Matthew served as head of the No.10 Policy Unit before taking over the helm at the vibrant 250 year -old institution – founded ‘for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.’ True to its founding principles, Matthew explores the idea of a 21st Century Enlightenment centred on freedom, fairness and progress: “How can we achieve vital economic growth, yet challenge old assumptions and develop our innate capacity for empathy and social purpose?” A question that may have informed his authorship of the Employment Practices in the Modern Economy review into workers’ rights and the gig economy.
Matthew Taylor is Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA - formerly the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). He was previously General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Britian’s leading think tank. Prior to that he was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to Tony Blair during his tenure at No.10.
As Director of Policy for The Labour Party, Matthew played an integral part in the campaign that led to Labour’s 1997 landslide. During the campaign, Matthew and his team worked to create a party prepared to address negative preconceptions and to define a future strategy. He also helped lead root-and-branch change in the party and its structure, from marketing communications to identifying key issues amongst the electorate. He was at the forefront of New Labour’s drive to deliver its manifesto.
In over a decade heading the RSA, Matthew has steered the 250-year-old organisation to new successes with more research and innovation, new routes to support the initiatives of its 28,000 Fellows (including crowdfunding), and has established a global platform for their ideas.
After studying sociology Matthew completed his Masters in industrial relations and was employed by a teachers’ union. He was elected to Warwickshire County Council serving as chair for the schools committee. After a time as Director of a health policy research unit, he was employed as a research fellow at Warwick Business School’s Local Government Centre, where his research covered the effect of European integration on public services and the strategic management of political change in local government.
In a rare example of cross-party work, Matthew was appointed by Theresa May to lead a review in to UK workers’ rights with particular reference to the gig economy and zero-hours contracts. A regular media commentator on issues around policy, politics, and public service reform, Matthew frequently appears on Newsnight, The Daily Politics, and Radio 4’s Today and The Moral Maze as well as writing for the Guardian and the Local Government Chronicle.
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