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Families, Welfare and Work policy research team

Policy work by the team

Includes welfareworkpensions and housing.

Kayley Hignell, Head of Policy - Families Welfare and Work

As Head of Policy for Families, Welfare and Work Kayley leads an agenda of policy research on issues ranging from the improving job and income security, job design, reducing the health and disability employment gap, and improving the design and administration of welfare systems.

She is particularly interested in exploring how big picture policy expertise can be combined with insight from the design and implementation of policies to improve outcomes.

Kayley has worked in the Families, Welfare and Work team for the past three years working on a number of topics including insecure jobs, childcare and Universal Credit. Prior to joining the the team Kayley worked at Citizens Advice Leeds for five years in a number of roles including working with families, those with mental health conditions and on local research and campaigns. She has also spent time on secondment at the Department of Work and Pensions where she worked to bring frontline experience into the design of Universal Credit.

Read Kayley's blogs.

Morgan Wild, Interim Head of Policy

Morgan joined Citizens Advice in 2015, and leads our agenda of policy research and advocacy on welfare and labour market reform. Prior to joining the team in 2020, he managed our consumer research programme.

Before joining Citizens Advice, he worked as a social research consultant at the Office for Public Management on a range of public and private sector projects. He holds an MA in Political Economy and a BA in Philosophy.

Minesh Patel, Principal Policy Manager

Minesh oversees the team's various projects across families, welfare and employment policy.  
 
Prior to joining Citizens Advice, he worked at the disability charity Scope for 4.5 years. Minesh led influencing activity to tackle disability unemployment and drive down the extra costs faced by disabled people, securing a number of changes to policies and practice across government and business.

Lindsey Kearton, Senior Policy Officer Wales

Lindsey joined the Families, Welfare and Work team in January 2018, having previously worked in the Wales Policy and Campaigns team for over four years where she lead programmes of work on benefits and financial inclusion. She is currently engaged in our programme of work on Universal Credit and working claimants.

Prior to joining Citizens Advice she worked as a Policy Manager for Consumer Focus Wales. 

Charles Smith, Senior Policy Researcher

Charles works primarily on disability benefits and employment.

Charles came to Families Welfare and Work from the Post and Telecoms team, where he specialised in Mobile and Broadband issues. Prior to joining Citizens Advice Charles completed a PHD in contemporary political history, as well as working in a variety of roles in the political, charity and library sectors.

Karen Barker, Senior Policy Researcher

Karen focuses primarily on Universal Credit policy.

Karen started her career working in front-line service roles in charities supporting people experiencing homelessness in the USA and UK. She has an MSc in Policy and Planning from London School of Economics. Karen joined Citizens Advice from British Red Cross. Prior to that she had worked for the New Policy Institute and nfpSynergy.

Oliver Crunden, Policy Researcher

Oliver joined the team in March 2020, and currently works on Universal Credit. Previously, he worked at Learning and Work Institute where he designed and delivered mixed-methods research projects focusing on employment and adult education policy. Oliver is interested in how work and the benefits system are experienced by people and act on living standards.

Sarah McCloskey, Policy Researcher

Sarah joined the Families, Welfare and Work team in 2020 and primarily works on employment policy. Before joining Citizens Advice, she worked in the advice sector as a student adviser and as a legal research assistant. Prior to that, she volunteered at a local Citizens Advice office as a Financial Capability Support Volunteer and on a pro bono initiative focused on overturning wrongful convictions. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice.

Bex Stinson, Policy Research Assistant

Bex joined Citizens Advice in 2019 and works primarily on Universal Credit issues. She is particularly interested in welfare, disability and equality policy areas. Prior to joining Citizens Advice, Bex worked in the charity sector focusing on LGBT and Queer policy and campaigns, and was a barrister.

Sam Fennell, Policy Research Assistant

Sam joined us in December 2019 and is primarily focused on our disability benefits work and supporting the wider Citizens Advice research and campaigns network. Before coming to the team, Sam was a Help to Claim adviser at a local office - giving advice and support to new Universal Credit claimants. Prior to that, Sam worked for a Leeds-based charity where he provided energy efficiency and money-saving advice to households at risk of, or experiencing, fuel poverty.