Professor Martin Knapp CBE is Director of NIHR's School for Social Care Research, and Professor of Health and Social Care Policy in the Department of Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Martin has worked for many years in the fields of health and social care research. His current research emphases are primarily social care for adults, dementia, child and adult mental health, and neurodevelopmental conditions. Much of his work uses economic arguments and evidence to inform policy discussion and practice development. He collaborates regularly with community organisations, service providers and public sector commissioners.
Martin was awarded a CBE in 2022 for services to social care research.
Morag Duff previously worked as a solicitor in the social care sector. She is now an independent specialist continuing healthcare (CHC) consultant providing training and advice to local authorities and health authorities. She has been an active member of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services national reference group on CHC since 2008 and has been involved in Department of Health consultations on the CHC national framework and the Care Act.
Alex Ruck Keene is an experienced barrister, writer and educator. His practice at 39 Essex Chambers is focused on mental capacity, mental health and healthcare law, in which he has appeared in cases at all levels up to and including the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. He also writes extensively, editing and contributing to leading textbooks. He is the creator of the website Mental Capacity Law and Policy, providing resources and expert commentary on some of the most difficult mental capacity issues.
He spent 2016 on secondment to the Law Commission as a consultant to their Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Project and throughout 2018 was legal adviser to the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983. He was a specialist adviser to the Joint Committee on Human Rights for their 2020 inquiry into the human rights implications of the government’s response to COVID-19 and specialist adviser for their 2021-22 inquiry into human rights in care settings. In March 2022 he was made an honorary KC, reflecting his contributions to mental capacity and mental health law outside the court room.
Dr. h.c. Jenny Molloy, consultant, Trevi House patron, author, trainer and motivational speaker. Jenny proudly identifies as a care leaver and is the author of her stories, Hackney Child and Tainted Love, written under her alias, Hope Daniels. Jenny spent most of her childhood in care and is now a married mother, grandmother and, of course, a care leaver. As a child, Jenny was under the care of Hackney social services and was known as a ‘Hackney Child’, hence the title of her first book. Jenny’s final book, Neglected, is written under her real name, Jenny Molloy, and shares stories of love and hope within the care system – a message Jenny is passionate about. Jenny works extensively with local authorities across the country, as well as working with Ofsted, the Department for Education, Frontline and higher education institutions. Jenny received an honorary doctorate from Huddersfield University for her service to vulnerable children and families. Find out more about Jenny and her work on her social media platforms, Twitter @Hackneychild and Facebook - Hackney Child
Shefali Shah was a senior solicitor and is an experienced national trainer. She has more than 25 years’ experience as a solicitor and manager in various local authorities and was a member of the Law Society’s Children’s Panel for nearly 20 years. She is legal advisor to Adoption for Adopters and a former legal advisor to national adoption charity Adoption UK and the Independent Review Mechanism. She also teaches social care law on various undergraduate and postgraduate social work degree programmes.
She is the author of Key Changes to Family Justice (England), and The Child’s Legal Journey Through Care, both published by CoramBaaf. Both publications detail the Public Law Outline process and how to achieve the statutory timescales.
Deborah Barnett is an independent social worker and the author of two books on safeguarding and self-neglect. She has authored numerous safeguarding adults reviews and articles. She is also a qualified teacher, an expert practitioner in matters of equality and diversity and holds a variety of sociology and psychology qualifications.
Sass Boucher’s research Looking Through a Lens of Terribleness explored and aimed to understand professionals’ needs when working with and listening to those affected by trauma. What she learned resulted in the creation of SelfCare Psychology with co-founder Kate Collier.
As a counsellor and psychotherapist, her practice includes a wide range of work, including referrals from employee assistance programmes within emergency services and health, social care and education settings.
She is currently lecturing part-time on the MSc Counselling Psychotherapy course at Keele University. She previously trained as a social work practice educator while working in domestic abuse services where she had a variety of roles including working in frontline support and service management and as a local authority domestic abuse partnership co-ordinator.
Kate Collier is practice and development director and co-founder of SelfCare Psychology. She develops new training and tools and has taken SelfCare Psychology’s training online with the development of interactive live workshops and e-learning. She has a special interest in early intervention in wellbeing through education for social care and health professionals born out of her personal struggle with professional trauma and fatigue. Her experience spans training as a social worker and independent domestic violence adviser and designing, delivering and managing services for women facing multiple disadvantages.
