Expert working group
About the Expert Working Group
The Expert Working Group is co-chaired by Peter Fonagy and Dame Christine Lenehan – See their biographies below – and combines the knowledge of experienced professionals from the health, social care, academic and voluntary sectors, people who use services, together with the SCIE project team.
SCIE has a commitment to co-production. This means we work in partnership with people who are experts by experience. For this project, we have young people with experience of being in care on the group, as well as people who are working as frontline practitioners in health and social care.
The Expert Working Group’s role in the project is advisory. Throughout the project it will play a crucial part in considering the best available evidence to assist in developing the care pathways, models of care and quality principles, and ensuring that the project develops products that will be of real value and use in the future.
You can read more about each member of the Expert Working Group below.
Expert Working Group co-chairs
Peter Fonagy, OBE FMedSci FBA Open
- Director, UCL Partners Integrated Mental Health Programme
- National Clinical Adviser on Children’s Mental Health NHS England
- Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis and Head of the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at University College London
- Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, London
- Consultant to the Child and Family Programme at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine
- Holds visiting professorships at Yale and Harvard Medical Schools
Peter’s current responsibilities include being National Clinical Advisor to NHS England, Programme Director of the UCL Partners Integrated Mental Health Programme and Director of Research and Development at North East London Foundation Trust. He is leader of the Mental Health theme in the North Thames CLAHRC and is serving his second term as Senior Investigator for the National Institute of Health Research.
Peter's thought about the project
Dame Christine Lenehan Open
Christine is a passionate advocate for disabled children, young people and their families. She began her career as a social worker in 1980 and worked extensively with children and their families in specialist roles in both residential and community settings. In 2000 she joined the Council for Disabled Children and became Director in 2003. As Director she champions the rights of children and young people and challenges the barriers that lead to exclusion. A key part of her role involves working with ministers, civil servants and statutory agencies to examine and advise on policy and support the development of practical improvements.
During her time as Director she has helped establish the long-running Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, co-chaired the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum, and served on the board of Healthwatch England until 2015.
In 2009 she was awarded an OBE for services for disabled children and young people and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. In 2016 she was awarded a Damehood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Alison O’Sullivan Open
Alison O’Sullivan, Chair of Trustees, National Children’s Bureau
Alison is a former Co-Chair of this Expert Working Group and has worked extensively in the children’s sector in senior roles. Alison has dedicated her career to improving the lives of children in the UK. She currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Children’s Commissioner for England and was was elected Vice President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services in 2014/15. She served as its President during 2015/16. Alison became Chair at the National Children’s Bureau in 2019.
Expert Working Group members
Polly Ashmore Open
Project Manager, Children and Young People’s Mental Health (CYPMH) Team, NHS England
As project manager leading on vulnerable groups in NHS England’s CYPMH team, Polly will be feeding in NHS England’s work in this area to the group. She is also looking forward to engaging closely with the expert working group’s work on the best approaches to improving access and services for looked after children.
Linda Briheim-Crookall Open
Senior Policy and Practice Development Manager, Coram Voice
Linda Briheim-Crookall is Senior Policy and Practice Development Manager at Coram Voice. Linda has worked in policy and research for over 15 years, specialising in children in care and care leaver issues for the last eight years. She previously lead the policy work of Catch22’s National Care Advisory Service, focussed on improving services for care leavers.
Linda is joint representative of the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers (ACCCL) on the expert working group, together with David Graham. ACCCL is the pre-eminent sector-wide organisation that represents all the main voluntary sector organisations that work to support children in care and care leavers.
Tony Clifford Open
Head of Virtual School for Children in Care, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
As a Head of Virtual School (statutory post in all Local authorities, following the Children and Families Act 2014) Tony is responsible for the education, training and employment pathways for 820 children in care and care leavers aged 0-25.
Tony has worked with young people since 1980 in mainstream and special schools, latterly as a Head. He has been a Virtual Head since 2009 and is an Ofsted Inspector. He is the policy lead on ‘Attachment Aware Schools’ for the National Association of Virtual School Head teachers [NAVSH], and has provided education expertise to the NICE guideline on Attachment 2015 and submitted to the Commons Select Committee on the Mental Health of Children in Care in December 2015.
Tony is working with colleagues across a number of Virtual Schools to support schools to be ‘attachment aware’ and to carry out action research.
