The primary aim of Citizens UK (which was launched in 1989) is to locate a much stronger and better organised civil society at the heart of UK governance and public life. Two of our strap lines are – ‘reweaving the fabric of society’ and ‘putting democracy into action’. Citizens UK now has a budget of nearly £4m and staff team of 70; 45 of whom are professional Community Organisers.
Below are the profiles of the Executive Management and Senior Leadership Team.
Executive Staff Team
The Executive Director has overall responsibility for the day to day management of the work of the company. He shares this responsibility with other senior staff who form a staff Executive. There is also a Senior Management Team which allows an opportunity for line managers to meet regularly and review performance.
Neil is first and foremost a Community Organiser – seeking talented leaders and young Organisers who have the courage and commitment to work with others democratically to strengthen civil society and pursue the common good.
Neil has been named by The Guardian as one of the UK’s most significant public servants. In 2012 his work for civil society and East London was recognised when he was made an Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary London University. In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by The Open University. He was awarded a CBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours List for ‘services to community organising and social justice’.
He has travelled extensively and worked in the USA and Sudan on civil society projects. Prior to founding Citizens UK, he had worked for 20 years in the public and voluntary sector – with Somerset and Coventry Local Authority – and Save the Children and The Childrens Society in the UK.
Neil has been a member of The Society of Friends for 30 years and attends Westminster Meeting, a member of West London Citizens. He has been a Trustee of London West Area Meeting and also a School Governor at his children's' schools. He has been a Governor for 15 years at Stepney Green Boys School. He was a member of the External Affairs Council of Barts NHS Trust. He enjoys tennis, theatre and family life.
Neil seeks a legacy of a much stronger, more powerful and better organised civil society sector in the UK, but knows that this will not just happen. It needs sophisticated and creative Citizens UK Organisers and leaders who see their primary role as Institution Builders. It also requires enlightened funders and friends who are prepared to invest in civil society as the First Sector whose core institutions are the pillars of a democratic society where people learn the art of politics and the necessity of working with others and pursuing the common good.
You can contact Neil here.
Jonathan Cox; Deputy Director of Citizens UK and Lead Organiser for Citizens Cymru Wales
Jonathan began his organising career as Co-ordinator for the Independent Asylum Commission, which culminated in a nationwide campaign to end the detention of children for immigration purposes.
Alongside UK-wide work on migration, he has built alliances in Wandsworth and most recently in Wales, where he now lives with his wife and two children.
Jonathan holds a BA in History and Politics from the University of Durham and an MA in Community Organising from Queen Mary, University of London, where he co-led a Postgraduate Certificate in Community Organising course. He is an Associate Lecturer at Newman University, Birmingham, who now accredit Citizens UK’s training.
Jonathan previously worked in Westminster as a Researcher to an MP and Government Minister, and then as Parliamentary Officer for a leading refugee charity.
You can contact Jonathan here.
Matthew Bolton; Deputy Director of Citizens UK and Lead Organiser for London Citizens
Matthew Bolton has 11 years experience at Citizens UK, supporting its growth from an organisation of 4 staff and 60 member organisations to an organisation of 65 staff and 350 member organisations. He led the Living Wage campaign between 2008 and 2014, including setting up the Living Wage Foundation, which has now accredited 2,500 Living Wage Employers. Matthew built North London Citizens and Leeds Citizens and now coaches Organisers in London, Leeds, Nottingham and Milton Keynes.
As Lead Organiser for London Citizens, he supervises a team of 18 Organisers and organised the London Mayoral Accountability Assembly 2016, which with 6,000 people in attendance is the largest event of its kind in recent history both in the UK and internationally. Matthew is a Trustee of the London Community Land Trust affordable housing provider. He lives with his wife and young son in South London and is a black-belt in Wu Shu Kwan Chinese Boxing and an Advanced PADI scuba diver. He’s also a long-suffering Spurs fan.
You can contact Matthew here.