View below the list of speakers for Festival of Learning 2022. 

Morag Duff, independent specialist continuing healthcare consultant

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.

Catherine Bennett, county lines pathfinder lead, Suffolk Youth Justice Service

Catherine started her career in youth justice in 2003, undertaking restorative work with young people in contact with youth justice services, and those individuals affected by their actions. Restorative practice is still something Catherine is passionate about due to the positive changes she saw for those who chose to be involved in a restorative process. In 2010, Catherine moved to a completely different role and began working within a young offender institution to co-facilitate an accredited offending behaviour programme (JETS - Juvenile Enhanced Thinking Skills) and support the resettlement element of the course. This was a one of the most challenging but most enjoyable roles Catherine has undertaken.

In 2013 Catherine began her management career, starting off with a team management role and then moving on to project management. Catherine led the restorative justice team in Suffolk Youth Justice Service to accreditation and successfully launched the diversion programme, a prevention and out-of-court disposal project, which was nominated for a Howard League Award. In 2016, Catherine returned to managing a busy youth justice team in Suffolk, where the impact of gangs and county lines was fast becoming of great concern. In 2018, Catherine was appointed as gangs and county lines manager for Suffolk. This partnership role sees Catherine working with a broad range of agencies and services to increase awareness, disrupt the activity of gangs and county lines and ensure that the young and vulnerable are afforded the appropriate safeguarding response.

Tim Spencer-Lane, lawyer specialising in mental capacity, mental health and social care law

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.

Dr David Wilkins, senior lecturer in social work, Cardiff University and assistant director, Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre

Dr David Wilkins is a senior lecturer in Social Work at Cardiff University and assistant director of the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE). His work focuses on professional supervision in child and family social work and social work decision-making.

David has previously worked as a senior research fellow at the Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care, an academic tutor for the Frontline Programme, a senior lecturer in Social Work for Anglia Ruskin University, a principal child and family social worker, deputy team manager, and social worker in the fields of disability and child protection.

In his spare time, David tries to play tennis and the piano (not at the same time).

Lori Goossen, principal children and families social worker, Medway Council

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 ten years.

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

Laura Hanbury is a clinician and PhD research student at Royal Holloway University. Her current PhD research focuses on the behaviours of adolescents who are looked after, alongside the attachment organisation of foster carers and how it affects the way they may perceive and respond to the children that they care for. Having worked in the field of family support and child protection for over 15 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. Laura’s overall work is centred around the study of how behaviour develops in the context of experienced attachment trauma.

Tricia Pereira, director of operations, Skills for Care

Tricia Pereira is a qualified social worker and currently the director of operations at Skills for Care. Her previous roles include head of adults’ social care and adult safeguarding in local authority statutory settings and practitioner development lead with London ADASS.

She is the co-chair of the Department of Health and Social Care Social Care Workforce Race Equalities Standards Advisory Group and co-chair of the BAME Communities Advisory Group for the Department of Health Social Care sector, COVID-19 Support Taskforce. She is a former co-chair of the Adults’ Principal Social Worker Network for England.

Jahnine Davis, co-founder and director, Listen Up and panel member, Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel

Jahnine Davis is an experienced child safeguarding practitioner and researcher. Jahnine’s PhD research and practice expertise focuses on safeguarding Black children and young people from intra- and extra-familial harm. She is recognised nationally as a specialist in intersectionality and adultification. Jahnine is a panel member on the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. Jahnine is also the co-founder and director of Listen Up – an organisation established to amplify lesser heard voices in child protection research, practice, and policy.

Nicholas Marsh, co-founder and director, Listen Up

Nicholas Marsh is an experienced child protection social worker and researcher. Nicholas’ PhD research and practice expertise focuses on safeguarding young people from exploitation and extra-familial harm. He specialises in translating research in to practice and has led and supported the development and redesign of adolescent services across England. Nicholas is also the co-founder and director of Listen Up – an organisation established to amplify lesser heard voices in child protection research, practice, and policy.

Arianna Kelly, barrister, 39 Essex Chambers

Arianna Kelly is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers with a specialist practice in mental capacity, community care and mental health law and inquests. She is ranked as a leading junior in the Court of Protection by Chambers and Partners, and as a ‘Rising Star’ in Administrative and Public Law in the Legal 500, which described her as having: ‘Outstanding knowledge of the Care Act.’