Colum is the chief executive of Social Work England. He previously led the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. He spent 6 years as chief executive of a not-for-profit providing care services across Ireland. As a former social worker, Colum worked in statutory family and child care services, early years policy, funding and service provision, and family systems support services.
Sarah qualified as a social worker from Trinity College Dublin in 1997. Since then, she has worked in a variety of national and international contexts, across statutory, voluntary and regulatory services.
She is also a trustee of charities supporting care experienced people in Scotland and young people with cancer.
Tim is a lawyer who specialises in mental capacity, mental health and social care law. At the Law Commission, Tim was responsible for the review of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, which formed the basis of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019. Tim was also in charge of the Law Commission’s reviews of the regulation of health and social care professionals and adult social care (which led to the Care Act 2014). He now works for the Government Legal Department (Department of Health and Social Care) where he advises on mental capacity and mental health law. Tim is the author of the "Care Act Manual" (third edition 2019, Sweet and Maxwell), joint author of “the Approved Mental health Professional Practice Handbook” (2020, Policy Press), General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Services and Child Care Law, and contributes to Cross on Local Government Law. He is the legal editor of Community Care Inform (Adults) and a senior lecturer at Kingston University where he teaches on the best interests assessor and adult safeguarding courses.
Sophie and her team have built an impressive academy for staff in Birmingham Children’s Trust with a focus on supporting career pathways for Newly Qualified Social Workers through a 3 year development plan, the ACFP Accredited Child and Family Practitioner Programme which has been in place since 2021. BCT have been pioneering partners in a number of DFE programmes including the NAAS and are currently advising and supporting in the development of the new 5 year early career framework for social workers.
Luke Goldie-McSorley is a passionate and proud Social Worker in the DBIT service in Essex Children’s Social care. Nearing 10 years as a Social Worker working in Solution Focused (SF) Edge of care & Emotional wellbeing work, with some of the most high risk, strained, oppressed, unsafe and challenging families and circumstances. The success of Luke’s work and the incredible work of his colleagues in the DBIT service in Essex has led to the point of inspiring the small steps of SF revolution in Social Work practice. With the benefit of extensive time with BRIEF and Elliott Connie over the last 10 years, Luke has gone on to love SF in practice every day with children, young people, adults, families and in supervision. Over time Luke has been fortunate to have contributed to published SF pieces including ‘The Solution Focused Approach with Children and Young People: Current Thinking and Practice’ and well as blogs and a DBIT Blog Book in print. He currently produces weekly SF video content on twitter (@SFBTEssex) consistently, with over 170 videos. Luke has a passion for teaching and supporting the development of practitioners within Essex social care and externally to partners and other organisations as part of the Essex Solution Focused Centre.
Lori has been a social worker for 25+ years and has practised social work in Canada, the US and the UK. She is currently the principal child and families social worker for Medway Council and has been delivering workshops on secondary trauma for more than eight years.
Laura Hanbury’s PhD research centres on the study of how behaviour develops in the context of relational trauma and how adults perceive and/or respond to these behaviours. Her wider research includes the ongoing analysis of neurodevelopmental diagnosis in children who experience trauma and how adults assign meaning to the behaviours they see.
Having worked in the field of family support and child protection for over 17 years, she also works as an independent lecturer, author and trainer, specialising in the analysis of family dynamics and behavioural responses through the lens of attachment theory and research.
Millie qualified as a social worker in 1994 and has worked as a social worker, team manager and children’s services manager within local authority children’s services and adult social care. She has worked across a range of disciplines including safeguarding and child protection, HIV, palliative care, child asylum and child trafficking, leaving care and for a specialist FGM and safeguarding service.
She took up the role of anti-racist lead practitioner at Brighton & Hove City Council in November 2020 and was made strategic anti-racist lead – business improvement in spring 2023. She is also a practice educator and delivers training on anti-racist practice and cultural competence within social work and more widely.
Shantel Thomas is the professional lead for social work and course lead for the MA in Social Work at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. She is also the former UK Anti-Racism Lead at the British Association of Social Workers, an independent training consultant and a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex. In 2022 she set up the Anti Racist Movement to provide a safe and healing space for people affected by racism and to campaign for change.
