Simon works to create a world where everyone is an equal and where we respect and value the diversity of humanity. Simon is a Christian and a socialist who believes that we must work together to ensure everyone can develop and share their unique gifts. Simon's early work focused primarily on how to shift power towards people with learning disabilities and their families. His later work has focused on how social and political systems must change so that everyone can be a full and active citizen.He is a regular public speaker and has been government policy advisor, both nationally and internationally. His awards include the RSA’s Prince Albert Medal and the Social Policy Association’s award for outstanding contribution in social policy. Simon also has a doctorate in moral philosophy and his thesis argued for moral objectivity and a theory he calls Kantian Intuitionism. Simon has also been an active critic of austerity and has support multiple campaigns to challenge the assault on the welfare state that began in the 1970s, but which has accelerated since the 2008 banking crash.
Simon began working for the NHS as a General Management trainee in 1988. He worked at Southwark Consortium (now Choice Support), in London in the early 1990s and was awarded a Harkness Fellowship for his early work on individualised funding. He went on to found Inclusion Glasgow in 1996, and helped to create several other organisations in Scotland, including Altrum, Values Into Action Scotland and Partners for Inclusion. In 1999 he began work to design systems of self-directed support for local authorities. From 2003 to 2009 he led the development of personal budgets in England as CEO of In Control. Since then he has also been policy advisor to the Campaign for a Fair Society, Chair of the Housing & Support Alliance and coordinator of Learning Disability Alliance England (now merged into Learning Disability England).In 2009 Simon founded the Centre for Welfare Reform as an independent think tank committed to equality and social justice. In 2016 he co-founded Citizen Network which is a growing global cooperative and social movement to advance citizenship for all. In 2017 he co-founded UBI Lab Sheffield and has been very active in the global movement for a basic income for all.
Simon writes on a wide range of topics from the practical to the philosophical. Key publications include Unlocking the Imagination (1996), Keys to Citizenship (2003) Women at the Centre (2011) A Fair Income (2011) Peer Power (2012) and The Unmaking of Man (2013).
Simon is a proud citizen of Sheffield, where he lives with his wife Nicola and their son Jacob. When he gets any free time he likes to be with his family, to try and read Latin and Greek, to windsurf, walk, ski, cycle and work in the garden.
1986 – Philosophy Scholarship to Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
1994 – Harkness Fellowship to University of Colorado
2001 – PhD in Moral Theory at Edinburgh University
2006 – Honorary Senior Research Fellowship at University of Birmingham
2008 – Prince Albert Medal from the RSA
2011 – Jack Tizard Lecturer at the University of Kent
2011 – Social Policy Association’s Award for Outstanding Contribution
2014 – Sir Keith Wilson Oration: Australian Association of Gerontology Conference
2020 – Norah Fry Annual Lecture
2020 – Centre for Wellbeing in Public Policy Annual Lecture