Arianna works extensively in the field of community care. She frequently advises in and undertakes judicial review work in relation to eligibility and care planning decisions, community care charging and debt recovery, safeguarding investigations, ordinary residence determinations and decisions to de-register approved providers, age assessments and allowances to special guardians. She also advises public authorities on policies relating to health and social care.  Arianna acts in a range Court of Protection matters including welfare, property and affairs, serious medical treatment. Arianna also regularly acts and advises in matters relating to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. Arianna is on both the Attorney General’s Regional Panel and the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of counsel. Arianna is a member of the National Committee for the Court of Protection Practitioners Association.

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

Millie has 27 years’ experience as a registered social worker, qualifying in 1994 at Ruskin college, Oxford and more recently, completing her MA in advanced professional practice in February 2021.

Developing anti-racist social work practice is an area of particular interest within her present role and career objectives.

She has a wealth of experience in local authority statutory, health and voluntary sector settings, in London and South East England, addressing issues such as trafficking, CSE, forced marriage, honour-based abuse, physical abuse, and neglect.

She has additional experience in working with asylum seekers, families from Black African, Caribbean, and Asian diasporas and diverse communities living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Her work has highlighted the need for partnership working with voluntary sector organisations, health, education, police, and immigration professionals. As a team manager, Millie has led child asylum teams and leaving care teams; and in her role as children's services manager for the specialist FGM Centre at Barnardo’s, her role addressed harmful practices such as: FGM, child abuse linked to faith and belief, and breast ironing/flattening. 

She was managing director for an asylum seeker supported housing project, where she remains a trustee, before moving into her present role as anti-racist lead practitioner for Brighton and Hove Council.

Lyn Romeo, chief social worker for adults, Department of Health and Social Care

Lyn Romeo took up her post as chief social worker for Adults in September 2013.

Previously, Lyn worked as the assistant director for Adult Social Care in the London Borough of Camden. She has also worked as an inspector with the Social Services Inspectorate, as well as working in Yorkshire for over 20 years as both a field social worker and in a variety of management roles across children and adults.

chief social worker for adults

The chief social worker for adults works collaboratively with the chief social worker for children and families. Together they work from the Office of the Chief Social Worker to:

  • support and challenge the profession to ensure that children and adults get the best possible help from social workers.
  • provide independent expert advice to ministers on social work reform, and the contribution of social work and social workers to policy implementation more generally.
  • provide leadership and work with key leaders in the profession and wider sector to drive forward the improvement and reform programme for social work.
  • challenge weak practice to achieve decisive improvements in the quality of social work
  • provide leadership to the network of principal social workers.

Luke Rodgers, director of strategy, The Care Leaders

As a lived experience leader, Luke has a passion for and expertise in creating projects that benefit the lives of care experienced people, ensuring their experience is at the heart of all projects and training facilitated by The Care Leaders.

By understanding and giving a voice to lived experience, we gain the knowledge to develop our services to best serve young people. This is a translation process, where stories are turned into strategies, ensuring children’s social care is developed from the lives of the people who have experienced it.

As founder of The Care Leaders, Luke has led work in the USA, Europe and nationally in the UK, working with leading organisations in the children’s sector including The Fostering Network, University of Oxford’s Rees Centre, a wide range of Local Authorities, Fostering Agencies and The Department for Education.

Luke has won recognition for his work that includes ‘Entrepreneur of Excellence’ in 2015 from the National Diversity Awards, the ’Young Social Entrepreneur Award’ in 2014 from Unltd and ‘Children’s Achievement Award’ in 2013 from Children and Young People Now.

Luke’s commitment to improving outcomes for young people and families was recognised through the award of the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and in 2020 he was invited to be a Fellow at the Saïd Business School, Skoll Centre for Social Enterprise at the University of Oxford.

Michael Preston-Shoot, professor emeritus (social work), University of Bedfordshire

Michael Preston-Shoot is Professor (Emeritus) Social Work at the University of Bedfordshire, England. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He held various social work academic positions between 1988 and 2016 and also was Editor of several social work journals.  

His publications, research and training have concentrated on law and social work practice, and on adult safeguarding. He completed with Suzy Braye and David Orr major studies for the Department of Health on governance of adult safeguarding and on effective practice with adults who self-neglect. He has authored safeguarding adult reviews, has researched reviews of self-neglect cases and has completed thematic reviews of safeguarding adult reviews commissioned by Safeguarding Adults Boards in London and in South West England since implementation of the Care Act 2014. He has been engaged in sector-led improvement projects on adult safeguarding and homelessness, on adult safeguarding and alcohol abuse, and on making safeguarding personal for commissioners and providers of health and social care. With Suzy Braye and Research in Practice he has just completed the first national thematic analysis of safeguarding adult reviews published in 17/18 and 18/19. This has been published by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

Michael is currently Independent Chair of Lewisham and of Brent Safeguarding Adults Boards. He has been convenor of the London Regional Network of Safeguarding Adult Board Chairs. He is currently joint convenor of the national network of SAB chairs.

