I have a degree in Politics and History, gained from University College Cardiff in 1981, and in 1992 I gained an MSc in Equal Opportunity Studies at Southampton University.
I have worked within the care and support sector since 1982, when I undertook voluntary, community based work in rural south India.
In late 1982 I joined the Society of St James, an organisation working with people who had become homeless. I stayed with St James for 9 years, and spent the last 5 as Chief Officer. During that time I was actively involved in developing and maintaining the organisation, and the number of schemes St James ran rose from 2 to 10 during the period of my stewardship.
I was then Community Services Manager (Mental Health) for Southampton and SW NHS Trust, and worked from 1992 to 1994, managing both in - patient acute and community based services.
In 1994 I became the Chief Officer of ROCC, an umbrella organisation for the voluntary and statutory supported housing/community care sector - with the particular purpose of generating and helping to sustain partnership and multi - agency working. When I joined ROCC, the membership was at about 30 organisations - within a short period that had risen to well over 100 member organisations and I helped ROCC achieve a reputation as a critically important agency in the facilitation and development of multi agency partnership work. I remained with ROCC until 2000.
I have worked as a self employed consultant and trainer since 2000.
I have extensive experience of being a Trustee/Director of voluntary and charitable organisations - including as Chair of Children in Need (SW region) a founder member of the Hampton Trust (Hampshire and Isle of Wight) and was the Chair of Westgate Care and Support, (part of Winchester Housing Group). I have also chaired Mind groups and been on the Boards of several housing and homelessness groups.
This portfolio of experience and knowledge has given me a great deal of knowlege and awareness of the issues that face voluntary and statutory agencies, the dynamics and pressures upon the people who lead those organisations, the imperatives : both political and practical that are in operation, and a perspective and practice as a consultant that is based upon matching idealism with reality, pragmatism with
principle, action with reflection.
From 2006 -2010, I worked as an independent Assessor for the Alliance, a Herefordshire based membership organisation of third sector health and social care providers (www.allianceherefordshire.org.uk).This work involved my being part of a team of people assessing organisations for accreditation to be included on a Register of Approved Providers, a major quality, policy and practice initiative. The benefits for organisations are that they gain an independent and well informed overview of the quality of the providers and the services that they are providing. involved in Quality Asurance work.
In 2009 I was recruited as a member of the Affiliate Pool of the Audit Commission.
In February of 2009, I completed the sheltered housing review for Notting Hill Housing Trust and delivered a comprehensive report, with a range of recommendations, and which has been adopted as a part of the organisation's 5 year strategy for working with older people. This review was very well received by residents and staff alike.
In 2008 I delivered a Diversity consultancy day for medical staff of Northumbria Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust, a number of service user empowerment and involvement training days for Futures at Knightstone, and developed further work around service user issues. I also ran two series of Action Learning Sets (focussed around Value Based Practice) with front line staff of Futures at Knightstone.
In May 2008 I began working with Notting Hill Housing Trust, undertaking a review of the sheltered housing provided by the organisation, a piece of work on which I was scheduled to report by the end of December(this was extended into 2009, by mutual agreement.)
Saw the completion of a three year, whole service, Working with Diversity training and action planning programme for Solent Mind. (This work was undertaken as a TUKLO ORENDA Associate).
The aim of this programme was to initially raise questions, ideas and awareness about the impact of discrimination upon all people involved in the work of Solent Mind, and then to endeavour to improve services, practices, attitudes and understanding of the value of taking a diversity centred approach to that work.
This (Solent MIND) programme was concluded in April 2007 - a brief report and suggested action plan was provided to the CEO and the Board. Participant feedback (predominantly positive) was constantly reviewed and the programme adapted accordingly.
Over the summer of 2006 I worked with Futures at Knightstone Housing Association to run a series of training events for the supported housing department, on service user involvement and empowerment. This programme aims to raise levels of awareness for practicioners, extend and improve upon exisiting initiatives that the organisation has undertaken, and to develop further actions that will progress the work of the Asssociation in this regard. I have a wealth of experience and knowledge in this area of work and am skilled at engaging with service user groups, as well as in developing empathy and understanding amongst staff teams (at all levels).During late 2005 and into 2006 I worked as a researcher for rethink, (working in collaboration with Vanilla ), the major mental health charity, interviewing commissioners, across the country about various aspects of rethink's work. This work has helped rethink to build a profile of what commissioners want and need now, and also what they will be looking for in the future - aiding rethink to plan and prepare for current and future activity.
ASSOCIATE CONSULTANCY AND TRUSTEE STATUS :
I was, for nearly 8 years, an Associate of TUKLO ORENDA, a London based consultancy group who specialise in consultancy and training services relating to working with diversity.
I have also been an approved consultant working with ROCC (see
I was a Trustee of Pembrokeshire Mind for 4 years, up until November 2009.
My extensive experience of being a Trustee as well as working to various Boards myself, means that I have an excellent grasp of the issues facing charitable Trustees/Directors and the ability to empathise with their needs and values, and to focus their thinking on the necessary targets and imperatives.
I am the Company Secretary for Astral Productions (an independent film company).