Press release: Helen Stephenson CBE will be the next chief executive of the Charity Commission

Helen Stephenson, who has been Director of Early Years and Childcare at the Department for Education since 2014, will join the Commission on 18 July. She succeeds Paula Sussex in the role.

Helen has extensive experience of senior leadership across the public and voluntary sectors, having previously served as Director and Deputy Director of the Office for Civil Society, and has filled senior roles at the Big Lottery Fund and the Shaftesbury Society. She has also, until recently, been chair and trustee of the National Childbirth Trust, and was part of the Advisory Council of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

In her current role, Helen leads a large team in delivering and implementing a multi-million pound childcare programme, and was responsible for taking the Childcare Act through Parliament. At the Cabinet Office, Helen’s responsibilities included delivering government policy on charities, social action and volunteering, social investment and the National Citizens Service.

Helen Stephenson said:

The charitable sector plays a crucial role in our national life and I am delighted to be joining the Charity Commission at this important time. It is an honour to be leading the dedicated and talented team at the Commission and Paula is handing over an organisation that is in excellent shape, well equipped to meet the challenges of the future. I look forward to working with the Commission’s staff to continue the ambitious plans we have set.

William Shawcross, Chairman of the Charity Commission, said:

It is wonderful that Helen is joining us. The board and I are confident that she will be an outstanding leader and will build on the progress we have made in recent years. I know our excellent staff will give Helen a warm welcome and I look forward to working with her.

Helen Stephenson – career

2014-2017 Director of Early Years and Childcare, Department for Education

2011-2014 Director, Office for Civil Society and Government innovation Group

2007-2011 Deputy Director, Office for Civil Society, Cabinet Office

2004-2007 Head of Strategic Policy and Partnerships, the Big Lottery Fund

2001-2004 Senior Policy Advisor, New Opportunities Fund/ Big Lottery Fund

Helen Stephenson – voluntary experience

2014-2017 NCVO Advisory Council

2015-2017 Trustee and Chair, National Childbirth Trust

2013-2017 Board Member, Big Society Trust


2014 – CBE for services to Civil Society in the Birthday Honours list


PR 41/17

Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
  2. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  3. Search for charities on our online register.

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