Simon Duffy

Simon Duffy

Simon is an activist working for a world where everyone matters. Over the past 30 years he has been involved in many practical projects to help people with intellectual disabilities take their place as full citizens. He began his working in London in 1990 to help people leave institutions and to obtain more control over the support they received. In 1994 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship and was based at the JFK Center (Colorado). This work led to his book The Unmaking of Man on the links between the Holocaust and the growth of the institution.

In 1996, Simon founded Inclusion Glasgow to provide individualised support to people with complex disabilities. He pioneered a new approach where every individual and family were supported to design their own support, in their own home, with their own budget and as active contributors to their community. In 2002 Simon moved to Sheffield and he began work on reforming the entire system of social care, encouraging local and central government to adopt the principles of self-directed support where everyone controls their own support. Simon was awarded the RSA's Prince Albert Medal in 2008 and the Social Policy Association Award for outstanding contribution to social policy in 2011.

In 2009, Simon and his wife, Nicola, founded the Centre for Welfare Reform, later renamed the Citizen Network Research. Its goal is to encourage positive improvements in the welfare state and to support others to create positive innovations in the community. Simon has also been very active in campaigning against austerity and attacks on the welfare state.

Since the 2016 founding of Citizen Network, Simon’s work has focused more on growing new forms of action to create the world we need in the face of climate breakdown and species extinction. He co-founded the UBI Lab Network, which advocates for economic security in the form of a guaranteed basic income for all. He also co-founded the Neighbourhood Democracy Movement, which advocates for meaningful democratic action in every community. Simon continues to work on developing self-directed support and challenging institutionalisation, and currently serves as advisor to the Pan-European UNIC project and to Plena Inclusión. 

Today, Simon is President of Citizen Network as well as its Research Director. Simon has a doctorate in philosophy and writes about theology, ethics and social justice. He is a proud citizen of Sheffield and loves to spend time with Nicola in the garden and the countryside.