Andrew McDonald, once the most senior disabled civil servant, has been appointed as Scope’s new Chair.
Andrew, former Chief Executive of Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) was confirmed as Scope’s Chair at the charity’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 18 October.
Andrew replaces Alice Maynard, who has served two terms in charge of the organisation. His appointment reflects Scope’s commitment to have a disabled person leading the organisation.
Video interview with Alice on her six years as Scope’s Chair.
Andrew has been in the civil service for the past twenty years. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007. His experience saw him take the lead on a wide range of changes to improve support for disabled staff.
He has given his time and expertise to the voluntary sector through his roles as a trustee of both Action for Children and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
Speaking at the AGM, Andrew Mcdonald said:
“It is clear to anyone that has anything to do with Scope, that this is an organisation very much in its stride. A huge amount of credit has to go to Alice Maynard. This is a very different organisation to the one she joined in 2008. It’s testament to her leadership. I have a tough act to follow and publicly I would like to pay tribute to Alice's extraordinary achievements as Chair.”
And referring to finding out he was disabled, he added:
“When first diagnosed with Parkinson's, I wanted to get on with my life. But I also wanted to be open with my team. But colleagues advised me not to do so – "because you will be labelled as a disabled civil servant and it will end your career". I was really shocked. I decided I wanted to go ahead all the same because if I didn't, I felt I was making it more difficult for the next person. And if these attitudes persisted in the Civil Service, a relatively liberal and enlightened employer, what were things like elsewhere?”
“That experience left me with the clear conviction that we need to act to make our workplaces more open to discussion of illness and disability. We need them to be safe and supportive environments in which everybody feels their voice will be heard. And we all - disabled or not - have a responsibility to bring that about.”
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of Scope, said:
“This is a big moment for Scope. Alice has done a tremendous job. The organisation is completely different to the one she joined. We are financially strong and we have a clear purpose and strategy. This in turn gives us the platform to be real force for change in society. These are big shoes to fill.
“We are very lucky to have Andrew joining us. He has led work on improving the lot of disabled workers across the civil service, and brings a wealth of professional, strategic expertise to the organisation.
“As a disabled person he brings yet more first-hand experience to the Board, and above all a strong desire to make this country a better place for disabled people.”
Here is an edited version of Andrew’s speech from Scope’s AGM.