Dame Louise Casey DBE CB has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship at Leeds Trinity University today (Wednesday 5 December) for her commitment to social welfare and making a difference to people's lives.
A former Government official, Dame Louise has spent the last 20 years in public service, working for four Prime Ministers and leading major programmes and campaigns on high profile social policy areas in Whitehall.
She was named by BBC Radio 4 as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK and is Executive Chair of the Institute of Global Homelessness. She was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2008 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2016.
On receiving her honorary award at Leeds Trinity University, Dame Louise DBE CB, said:
"I am unbelievably honoured and overwhelmed to be named honorary fellow of Leeds Trinity University. From being part of the University's 50th anniversary year celebrations, meeting students on the only MA Family Support degree course in the country, and being named honorary fellow; I feel very connected with this University, and I am proud to carry this title.
"The journey our graduates take is full of opportunities, but the journeys they choose to take is theirs, and theirs alone. Our graduates are the next generation of social advocates, campaigners and activists. They are the ones who can make this world a better place, and I for one, am looking forward to supporting them, and other graduates, on their journey."
Dame Louise (pictured left with Chancellor Deborah McAndrew, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ray Lloyd and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret House OBE) was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University for her commitment to social welfare, social justice, integration, equality and community cohesion.
Five years after graduating, Dame Louise, aged 27, became Deputy Director of Shelter. She led the change from 52 staff to over 350 and was largely responsible for the creation of Shelterline, the country's first 24-hour telephone helpline for homeless people.
She was head of the Rough Sleepers' Unit (RSU) under Tony Blair, where she successfully reduced the numbers of homeless people living on the streets by two-thirds within a three year period. She was Director of the national Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and head of the Respect Task Force. She became the UK's first Victim's Commissioner, and was appointed by David Cameron as Director of the Troubled Families Programme to challenge repeating cycles of poor parenting, abuse, violence, drug-use, anti-social behaviour, and crime, and to help families to turn their lives around. She undertook the Inspection into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in South Yorkshire, and a review of community cohesion and extremism across the UK, published as the influential Casey Review.
For the last 10 years, Dame Louise has been a Trustee at DePaul International, a global charity working to tackle homelessness worldwide, and since 2014, she has chaired the Institute of Global Homelessness based in Chicago, USA. She left the Department of Communities and Local Government last year and now, alongside her role as Chair of the Institute, is a Visiting Professor at Kings College London, lecturer at the London School of Economics, Trustee of the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation and Patron of the National Citizen Service.
Professor Margaret A House OBE, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, said:
"Dame Louise is passionate, confident and straight talking. She has been named as one of the most powerful women in the UK, and rightly so. I am very proud to welcome Dame Louise to the Leeds Trinity family. Her values align perfectly with those of this institution, and her unwavering commitment to delivering these values and making a difference to people's lives, make her fully deserving of this Honorary Fellowship."
Dame Louise received her award from Deborah McAndrew, Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University. She is one of eight individuals to receive Honorary Fellowships from Leeds Trinity University this year.