Email email@example.com to find out more or connect with Shantel on Twitter @ShantelThomas77, via her profile on LinkedIn or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerie is Chair of UNISON’s National Social Care Forum and Assistant Branch Secretary for Tower Hamlets UNISON. A Trade Union officer as well as a registered social worker, she has many years’ experience representing social workers employed in local government on a wide range of collective and individual issues. From grievances and disciplinaries, protecting whistle-blowers, challenging employers on unsafe workloads, pay and grading disputes, through to leading strike action on ‘fire and rehire’. Kerie has also led on numerous community campaigns in east London, working alongside service users, to challenge outsourcing and cuts to public services.
Gill has worked for UNISON and its predecessor union for over 30 years. Since the 90s she has held several national roles in UNISON’s local government section and has specialised in job evaluation and pay and grading.
She has also been a UNISON negotiator and Assistant Trade Union Side Secretary for national pay and conditions negotiations for staff employed on National Joint Council terms and conditions – the Green Book.
In her current role Gill is responsible for developing policy and campaigns on workplace issues raised by our social worker members and represents UNISON on various forums. UNISON is the biggest trade union for social workers and the wider social care workforce, with over 40,000 social workers in membership working across the whole range of social work employers including local authorities, NHS Trusts, the voluntary sector, agencies, Cafcass, and the care regulators. UNISON is the principal trade union recognised for social workers in the UK, negotiating on pay and conditions of service at national and local level and providing individual advice and representation to social workers.
Chickenshed is a theatre company for absolutely everyone.
For 50 years, we’ve created bold and beautiful work from our limitless belief in each other. Through our productions, our performance training, our education courses and our outreach projects, we create wonder out of chaos and change out of challenge.
We succeed together or not at all. This is our vision of how the world should be. We’re here to shake things up by sharing our experience with each other. We do this on stage, off-stage and wherever people come together.
Chickenshed, theatre changing lives.
Bruce Tregoning is an experienced family lawyer. Since joining a chambers in Brighton in 2009 he has developed a wide ranging practice in the family courts including the High Court, throughout Sussex, Kent, Surrey and London.
Prior to his call to the Bar as a barrister in 2009 he was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in 2002. As a solicitor, he specialised in a wide range of family law issues which included both public and private law cases. He then practiced for six years as a child protection lawyer, working as advocate solicitor for a local authority on the south coast, specialising in both public law Children Act matters and adult mental health cases.
He regularly provides training related to the Children Act for professionals including social workers and social care staff.
I am a service manager and a qualified Social Worker in adult operations working for Essex County Council. I qualified as a Social Worker in 2004 and I am also a qualified practice Educator, with a degree in Social Sciences and a Diploma in Social Policy. Having worked in various teams within adult operations since 2004 I am currently working as a Service Manager and overseeing Discharge to Assess and Neighbourhood teams with the North East of Essex.
The Service Manager role is very diverse and challenging however I enjoy the opportunity that this brings and the influence and impact that I have in service delivery to support positive outcomes for adults and our communities.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to complete a Diploma in Systemic supervision in 2019 which led to my passion for systemic practice and further opportunities to the development of this within adult operations.
Mike has over 20 years of experience within Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Starting his journey in 2001 as a UNISON trade union health and safety representative at a University.
Following development opportunities provided by his union's encouragement for life-long learning and his employer’s staff development funding, in 2011, Mike attained a NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.
Having held national lay activists’ roles involving policy development, campaigning and working jointly with employers and the HSE to seek improvements in health and safety within the Higher Education sector. Mike moved into a national OHS professional advisory role with the National Association of Probation Officers (Napo).
Now working for UNISON as Assistant National Officer (Health and Safety), Mike works within the national health and safety unit, one of a number of teams helping UNISON support over 1.3 million members delivering public services.
Mike’s main area of OHS interest is “Human Factors”, which examines how working environments, organisational cultures and approaches, the type of work being undertake and individual’s behavioural approaches can influence and affect work related health, safety and wellbeing outcomes.
As an assistant director in Cafcass, Barry’s responsibility is to lead a dedicated group of managers and senior managers in safeguarding, auditing and learning development. Barry’s background is over 20 years in the sector as a social worker, manager and senior leader. Barry’s journey to Cafcass and the development of a practice framework is all about a passion of getting things right for children by creating the conditions for social workers to achieve their very best. Barry also has a keen interest in Attachment Theory and its application in assessment.
