This post details the criteria, judging panel and timeline for the inaugural Charles Kennedy Award for Social Justice.  

The Social Liberal Forum launched the Charles Kennedy award for Social Justice at the SLF Conference held a few weeks after his untimely death in 2015. Nominations were officially opened at the subsequent Liberal Democrat Federal conference in Bournemouth in September 2015. 

Nominations will remain open until Sunday 13th March 2016 - please contact us for a nomination form.


The award will go to an individual or group which has:

  • campaigned tirelessly to deliver social justice or to raise awareness of particular groups affected by it

  • devised innovative and creative approaches to tackle particular issues, overcoming barriers to support

  • built cross party or cross sector relationships in order to further social justice

  • challenged or investigated social injustices in a way that has made a difference

  • engaged in policy advocacy to protect and promote social justice for the most vulnerable


Sunday 13th March     Nominations close

Saturday 16th July     Winner announced at SLF Conference

Judging Panel

  • ChairRos Kayes, SLF Council member and PPC for West Dorset in 2015

  • Lord Navnit Dholakia, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader in the House of Lords

  • Professor Anna Grear, the Founder and Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment

  • Jonathan Rugman, the award-winning Foreign Affairs Correspondent for Channel 4 News



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  • The neoliberal economic system and ideology is inherently socially unjust. However, it is (a manmade) system. The important thing to note about systems is that they produce outputs that are the result of the internal system dynamics otherwise called amongst systems thinkers “causal loops”.

    The way to look at an economic system is as an operating system in much the same way as the operating system in a computer can be dual booted with two operating systems, e.g. Microsoft Windows and Linux based Ubuntu, I would argue that it is possible for a government or a political organisation such as the EU to legislate into existence a Fair and Just economic operating system that is built on Liberal principles. In this way the Left versus Right adversarial Yah Boo politics along with policies that are mere bug fixes and patches to mend a dysfunctional economic (operating) system would dissolve away. It is time that the neoliberal economic system and the ideology that supports it which I would describe as neoconservatism. This neoconservatism is described in the Very Short Introduction series of books by OUP on Neoliberalism page 22-3.