Before then he worked as a teacher, in the non-profit sector, and in local government. He also worked as a consumer advocate in the National Health Service. From 2001 to 2011 he worked as an independent consultant, mainly with grant making trusts and human rights NGOs.
Steven has written and lectured widely in the UK and internationally on issues relating to philanthropy. He has served on various boards. These include the Community Fund (now part of the Big Lottery Fund), and the board for the Legal Complaints Service.
He founded and is a trustee of the Rowntree Society. It ensures that a new generation understands the contemporary significance of the work and ideas of the Rowntree family. He is Vice Chair of Jessie's Fund. This is a small York-based charity working nationally. It helps children who are ill or disabled to communicate through music.
He is a resident of Derwenthorpe, the JRHT eco-village in York.