|Born||Ben Jeffrey Peter Summerskill
6 October 1961 (age 52)
|Residence||London, England, UK|
|Education||Cobden Road Infants School
Amherst County Primary School
|Alma mater||Merton College, Oxford|
|Title||Chief Executive of Stonewall
|Predecessor||Angela Mason (1992–2002)|
Ben Jeffrey Peter Summerskill OBE (born 6 October 1961, Kent) is the Chief Executive of the UK-based lesbian, gay and bisexual equality organisation Stonewall, now the largest gay equality body in Europe. He has a lesbian twin sister, Clare, who is a performer. He has also worked as a businessman and journalist.
Summerskill was educated at Cobden Road Infants School, Amherst County Primary School, Sevenoaks School, where he held a scholarship, and Merton College, Oxford, where he was an Exhibitioner (holder of a junior scholarship) but which he left after two years without taking a degree. He later wrote in The Guardian: "I still recall being struck dumb on being shown, as an undergraduate, a note from an Oxford tutor to a successful candidate's father: 'Many thanks for lunch, and the trip in the Rolls.'"
His first career was in the restaurant trade. He was Operations Director from 1987 to 1990 with Kennedy Brookes, by then a publicly quoted hospitality company, responsible for 300 staff and an £18m turnover at the age of 26. Becoming a journalist in 1990, he rose to the position of Assistant Editor of The Observer newspaper which he joined in 2000 after having worked with Peter Hitchens and Peter Oborne as Media Editor for Daily Express editor Rosie Boycott, and the London Evening Standard under editor and mentor Max Hastings, who like him had left Oxford University after two years, and other magazines. Summerskill was a Labour councillor for the Westbourne Ward of Westminster City Council from 1994 to 1998.
As Chief Executive of Stonewall, he succeeded Director Angela Mason in early 2003, expanding its work from parliamentary lobbying into other fields including workplace equality and campaigning against homophobia in schools. He led successful campaigns for the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, the introduction of Civil Partnership for lesbian and gay people in the UK and the introduction in 2007 of protections against discrimination in the provision of "goods and services", covering areas from healthcare and housing to hotels and holidays. He also led a successful parliamentary campaign in 2007-2008 for introduction of a criminal offence of incitement to homophobic hatred and a campaign in 2009-2010 to enable gay people to celebrate civil partnerships in religious premises. He also restored Stonewall to financial good health after a number of very precarious years. (Its turnover was £1.3m in 2003, during which it ran a deficit of £117,000, and £3.8m in 2010, with staff numbers rising from 21 to 60.)
Under his direction, Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme, promoting good practice among major UK employers, has grown from 35 to 600 members, employing 5.5 million people between them, ranging from IBM and Tesco to all of Britain's armed services and MI5. Stonewall's Education for All programme, launched in 2005 to help tackle homophobic bullying in Britain's schools, is supported by 70 major teaching and children's organisations.
In 2006, Summerskill was appointed a Commissioner on the Britain's new Equality and Human Rights Commission. He had for three years been a member of a Steering Group advising the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on establishing the Commission, which has statutory powers for the first time to promote equality for lesbian and gay people. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours. He was appointed to the committee of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2009. In 2010 he was a finalist as Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2011 he was shortlisted as Britain's Most Admired Charity Chief Executive in the Third Sector Awards.
His paternal grandmother (Baroness) Edith Summerskill and his aunt (Dr) Shirley Summerskill were both Labour Members of Parliament and government ministers. Dr Edith Summerskill, a former Chairman of the UK Labour Party, was an early advocate of Britain's free National Health Service and a vocal campaigner for women's equality. Shirley Summerskill helped introduce the UK's Sex Discrimination Act, as a Home Office minister. His maternal grandfather Sydney Elliott was a newspaper editor of various papers, including the London Evening Standard. In 1944 Elliott became Editorial Advisor at the Daily Mirror, where he masterminded its campaign to support the Labour Party at the 1945 general election.
- "Researcha".[dead link]
- http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/public_sector/article410296.ece. Retrieved 2013-11-01. Missing or empty
- "Clare Summerskill's website". Claresummerskill.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Ben Summerskill "Why would you want to go to public school?" The Guardian, 26 April 2005. Retrieved on 27 May 2010.
- Ben Summerskill "Time to rain on Paxo's parade?", The Guardian, 19 April 2005. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2008.
- "Six sector leaders in contention to be Most Admired Chief Executive". Thirdsector.co.uk. 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Sam Jones and James Sturcke. "New resignation hits Equality and Human Rights Commission | UK news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
|Chief Executive of Stonewall