Alex Laidler qualified as an occupational therapist in 1993 at the University of Queensland, Australia. Her early career included roles across various inner London boroughs in acute and community NHS settings, predominantly in physical and neuro rehabilitation. She managed multi-disciplinary therapy and rehabilitation services, intermediate care, and continuing care services before becoming a joint head of service in Southwark, managing both health and adult social care services. She joined Essex County Council as a director of adult social care in 2015 and managed both adult social care and community NHS services before having two children and returning to the role of principal occupational therapist for adult social care.
Rob Winfield works for Hampshire County Council in the Learning and Development Service. Rob is a qualified social worker and practice educator with a Degree in Applied Social Studies.
I started my social work journey in 1989 working in a family centre in rural Gloucestershire before moving to work in children’s residential units within Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
In 1997 I became a social work assistant in the children and families team in Buckinghamshire undertaking a broad range of social work related tasks.
In 2000 Rob qualified with a Diploma in Social Work with Oxford Brookes University and then in 2001 received my Hons Degree in Applied Social Studies, at which point Rob worked as a social worker in a generic social work team.
In 2002 I moved to Somerset and worked as a social worker in a disabled children’s team, becoming the team manager in 2005. I remained in this role managing both children with disabilities and mainstream social work teams until 2011, at which point I became a service manager for the Isle of Wight children’s services responsible for children and young adults disability services.
Rob continued in this role until 2015, at which point they took on additional responsibilities for the Isle of Wight fostering and adoption services as the resource service manager.
In 2016, Rob moved to Southampton City Council for a year as the service manager responsible for SEN and Education. At the end of this contract in early 2018 Rob made the decision to return to frontline practice after a significant number of years as a senior manager and spent 2018 to 2021 working as a social worker in a children in care team for Hampshire Children’s Services and then as an assistant team manager in a children’s assessment and safeguarding team.
In January 2022, Rob joined Hampshire’s learning and development service on secondment to support and promote the development of new social workers entering the profession and now jointly leads the development of the GETS programme within Hampshire alongside Ingrid Millerchip.
Returning to frontline practice has given me an opportunity to appreciate some of the pressures in today’s world faced by new social workers joining our profession.
Dr Emma Cameron DClinPsy is a qualified clinical psychologist specialising in neuropsychology with more than 10 years’ experience of working within the NHS and charitable sector with those with long-term neurological conditions. Her specialist interests include the impact of acquired brain injury on self-identity, executive functioning and mental capacity.
Amy Phipps is a neurodiversity-affirming autism trainer and social worker. She has been working alongside autistic young people and adults for 25 years in various settings, including social services and the voluntary sector. She is passionate about listening to autistic people to try and fully understand their experiences and views on how proper support and inclusion can be achieved. She has a Masters degree in social work and a postgraduate certificate in autism but her most significant learning has come through her role as parent/carer to her 13-year-old autistic son, and from her autistic friends and colleagues. She has a particular interest in anxiety and barriers to school attendance. She is also neurodivergent herself.
Dr Georgia Philip is a lecturer in social work and sociology based in the Centre for Research on Children and Families at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, Norfolk. She has undertaken research on father engagement and fathers’ experiences of children’s services and/or the family court for over ten years. She has worked on two Nuffield-funded projects: Counting fathers in: Men’s experiences of the child protection system (2014 to 2017) and Up Against It: Understanding the scale, pattern and dynamics of fathers’ recurrent appearance in care proceedings (2017-2019/20). Her previous research looked at fatherhood in the context of private law, divorce and separation. In addition to her teaching and research roles, she is actively involved in a range of dissemination, training and public engagement work around fathers and father inclusive practice.
Simon Floyd is a community theatre producer, director and performer. As well as his freelance work in training and performance, he is founder and director of award-winning Norwich-based theatre company The Common Lot. He has directed and produced many locally inspired, original theatre events with and for the people of Norfolk. Recent projects include the city centre hit Anglia Square: A Love Story, Norfolk Archaeological Trust’s historical research to theatre project Imagined Land, and Stories Down the Line a community theatre project about Marriott’s Way for Norfolk County Council. He was previously SHARE co-ordinator for the Eastern region - a regional development programme supporting museums to develop their practice through the sharing of skills and resources.
Michelle Lubelle is a solicitor specialising in family law. She represented the respondent mother in the F v M case featured in this session from the outset of proceedings to conclusion.
Adrian Barnett-Thoung-Holland is a barrister specialising in family law. He appeared on behalf of the father in the initial fact-finding hearing in the F v M case featured in this session.
