View below the list of speakers for Festival of Learning 2023. 

Deborah Barnett, independent consultant on safeguarding adults

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.

Tim Spencer-Lane, lawyer

Tim is a lawyer who specialises in mental capacity, mental health and social care law. He works for the Government Legal Department (Department for Health and Social Care) where he advises on mental capacity and mental health law. He is also the legal editor of Community Care Inform (Adults) and a senior lecturer at Kingston University where he teaches on the best interests assessor course.

Laura Hanbury, clinician and PhD research student, Royal Holloway University

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 16 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 Kerr, anti-racist lead practitioner, Brighton & Hove City Council

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 her present role at Brighton & Hove City Council in November 2020. She is also a practice educator and delivers training on anti-racist practice and cultural competence within social work and more widely.

Farrah Khan, principal social worker, Leeds City Council

Farrah is the principal social worker at Leeds City Council’s children and families service. After working in early years and the third sector for many years, she qualified as a social worker in 2002 and has worked in children’s services in a variety of roles ever since. She co-chaired the Principal Children and Families Social Work Network from September 2020 to September 2022. She has a particular interest in tackling inequalities, poverty aware practice and restorative practice. She is a member of the national Anti-Racist Steering Group and of the Workforce Race Equality Standard core group in Leeds.

Dr Elizabeth McCloud, senior youth offending service practitioner and criminal justice researcher, Surrey Youth Offending Service

Elizabeth McCloud is a senior practitioner at Surrey Youth Offending Service and has completed a professional doctorate in criminal justice at the University of Portsmouth. In 2021, she published a book based on her doctoral research into adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse.

Erin Shanks, senior practitioner, YUVA (Young People Using Violence and Abuse)

Erin Shanks is a senior practitioner at the YUVA service run by the Domestic Violence Intervention Project – a division of the Richmond Fellowship. She has a background in dance movement psychotherapy, low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy and mentalisation-based therapy. She has worked with Women’s Aid and at inpatient forensic mental health services and alternative learning provision with survivors of domestic abuse and young people using child and adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse.

Gillian Ruch, director, Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research, University of Sussex

Gillian Ruch is Professor of Social Work at the University of Sussex and researches, publishes and teaches in the field of professional wellbeing, relationship-based and reflective practice in the context of child care social work. As the principal investigator of the Economic and Social Research Council-funded Talking and Listening to Children project, she has overseen one of the largest research studies of contemporary child care practice conducted across the four UK nations.

Lesley Carter, clinical lead, professionals and practice, Age UK

Lesley Carter is the clinical lead for health influencing at Age UK where she heads up the professionals and practice team. This challenges poor practice with the objective of improving older people’s experiences in health and social care services. She also leads the Malnutrition Task Force, which works to raise awareness of malnutrition in older people, and provides strategic support and advice to a range of external bodies and independent initiatives. Before joining Age UK Lesley had a long career in nursing practice holding leadership roles in the NHS, Department of Health and in social care.

Mary Cridge, director of adult social care, Care Quality Commission

Mary Cridge has worked in public and private sector regulation for more than 30 years. Now in her 12th year at the Care Quality Commission, she has a strong history of working with colleagues to recognise excellence where they find it and support providers when they need it. She was the CQC’s first Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and used the role to nurture a collaborative workplace full of caring and inspiring people determined to make services, teams, and hospitals safer and stronger across England. Previous roles included working in the CQC’s Hospitals Directorate as head of inspection for the south west and as head of compliance for the south west. Prior to the creation of the CQC she was at the Healthcare Commission working on the creation of the first ever annual health check for NHS organisations.

Mary Ogunlayi, principal occupational therapist, Adult Social Care, Surrey County Council

Mary has over 18 years’ experience as an occupational therapist (OT) working across clinical practice in health and social care and academia on both local and national projects. She is passionate about workforce development, especially the complexities and challenges facing the occupational therapy labour market within social care. She is currently completing doctoral research in this area at the University of Bath. Professional development is also a key part of her role as principal OT.

Nyoka Fothergill, head of service, Community Social Work and Health Partnerships, Leeds City Council

Nyoka Fothergill is a qualified social worker with 27 years’ experience working across children’s and adult social care services in Leeds. She has experience as a frontline practioner as well as being an experienced senior leader. In her current role, she is responsible for the delivery of adult social care services at a neighbourhood level. Before that she was head of business change within the adult social care service for seven years.

