Rachel Dickinson, President, Association of Directors of Children’s Services

Qualifying as a social worker in the 1980’s, Rachel worked in a variety of social work and managerial roles in Derby and Derbyshire across both adults and children’s services. She moved to Derby as Assistant Director for Children’s Social Care in 2000 and went on to establish the integrated children’s trust arrangements in Derby in 2005. Rachel held an integrated children’s services portfolio in Derby from 2006, before moving to Leicester City Council as Director of Children’s Services in 2009. Rachel joined Barnsley MBC in 2013 as the Director of Children’s Services and took on responsibility for Adult Social Care Services in 2015. Rachel has directly supported learning and development within the sector through her roles as vice-chair of East Midlands Association of Directors of Children’s Services, and then vice chair and subsequently chair of Yorkshire and Humber ADCS. She is the current President of the Association 2019/20.


Donna Hall CBE, Chair, New Local Government Network, former CEO, Wigan Council

Donna Hall, CBE has been described as “a public service pioneer” by Andy Burnham the Mayor of Greater Manchester for her work on reforming public services in Greater Manchester where she developed the eight stage early years delivery model. She was Chief Executive of Wigan Council for eight years where The Wigan Deal was forged - a social contract with residents to save £160 million, protect frontline services and build stronger communities. Wigan is currently LGC Council of The Year.

She retired as CE in March this year and is now Chair of the New Local Government Network (NLGN) an independent think tank focussed on building innovative solutions with communities.

She is also the Chair of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust - rated CQC Outstanding for leadership.

She was awarded a CBE for services to local government innovation in 2009 and voted Northern Powerwomen Transformational Leader of The Year 2017.

Adopted as a child she is passionate about the care system and support to care leavers. She has two grown up children and lives in Bolton.


Junior Smart, Founder, SOS Project, St Giles Trust 


Catherine Briody, Head of Youth and Community, Islington Integrated Gangs Unit

Catherine Briody is the Head of Youth and Community at Islington, responsible for VAWG strategy and commissioning and the DV MARAC; and youth violence prevention strategy and commissioning. In 2016, Catherine worked with partners to set up Islington’s Integrated Gangs Team, a multi-agency service co-located with police. The IGT works with young people involved in/at risk of youth violence and exploitation through county lines, modern day slavery and CSE etc. Catherine’s previous roles include community development in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, commissioning of substance misuse services for families and young people, and outreach services for women exploited through prostitution.


Dusty Kennedy, National Partnership Lead, Early Action Together partnership between Public Health, Policing and Criminal Justice in Wales

Dusty is National Partnership Lead working in Public Health Wales on the Early Action Together Programme; a pan-Wales collaboration introducing trauma-informed practice to the four police forces and wider criminal justice. He provides independent management and systems consultancy, specialising in services for vulnerable people and is a member of the Wales Youth Work Board.

Dusty has 17 years’ experience working in the youth justice system; first as a volunteer mentor and, most recently, 6 years as Director of the YJB in Wales.

He was responsible for national oversight of the community youth justice system, contracts and commissioning of the children's secure estate, government relations and developing innovative practice; including the ECM project to test application of TRM in YOTs.

Before this he spent three years as Welsh Government Head of Youth Justice Strategy; using experience gained in YOT practice and senior management at the national policy formulation level


Detective Superintendent Jo Ramessur-Williams, National Police Lead, Early Action Together partnership between Public Health, Policing and Criminal Justice in Wales

Jo completed her General Nurse training in 1990 in Glan Clwyd Hospital in North Wales and subsequently qualified as a midwife thereafter. In 1994, she joined North Wales Police and has 24 years’ service. Jo spent her initial career within local policing. Most of the last 10 years have been spent within the investigative arena.

For the last 4 years Jo was the Detective Supt within Crime Services and had operation and strategic lead for the Protecting Vulnerable People’s Unit within North Wales. She was instrumental in the development of a number of specialist units which sit within this portfolio which include CSE team and a POLIT (Paedophile On Line Investigation Team).

In January 2018, Jo took up a seconded post within Public Health Wales as National Police lead within the National ACE programme team.


Sally Poskett, Director, Kate Cairns Associates

Sally grew up in a family where permanency was offered to 12 foster children, This experience of the care system from the inside, strongly influenced her professional direction and personal beliefs.

Sally's working life began in a 97 bed hostel in Brighton before training as Probation Officer. At Kent Probation Service she worked in Courts, prisons and the community before moving back to Brighton to work within the public protection team.

In 2006 Sally left probation to work with Kate Cairns establish and run a training organisation developing and delivering training and qualifications on attachment, trauma and resilience, first for foster carers and then the broader children's workforce. She is currently the Delivery and Quality director at KCA.

Sally lives in Gloucestershire and has served as a governor and trustee for schools and children's charities within her local community.