Dr Catherine Pestano brings senior social work management experience to her activism around menopause in the workplace. Currently editing two menopause collections, one diversity focused with the Open University, her large-scale workplace projects have won two national diversity innovation awards. She offers individual and corporate consultancy, including on the menopause in the workplace.
Liz Howard is a registered social worker and professional officer with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) England team - a diverse national role with a focus on social work with adults.
In her current role she promotes anti-racism in social work from an allyship perspective through the delivery of presentations, support to branches, groups and networks and through anti-racist campaign activity. She has been part of reflective conversations as part of the BASW England Triple-A chinwag mini-series. https://www.basw.co.uk/triple-chinwag-basw-england-mini-series
She is a contributory author to The Anti-racist Social Worker: Stories of Direct Action in Social Care and Occupational Therapy published by Critical Publishing https://www.criticalpublishing.com/anti-racist-social-worker and has featured in an episode of the Anti-racist Listening Project podcast. https://socialworkwithadults.blog.gov.uk/2022/12/16/introducing-the-anti-racist-listening-project-podcast/
Antonia Ogundayisi is a social work leader with more than 13 years’ experience in social care. Her specialisms include children and families, anti-racist practice and youth justice services. She has worked in a variety of public and voluntary sector roles with diverse teams and one of her core missions is to drive racial equity across different safeguarding professions. She is also committed to pursuing racial equity for Black and Global Majority children. She is currently working as a service manager at Essex County Council where she is developing and embedding an anti-racist strategy.
Rebekah Pierre is a care-experienced author and campaigner with a background in child protection social work and social policy. She has written extensively about the care system and her work has appeared in publications including The Guardian and The Independent and on BBC Radio 4.
She has drawn on her lived experience to expose wider policy failures. Her peer-reviewed journal article Revisiting Diary Entries from Care: An Exposition of the Challenges of Unregulated Placement Settings is the first-known auto-ethnographic paper to feature childhood diary extracts written while in care.
She is passionate about amplifying marginalised voices through the arts. Her upcoming publication Free Loaves on Fridays features a collection of 91 voices from care and aims to celebrate the strengths inherent in the care community as well as expose the realities of the system.
Keir Harding is an occupational therapist with 20+ years’ experience in mental health. He holds an MSc in personality disorder.
He services on the executive committee of the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder and is part of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ expert reference group on the topic. He delivers training, consultancy and therapy to services and individuals around recurrent suicidality and self-harm via Beam Consultancy.
Hollie Berrigan is a consultant lived experience practitioner and integrative counsellor. She serves on the executive committee of the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder and is part of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ expert reference group on the topic. She delivers training, consultancy and therapy to services and individuals around recurrent suicidality and self-harm via Beam Consultancy.
Tom Stibbs is the principal children and families social worker and head of specialist services for Brighton & Hove City Council. He has been a qualified social worker for 20 years, working in London and Brighton & Hove.
At Brighton & Hove, he has led the implementation of relationship-based practice in children’s social work where recognising and challenging the impact of inequity and oppression are fundamental to the authority’s model. With other members of the senior leadership team, he has made an ongoing commitment to anti-racist practice. The children’s social work department has had an anti-racist project since 2019 with England’s first anti-racist lead practitioner recruited the following year.
I have worked for Essex for over fifteen years in a range of positions in policy and planning, performance, and research and involvement. I am a qualitative researcher and analyst in the Involvement Service of Quality Assurance and Safeguarding. Insight and evidence collected through research is used to influence decision making, policy and strategy, evaluations, co-design and development of services, and improve and change practice.
I support young people to be at the centre of decision-making forums and to influence and change practice.
Anne Manning qualified as a Social Worker in 2006 and has since worked at Essex County Council in the Children and Families Service. Anne’s first role as a social worker was in a Family Centre setting. Anne took a Senior Practitioner role in the Family Group Conference (FGC) Service in 2009, and for the last eleven years has been a Team Manager in the Divisional Based Intervention Team (DBIT). Within her time in DBIT, Anne has Managed an Edge of Care Team, and took a project lead role in establishing a Connecting and Uniting Team, An Emotional Wellbeing Team, and now is Managing and developing the Essex Solution Focused Centre Training Service.
Anne is a Practice Educator and has a Level 3 Award in Education and Training. Anne was trained in the Solution Focused Approach with BRIEF and has completed the Advanced Certificate in Solution Focused Practice with the Essex Solution Focused Centre. Anne’s passion is to provide the best support to clients that Essex Social Care work with through ensuring the professionals who serve them reach their potential in their own development and skills and are able to put this into practice.