Nicole Jacobs, domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales

Since her appointment to the role of designate domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales in September 2019, Nicole has begun energetically putting her 20 plus years of experience in domestic abuse policy and intervention to work, driving improvements to transform the response to domestic abuse in England and Wales. She is committed to championing victims and survivors of all ages, status, and backgrounds, and to shining a light on practises that fail them.  

Nicole began her career at the Alabama State Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the United States. In 1999, she came to London as an early worker at ADVANCE, one of the first advocacy (now DVA service) services in the UK. In 2000, she began working at Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, expanding the coordinated community response efforts into health settings. Before becoming CEO of Standing Together in 2013, she held a number of senior leadership positions at highly respected organizations, including special projects director at SafeLives, and senior operations manager at Refuge.

Dr Alice Loving, independent parenting assessment and intervention practitioner and lecturer, Centre for Child Protection, University of Kent

Alice is a lecturer for the Centre for Child Protection and has worked within the field of child protection for 11 years. In addition to teaching, she also works independently providing parental assessments and intervention work for local authorities. She completed her PhD within the Social Care department at Royal Holloway University, which focused on exploring influencing factors on the outcomes of parenting intervention, with a particular interest in the impact of childhood attachment trauma on parenting capacity. Alice delivers attachment and relationship-based practice training to social care practitioners within the UK and Ireland. and has published work in the Child and Family Social Work and Children England journals. Her most recent publications include a chapter titled ‘Working with cases of neglect and emotional abuse’, featured in ‘Child Protection and the Care Continuum’ and a practice guided titled ‘Attachment Trauma and Parenting, commissioned by Community Care Inform.

Heidi Dix, senior social work lecturer, University of Suffolk

Heidi has been a qualified social worker since 1997 and has experience of both adult and children’s services. She has worked in both the statutory and third sector provision and since 2007 has worked as a manager within Suffolk’s Youth Justice Service (YJS) (part-time) as the lead for quality assurance and practice development. Within the University of Suffolk, she is a senior lecturer in Social Work. Heidi is passionately committed to social justice. She is the safeguarding trustee for Outreach Youth, a charitable incorporated organisation for young people who are LGBTQIA+.  Her interests include social work practice learning, relationship-based, trauma-informed practice and exploring co-production with children and young people in the youth justice system.

Dr Jason Schaub, lecturer in social work, University of Birmingham

Dr Jason Schaub is a lecturer in social work at University of Birmingham. He is a qualified social worker; before entering academia, he was a social worker and social work manager in the USA, Ireland and the UK in mental health and children’s services for over ten years.

His work focusses on gender and sexuality, particularly about how social work and social care works with LGBTQ+ service users, predominantly using evidence-based methodologies and mixed methods. His research has been funded by a various organisations including charities and national funders.

Jenefer Rees, principal social worker for adults, London Borough of Islington, and chair, Adult Principal Social Worker Network

Jenefer Rees is the principal social worker for Islington Adult Social Care, and the chair of the National Adults Principal Social Worker Network. Having been a social worker, team manager, service manager and now principal social worker, Jenefer is a keen educator, being a qualified practice educator and vocational assessor, and maintains a strong link with social work practice as a practising best interests assessor.

Marie Price, senior lecturer in social work, University of Chichester

Qualified in social work, counselling and supervision I have spent most of my career working with, researching or writing about loss, death and bereavement.

When I first qualified as a social worker and worked with children, especially through fostering and adoption, I realised that loss was something that accompanied every area of life. Even when the situation appeared joyful or longed for. None more so than when working in various hospices in England and Wales and supporting people facing the ultimate loss – the loss of their own lives. Following that I was then continuing to provide care for their loved ones, after their death, and witnessing the very different approaches to dealing with bereavement.

More recently, and through the pandemic, I have worked on a project with my local hospice on supporting teachers and other school staff to support the children they teach. Helping them to manage their losses and bereavements while also managing their own feelings of uncertainty and loss. Alongside this I wrote a chapter for Social Work and Covid 19 where I talk about the support that we all need when dealing with loss and bereavement especially through the provision of supervision.

Rachel Lovelady, service manager, local authority

I am a social worker currently practicing in the north of England. My first role as a newly qualified social was in a health and disability team. There I worked with children who were the subject of child protection and child-in-need plans. I also supported children through care proceedings and children in the care of the local authority. I then took on a role as deputy manager of a children’s home for children with disabilities for a short while.