Satveer Nijjar, independent trainer, Attention Seekers? Training

Satveer has a passion for reducing stigma around mental health with a focus on improving understanding of, and response to, self-harm behaviours.

Over the last 10 years she has delivered hundreds of training sessions through her company Attention Seekers? Training. Through the business she delivers her own CPD-accredited self-harm awareness course nationally alongside personal, social and health education (PHSE) and personal development sessions, parent awareness sessions, conference talks and workshops.

While she mainly works in the education sector, she also delivers training to housing staff, doctors, nurses, social workers and care workers among others. The key for Satveer is combining lived experience and evidence to provide robust sessions that remove the taboo of self-harm and suicide, increase the confidence of professionals in providing support and empower those who self-harm to seek help.

Tim Nicholls, head of influencing and research, National Autistic Society

Tim Nicholls and his team work across education, health, social care and employment to make sure government policy and the research underpinning it reflects the needs of autistic children, adults and their families. During his time at the National Autistic Society, he has worked on a new all-age autism strategy and campaigned to reduce long autism diagnosis waiting times and the number of autistic mental health inpatients and improve teacher training. He sits on the government’s National Autism Strategy Executive Board, Building the Right Support Delivery Board and NHS England’s NHS Assembly.

Dawn Goodwin, head of practice, National Improvement Service (NIS), Cafcass

Sarah Dickinson, improvement manager, National Improvement Service (NIS), Cafcass

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.

Claire Mcdermid, social worker, approved mental health professional and team manager Essex Social Care Academy (Adults), Essex County Council

Claire has practice experience as an adult social worker working in mental health, sensory, learning disability and as an approved mental health professional. The session is a collaboration with the Adult Mental Health Wellbeing team at Essex County Council, who have very kindly contributed to the content.

Anna Glinski, deputy director, knowledge and practice development, Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA Centre)

Anna Glinski leads the practice improvement team at the CSA Centre, overseeing their training offer and ensuring real-world practice is applied to all guidance and research produced by the organisation. She is a qualified social worker who has worked within statutory frontline child protection and specialist services as a practitioner and manager. Prior to joining the CSA Centre, she was the social work practice development lead for child sexual abuse within a local authority and contributed to local and regional service and policy development. She is an associate tutor at the University of Sussex and is the editor of NOTA News, the quarterly magazine for members of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abuse.

Simon Thomas, Families and Children’s Transformation Programme Lead, Wiltshire FACT Partnership

With a background in Early Help service management and strategy development, Simon is passionate about system-wide approaches to improving outcomes for children, young people, and families.

Simon joined the Wiltshire FACT partnership in February 2023 and has since led the multi-agency partnership in a range of different transformational projects related to children, young people, and families. His post is a joint arrangement between Wiltshire Council, BSW Integrated Care Board and Wiltshire Police and he is currently leading on priority projects focussed upon system-wide approaches to Transitional Safeguarding and Early Help.

Emma Townsend, Head of Service Adult Social Care, Wiltshire Council

Emma qualified as a social worker in 1995. Since then, she has worked across a range of adult care settings, including hospital social work, intermediate care, ‘intake’ and ongoing support teams, both as a social worker and then as a Team Manager. Emma has also spent 4 years working in adult commissioning.

Emma has been in her current Head of Service post since 2018 and responsibilities have included setting up an Adult MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub) as well as management of the teams at the ‘front door’ of adult care and ongoing support teams working with older people and people with disabilities, including sensory loss.

Dr Emma Cameron, highly specialist clinical psychologist

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.

Andrei Szerard, barrister and Talking Life legal trainer

Andrei Szerard was a qualified barrister for 27 years, specialising in family law at 3 Dr Johnson’s Buildings, Temple. He has practised in all areas of criminal and family law, conducting cases at the Old Bailey, the Court of Appeal and the High Court in London. He has extensive experience of, and interest in, child protection and is a sought after trainer, combining his extensive legal experience and knowledge with an innovative and stimulating training style. He has delivered more than 350 expert witness training courses and age assessment training to social workers throughout England and Wales.

Joey Nettleton Burrows, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, National Autistic Society

Joey is Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the National Autistic Society. He and his team works across education, health, social care and employment to make sure that Government policy reflects the needs of autistic children, adults and their families. Since starting at the National Autistic Society, Joey has worked on influencing the Government’s National Autism Strategy, reducing the number of autistic mental health inpatients and changes to the SEND system. Joey is autistic