Allegra has over 25 years of experience in the social service, public health, and mental health fields working in a variety of contexts both statutory and voluntary. She is originally from the USA where she obtained a BA in Clinical Psychology (1996) and Masters in Social work (2004), and has been living and working as a social worker in the United Kingdom since 2009. Whilst in the UK she completed a Diploma in Solution Focused Practice at BRIEF, an Adult Teacher/Trainer Credential, and is also a qualified Practice Educator for social work students and newly qualified social workers.
Over the past 10 plus years Allegra has been working in various teams within the DBIT Service, a therapeutic Solution Focused intervention Service within Essex County Council Social Care. In her current roles she is responsible for staff development and training, including planning and delivering solution focused training for internal and external teams and organisations, whilst also providing direct Solution Focused Emotional Wellbeing support for young people open to children’s social care and for parents of children with significant disabilities.
Greg has been a Social Worker since 2006. He has worked in a Leaving Care team as a Social Worker, Senior Practitioner and a Team Manager. Greg has also worked as part of Essex’s front door triaging referrals into Social Care and for the last ten years, he has worked with the D-BIT Service helping to keep families together using the Solution Focused approach. Greg’s passion and enthusiasm for the SF approach has led him to being part of the Essex Solution Focused Centre focusing on supporting others to learn and develop their own use of SF practice. Greg is a published author, and is the co-lead for Solution Focused Accreditation with the United Kingdom Association for Solution Focused Practice (UKASFP).
Sarah has worked as a social worker with children and families since 2005. She has a varied background which includes having worked in roles related to Child Protection and Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Sarah has specific interests relating to the impact of developmental trauma and restorative ways of working. Sarah has worked for Cafcass for the last 10 years and is currently employed as an Improvement Manager with a specific role in supporting with the implementation and continued development of the practice framework.
Andie has worked with children and families since 2003 before qualifying as a social worker in 2009. Andie has worked within Locality tams, Child in Need and Child Protection teams as well as Children in Care team. Andie has worked for Cafcass since November 2017 as a Family Court Advisor and Children’s Guardian managing both Public Law and Private Law. Andie has also been involved in the pilot of the Together Framework trying new templates and providing feedback to the developers of the framework.
Jeremy qualified as a Social Worker in 1998 in sunny Trinidad and Tobago then migrated to the UK in 2000. Having worked initially in London he then spent 11 years in Southampton as a Social Worker, Senior Practitioner and Programme Supervisor in Child Protection, Looked after Children and Fostering teams respectively. Prior to moving to CAFCASS, Jeremy managed the Treatment Foster Care programme in Southampton which was his first experience of managing a multi-disciplinary team that including a teacher, psychologist, social workers and a skills worker. His 11 years with CAFCASS has seen him work mainly as an Assistant Service Manager mainly in Public Law however he eventually took up a role as an area Service Manager for the Early Intervention Team and the Dorset pilot scheme called Pathfinder. Jeremy is also a trained Strengthscope coach and firm believer in supporting others to identify things that energise them within their working capacity to achieve their best.
Our National Advisory Forum is made up of people with lived and learned experience of social work. They provide expert advice, support and challenge to our work and how we achieve our objectives.
Jane is based at the Centre for Ageing & Population Studies, within the Research Department of Primary Care & Population Health, University College London (1999-present). Her main research interests are in dementia, ageing, emergent technologies and trials of complex interventions in primary care and community settings. This includes a focus on improving the diagnosis and management and end of life care for people with dementia and their families. Examples include managing the NIHR programme EVIDEM and The Dykes award from the Alzheimer’s Society for an RCT on the effectiveness of educational interventions in improving the detection and management of dementia in primary care.
Jane is an advocate for partnering with people living with dementia and care partners throughout the dementia research process. She is currently involved in two co-design studies creating an online dementia guide to support people after a diagnosis of dementia, Forward with dementia. She is a qualitative methodology expert for the NIHR Research Design Service London and is a UCL Tutor teaching Qualitative Research Methods in Health care research across several courses. She is a member of the UCL Qualitative Health Research Network and Training Committee.
Jim Highfield-Ford has worked in Hampshire’s Children Services since 2010. Starting his career as a care worker in a children’s home he went on to work in Hampshire’s specialist Willow team that supports children at risk of missing, exploitation and trafficking. The team also acts as first responders to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who are found or placed in Hampshire.