I became an advanced social work practitioner in 2019, supporting newly qualified social workers and students, undertaking audit and other quality assurance activities, facilitating training and workshops and other project work. In July 2021, I started a new role as service manager of a child protection and child-in-need team. I’m interested in the impact of relationship-based practice, systemic approaches to social work and working with new social workers to support their development.

I have been hosting and facilitating conversations within my local authority around anti-discriminatory - and more specifically anti-racist practice - and am passionate about continuing these discussions.

Alex Greenchester, social worker, AMHP (approved mental health professional) and BIA (best interest assessor)

Alex Greenchester is a social worker, AMHP (approved mental health professional) and BIA (best interest assessor). Alex completed their MA in social work at Goldsmiths in 2008 and they have worked in several roles for a local authority since that time, including working with older adults, in child protection, in mental health services, emergency duty teams and with the South East London Teaching Partnership. Alex currently works as a senior manager in an NHS trust, leading on community mental health teams from a service improvement perspective.

Jim Rogers, senior lecturer, School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln

Jim has taught at the University of Lincoln for over 20 years on a variety of health and social care programmes, largely those relating to social work. He is currently programme leader for professional post graduate courses relating to mental health and mental capacity.

In terms of research activity, Jim has published a number of systematic reviews, including reviews on substance misuse during the Covid-19 pandemic; gambling and primary care; and gambling and suicide. He has conducted primary research in a range of settings including care homes, mutual help groups, and homelessness services. He has led or been part of teams involved in a number of service reviews.

Jim has co-authored two social work textbooks; Social Work in a Digital Society (2012) and Social Work with Adults (2015).

Jim was recently appointed co-chair of a national academic forum for the study of gambling, a new body aimed at developing and promoting research on the subject.

Andy Butler, principal social worker (Adults), Surrey County Council

Andy has the policy lead for the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) within Surrey County Council and responsibility for authorising DOLS requests. He has responsibility for Guardianship applications under the Mental Health Act in Surrey and also Deputyship Applications under the Mental Capacity Act.

Andy was the instructing manager for Surrey County Council in the 2014 Supreme Court case P & Q (by their litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) (Appellants) v Surrey County Council (Respondent) and Cheshire West. He is a member of the combined Ministry of Justice and COP Court User Group and a member of the ad hoc COP Rules Committee, respectively reviewing the process for court applications and the Court of Protection Rules, following the Supreme Court judgement.

Andy is a member of the National Mental Capacity Forum, Leadership Group, chaired by Baroness Finlay, representing the National Principal Social Worker Network for Adults. He has represented the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) on a number of national policy reference groups. He worked with the Department of Health on developing The Care Act guidance and is a member of the National Policy Advisory Group for NHS Continuing Healthcare. He is currently working with The Ministry of Justice as a member of a working group reviewing and revising the MCA Code of Practice and is working with The Department of Health and Social Care regarding the implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) and with Social Work England regarding the development of the training standards for the new role of Approved Mental Capacity Professional under LPS.

Andy is an experienced group facilitator, trainer, and lecturer on a wide range of health and social care related issues. He is married with four children and one grandchild. He has been regularly sitting as a Presiding Judge in magistrate’s courts in Hampshire for over 30 years and in 2019 was appointed as a Court of Protection Visitor by the Lord Chancellor.

Andy was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Social Worker Awards in 2017.

Russ Bellenie, principal social worker (children), London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Russ Bellenie has a long-standing passion for children’s social care. Training as a qualified teacher, he transitioned into social care after working with street children in Brazil and Russia. Completing his MA in Social Work, he has worked for several local authorities across London and completed the first year of Family Therapy training as part of the Systemic Model. He is passionate about restorative justice and has served on his local Youth Offending panel for 10 years. Currently he is the children’s principal social worker for London Borough of Barking and Dagenham where he is involved in building strategic partnerships, leading on issues of marginalisation, establishing the practice culture within children’s social care and initiating innovative practice.

Gemma Winspear, advanced practitioner, Medway Council

Gemma Winspear is an advanced practitioner with the Principal Social Work Team at Medway Council under principal social worker, Lori Goossen.

Gemma takes the lead for newly qualified social workers in Medway, who are completing their ASYE. She also supports Medway’s international social workers in post. Gemma develops and delivers training, particularly around trauma and the impact of trauma, helping to develop a trauma-informed workforce.

Gemma has been a social worker for over 15 years. She has experience working in frontline social work teams and adoption before moving to the Principal Social Work Team in February 2021.