’s largest global clients to restructure to take advantage of a changing business world.

Liz is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusiveness and for all 26 years of her career at EY, has been determined to create an environment where people from all backgrounds can succeed and flourish. In July 2011, Liz was appointed as Managing Partner for People and under her stewardship EY achieved first place in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, and Liz was featured as one of 16 global role models selected by Stonewall to participate in their recent research.

2012 has been quite a year so far for Liz as she was awarded the Women in Banking & Finance Award for Achievement, as well as being listed as No 31 in the World Pride Power list.

Liz continues to work with organisations such as Stonewall to deliver impactful programmes that encourage others to realise their potential.

K M  Abu Taher Choudhury

Abu Taher Choudhury is Chief Editor of the weekly Bangla Post newspaper and Editor of the weekly London Bangla. He is also chairman of the advisory Board of the English Weekly Bangla Mirror and a presenter on Channel S TV.

He is president of the Bangladesh Journalist Association UK, Renaissance Sahitya Mojlish UK (a literary organisation), and Cancer Patients Poor Help Fund UK. As well as Secretary of the Voice for Justice UK, a patron of the Greater Sylhet Development & Welfare Council UK and Vice President of the Goreeb & Eateem Trust Fund UK.

This is in addition to being a member of the Amnesty International-Stop the War Coalition, Area Residence Board of the T. H. Community Housing and Bangladeshi Teachers Association UK. Abu Taher is also Chief Advisor of the Road Safety Campaign, Aid & Care Trust, International Human Aid, International Social Welfare Trust, and Convenor of Save the Environment Movement. He is also the General Secretary of the Wodeham, Castlemain & T. L. Tennant’s Association.

Due to his outstanding service to the community Abu Taher has received many awards in the past. He has been a recipient of the civic Award from Tower Hamlets Council, Channel S Award from the Channel S TV. He has also won a Best Community Leadership Award from the Black Ethnic Minority Community in UK, as well as a British Bangladeshi Who’s Who Award and other awards from Bangladesh and America.

Abu Taher has been living in Tower Hamlets for 28 years.

Mike Smith

Mike is CEO of Real, a user-led organisation of disabled people based in Tower Hamlets, which provides information, advice, advocacy and other services to support local disabled people to participate equally within society, overcome discrimination and achieve their human rights.

Prior to this he worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for 19 years, qualifying as a chartered accountant and specialising in company tax advice. After working in Risk Management his most recent role was Director of Policy.

Mike was appointed a Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in December 2009 and has chaired its statutory Disability Committee since. In 2009 Mike chaired the oral evidence panel for the EHRC’s formal inquiry into sex discrimination and the gender pay gap in the financial services sector. Mike also led the EHRC's recent formal inquiry into disability-related harassment. The inquiry’s groundbreaking report, “Hidden in Plain Sight”, was published on 12 September 2011, with the follow-up report "Out in the Open" published on 22 October 2012.

Mike has been involved in equality and diversity organisations for the last 10 years, starting off with his involvement in the disability movement in Tower Hamlets. He currently is a board member of Disability Rights UK, a member of the Government's Independent Hate Crime Advisory Group, and a member of the Ministerial advisory group on equality in mental health. He also contributed to the reference group for the Commission on Funding of Care and Support (the Dilnot review).

Mike was previously Chair of the National Centre for Independent Living (2005 to 2011) and a former member of the board of Stonewall (2006 to 2010), the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity.

Muhammad Habibur Rahman

Muhammad Habibur Rahman is deputy head of the Quality Enhancement Unit at London Metropolitan University. He has played an active role in community engagement at both local and national levels, and has led a Pan European community organisation for a number of years.

Muhammad Habibur has been a volunteer and official at the East London Mosque for over 25 years, and is currently the vice-chairman. In the past, he has served in the central working committee of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and was an independent member of the Tower Hamlets Standards Committee, where he served for a period as the vice chair.

Mustafa Ibrahim

Mustafa is currently the Director of Tower Hamlets Somali Organisation Network (THSON) which is an umbrella organisation that serves Somali-led groups within Tower Hamlets. His role is to lead, facilitate, capacity build, support infrastructure and enable collaborations between Somali community based organisations and Somali community service providers in Tower Hamlets.

His commitment to the voluntary sector is demonstrated by 10 years work experience in this field, and a proven track record of operating in senior management roles since October 2002. In addition, these roles have involved working with professionals across all sectors at a strategic level.

His other responsibilities include developing policies and plans to guide Tower Hamlets Council’s interface with the community groups, in accordance with the Council’s strategic direction and policy frameworks.

Rys Farthing

Rys works at the Child Poverty Action Group as a Senior Policy and Research Officer. While her background is in analysing large scale research survey data, her research also focuses on giving voice to lower income families and children in particular. She has extensive experience working in participatory ways with children and young people, often on setting policy agendas or addressing human rights issues. Outside of CPAG, she is completing her DPhil at Oxford University by working with young people in deprived neighbourhoods to develop their own Child Poverty Strategies. Previously, she has worked at universities in both the UK and Australia teaching and researching human rights and public policy.

Outside of work Rys likes cooking for friends (Kim Chi pancake is her speciality), dog racing and gardening.

Steve Turner

Steve is the Director of Executive Policy at Unite the Union where he is responsible for the development and delivery of the Union’s industrial, social and economic strategy. He also has responsibility for the Union’s developing Community Membership, providing a home and voice for those most vulnerable within our society, alongside others not in paid employment within the Union.

Prior to this appointment in 2011, Steve had national industrial responsibilities for the Union’s aviation, road transport and dock workers sectors.

He sits on the management and executive boards of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the Executive Committee and General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Steve is 49, has a partner Paula with whom he has three children and lives in London, where he was born and started his working and union life as a bus conductor for London Transport. He is a lifelong supporter and season ticket holder of Millwall Football Club.

Sufia Alam

Sufia Alam is an experienced voluntary sector director, who started working at Wapping Women’s Centre as a volunteer in 1997. During her time there she has worked with the predominantly Bangladeshi women who live in the nearby Berner Estate, by engaging them in activities designed to give them valuable skills and work opportunities. In addition to setting up a crèche and community garden, she has established a young girls group, provides ESOL classes and has renovated the centre’s kitchen for her social enterprise catering company, Healthy Chula. This employs four local women and successfully caters for local non-profit and corporate organisations. From an annual turnover of £3000 in 1997,Sufia has consistently and successfully raised funds to develop new activities, and was key to securing a £250,000 refurbishment grant which allowed the centre to expand and consolidate its place in the community.

In 2009, Sufia managed the merger of her organisation with another local charity, the Jagonari Women’s Centre. As well as her paid-for work, Sufia has been a volunteer since her student days and is currently Chair of the Muslim Women’s Collective, which was established with the support of the local authority in 2007. Her passion for the community in Tower Hamlets is matched only by her passion for her 3 beautiful daughters, her family and her friends.