Jim has a wide and varied experience in working with children and has presented talks and workshops to a large range of audiences. He has a particular interest in supporting young people that are often deemed as ‘hard to engage’.
After 13 years in front line, he now works as a Service Improvement Manager in a team that helps to lead and assist projects in the Children & Families branch of Hampshire. One of these projects is the use of Virtual Reality headsets in direct work as well as learning and development of staff. Jim is also the Co-Chair for the LGBT+ staff network in Hampshire.
Sam Lawes has practiced as a registered Social Worker within Adult Social Care at Essex County Council since 2004 and has occupied a Team Manager role since 2014. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Sam has a particular passion for working with Older Adults and those living with a dementia. Sam’s current focus is upon Service Improvement within Adult Social Care where she is drawing upon practice knowledge and experience alongside continuous improvement methodology to drive a culture of continuous improvement that is aligned to the Councils vision of enabling people to live their lives to the fullest.
Introduced to Systemic Theory in 2018, Sam completed a Diploma in Systemic Supervision which stimulated her passion and drive to embed systemic practice within adult operations.
Simon has been working within Adult Social Care for over 38 years, across health, social care and within the private sector. 20 of those years with Essex County Council (with a five-year gap). He currently works as a Director of Adult Social Care in South Essex, leading a number of operational teams and with a lead focus on intermediate care and carers. He is passionate about removing the barriers to meeting individual need across complex organisations and focussing on a person’s/family’s needs holistically, within their communities.
Rhea Mills is a Professional Services Officer in Unison’s Professional Service Unit (PSU). Prior to joining Unison in 2022, Rhea specialised in social housing and community care law, and has a broader background in bringing civil proceedings. Currently, Rhea represents UNISON members involved in Fitness to Practise and associated regulatory cases across 14 regulators, including Social Work England (SWE) Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and Care Council for Wales (CCW). She regularly appears for members at Interim Order and Substantive Hearings before decision-making panels and has helped to develop training materials for the Professional Services Unit and wider organization. As a national officer for Unison, Rhea works closely with other trade unions, government departments and regulatory bodies to develop policy and legislation. She is passionate about creating a fairer process for health and social care professionals and takes a special interest in helping professionals to strengthen their practice
Su is a passionate ambassador for EDI in Northumberland and the whole North Eastern region. Her focus being on relationship building to overcome challenges. Over the last few years Su has been instrumental in supporting Northumberland to build a strong academy for social workers and she’ll be able to share their experiences and tips for other organisations work in looking to create or improve how their academy operates. This includes an understanding around staff bringing their whole selves to work and how imperative it is to support staff wellbeing as the norm.
Gloucestershire's dedicated practice development team have been working hard on promoting and sharing best practice across the adults' operational teams, including areas such as anti-racist practice, as well as developing a range of programmes to support adult learners and newly qualified social workers. Their strong learning culture means that they are consistently the most engaged users of Community Care Inform resources nationwide. Aileen will share tips from her team to yours.
Kathryn Swinney is a member of the Health and Wellbeing Team at CAFCASS, working to support over 2,500 staff across England. Kathryn has covered a range of wellbeing topics in her experience supporting staff wellbeing in public sector organisations in both the USA and UK since 2017, with more recent projects covering areas of mental wellbeing, stress and resilience, and financial wellbeing.
Experienced social worker and manager also known as youngblacksocialworker on social media where she discusses social work topics and gives real and current views for practitioners.
Dr Paul Clarkson is a specialist social care academic and researcher, Senior Lecturer in Social Care and Deputy Director, Social Care and Society research group at the University of Manchester. He is a Senior Fellow of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), School for Social Care Research.
His background is in psychiatric and medical social work, and he has led on research around dementia, carers, work on routinely collected data in social care and research on assessment. Paul has held research grants with the NIHR including large programmes of dementia care research, evidencing the effectiveness of care, and innovative ways in which to involve the public and diverse communities in research. He has specialist roles with NIHR in building capacity for social care practitioners, home care workers and social workers to take part in and lead on research studies. He is also part of an international collaboration to improve the way older people are assessed for the care they need and to prevent risks to their well-being.
Gareth has spent most of his life working in the third sector. He also provides an expert by experience perspective to social work courses. Gareth is a member of Social Work England’s National Advisory forum who provide expert advice, support and challenge their work to help them achieve their objectives.