Becca Dove, Head of Family Support and Complex Families, London Borough of Camden

Becca Dove is the Head of Service for Early Help Family Support and Complex Families for the London Borough of Camden. Becca has over 18 years experience in the field of child and family services, and was previously Assistant Director of Commissioning at Bedfordshire County Council. Becca was a national Sector Specialist for families, parents and carers at the Centre for Excellence in Outcomes, and trained in systemic practice with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. Becca’s family work has crossed a number of sectors, including Royal Mencap where she was National Families Lead.


Anne-Marie Cray, Speech and Language Therapist, I CAN

Anne-Marie has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for over 20 years. She has worked in a range of settings with children and young people who have speech, language and communication needs. She now works as an Independent therapist for Child Speech and specialises in working with young people who have social, emotional and mental health needs. She works in a specialist Multi Academy Trust comprised of academies and alternative providers who provide specialist education for children aged 5 through to 19 who have a variety of needs.

Anne-Marie has worked in Early Years settings and Schools for many years and is an I CAN Tutor for evidence-based interventions Early Talk, Early Talk Boost, Talk Boost KS1 and KS2.


Susan Richards, Speech and Language Therapist, I CAN

Susan is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist, specialising in working with children with developmental speech and language disorders. She has worked in a number of roles and settings across Cambridge, Suffolk and Essex including clinics, nurseries, schools and private homes. Susan combines her clinical work with strong research interests and has recently completed her PhD at Cambridge University studying the influence of language rhythm on language disorder. Susan is now working with I CAN as project facilitator for the Changing the Conversation about Language project in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.


Jane Bradbury, Head of Education, EasyPeasy

Jane completed her Masters in Psychology of Education at the University of London, UCL. She worked as a therapeutic key worker at Kids Company, facilitating play workshops for parents and toddlers, and as Family Support Officer at Pimlico Academy, providing family therapy for disengaged youngsters. She is a school governor at Addison Primary School, Hammersmith, where she manages parental engagement and the EYFS. Now combining her love of play, therapy and education, she leads on EasyPeasy's pedagogy and educational content to support a growing community of families and practitioners.


Jane Marie Dunne, FDAC Team manager, Coventry City Council - Coventry Family Drug and Alcohol Court


Dr Jenny Whyatt- Sames, FDAC Clinical lead, Coventry City Council - Coventry Family Drug and Alcohol Court


Paul Snape, Head of Business Development, The Bridge (East Midlands)

Paul Snape has 16 years’ experience in the voluntary sector of service delivery, project management and strategic leadership roles. As Head of Business Development, Paul leads on developing tenders, grant and trust fund applications, improving The Bridge’s fundraising capacity as a team and exploring new opportunities for income generation through cross sector partnerships, social enterprise and community fundraising.


Leanne Fletcher, Advice Services Team Manager, The Bridge (East Midlands)

Leanne Fletcher has worked in housing and homelessness services for over ten years. She has worked in a number of professional settings, including the youth justice sector and specialist supported accommodation. She has a passion for social justice and is an effective and strong advocate for young people. Leanne is our Advice Services Team Manager, and also leads on a number of different policy areas, including the impact of the Homeless Reduction Act (2017).


Donna Molloy, Director of Policy & Practice, Early Intervention Foundation


Tim Fisher, Family Group Conference Manager, London Borough of Camden

Tim has been involved in Family Group Conferencing for more than 12 years as an advocate, coordinator and manager of FGC projects in Cardiff, Essex and Camden. Tim is a former chair of the All Wales FGC Network and a current member of the national accreditation of FGC projects development group. He is a qualified social worker with an MA in research on direct payments, who has spent time at the NSPCC developing in-depth assessments of children returning home from care. He has worked with Research in Practice and the Early Intervention Foundation on measuring the impact of FGCs for different people in the community.


Ione Fraser, Manager, Trusted Spaces Project, St Christopher’s Fellowship

I have been working with vulnerable young people for the past 20 years in schools, youth work settings, youth justice system and social care. I have a passion for creating opportunities and support for young people to reach their full potential. I do this by creating strong, positive and effective relationships and fun supportive intervention to facilitate realistic change. At Trusted Spaces I am working with young people at risk of exploitation by developing trusted relationships that offer 24/7 support, advice and guidance through outreach, 1:1, group and telephone support. The team work with families, communities and organisations to understand contextual safeguarding and how we can support our young people.


Christina Evers, Contextual Safeguarding Coordinator, London Borough of Ealing

I have been a social worker for 13 years, having trained and initially practiced in New Zealand. I have always worked in child protection and am passionate about young people and empowering them to be safe and achieve. I have been working with young people vulnerable to and who have experienced exploitation for seven years in both statutory and non-statutory settings and believe that early intervention thorough relationships is key.