Sally Donovan Open
Sally has written two books related to her adoption experience, ‘No Matter What’ and ‘The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting’, as well as a short novel for children, ‘Billy Bramble and the Great Big Cook Off’. She writes blogs and articles for Community Care for which she has won two national Columnist of the Year Awards. She is now the editor of the Adoption UK membership magazine Adoption Today. She regularly speaks at conferences and training events to families and professionals about the adopter experience and real life adoptive parenting and engages with these groups to share experience via social media. Sally is also a member of the Expert Advisory Group for Adoption Support.
Sharon Goldman Open
Children’s Active Involvement Service Manager, Islington Children’s Services
Sharon currently manages the children’s rights and participation service for the London Borough of Islington, which she has been doing for the last 12 years. She meets children and young people most days and enjoys working with them enormously. She has been working with looked after children and care leavers for most of her 30 year working life.
Previously, Sharon has worked as a youth worker, a residential worker and deputy in children’s homes, as a social worker, and as a health and social care lecturer. She has worked with children and young people at all stages of the care journey from coming into care, making and supporting residential, foster and adoptive placements, and working with care leavers.
Professor Jonathan Green Open
Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Manchester
As a researcher Jonathan has undertaken research into the developmental consequences of early disrupted care for children in looked after care, as well as children after adoption, YPLAAC. The consequences of his research and others have important implications for the nature and organisation of treatment provision in this area, which has in the past often not been well served within CAMHS or the health service.
As a clinician, Jonathan runs a specialist social development clinic assessing and treating children with disrupted social development following early risks - both of a biological and relational kind.
Dr Renu Jainer Open
Consultant Paediatrician, Heart of England NHS Trust
Renu is currently working as a Consultant in Community Paediatrics and as the Designated Doctor for Looked after Children in the Midlands. She has been working in paediatrics since 1999.
Renu’s main interest is the health of looked after children. She was the regional lead for a looked after children health group meeting supported by Coram -BAAF from 2012 to 2104, and has been the looked after children representative for the child protection committee of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) since June 2014. She is also the medical advisor to the Independent Review Mechanism.
Chloe Juliette Open
Expert by experience
Chloe is 26. She currently works part time in Birmingham, taking a short break from working full time on short- and long-term community projects, studying, and other arts-based commitments. She has worked on projects with vulnerable people such as the homeless and care leavers, and wants to focus her energy more precisely once she's taken the time to reflect on her learnings from the past few years.
Chloe was a New Belongings Advisor, where she was keen to focus the project on mental health issues.
She has led workshops and facilitated discussions with a wide range of professionals.
Matt Langsford Open
Expert by experience
Matt is 24, and was in care from the age of 10–18 and was homeless twice during this time with over 20 different placements.
He's currently an independent consultant providing advice and expertise around improving services for those in or leaving care, or living in social housing. Matt is also an Expert Advisor to the Care Leavers’ Foundation New Belongings project, which involves working with local authorities to develop a gold standard for leaving care services.
He has also been a LILAC assessor – assessing services provided by local authorities, private and VCS organisations to looked after children and young people.
Eamon McCrory Open
Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology / Consultant Clinical Psychologist, University College London
Eamon is Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology at UCL and Director of the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit.
He is also a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with a specialism in children who have experienced maltreatment presenting with severe behavioural problems and has an interest in helping children as early as possible in ways that might reduce the risk of future mental health problems.
Eamon is also Director of Postgraduate Studies at the Anna Freud Centre and leads the UCL-Yale MRes in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology.
Glynis Marsh Open
Workforce development manager, Southampton City Council (moving to be Child in Care Team Manager, Isle of Wight in Sept 2016)
Glynis qualified in social work in 1986 and began her career with Bolton Social Services, joining the NSPCC as a Child Protection Officer from 1989 to 2002, becoming an expert in child protection, post abuse therapy, and national trainer.
Then, between 2002 and 2009 she managed a Looked after Children’s team, before becoming a practice learning coordinator in 2009.
In 2011 Glynis became a learning and development consultant for children’s services with Capita, and was a Finalist for ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. Glynis has been a helpdesk expert for the College of Social Work, and is a member of BASW Professional Development Group. Glynis won a Skills for Care Accolade 2013/14 for ‘Best ASYE support’.
She took up her current post as Child in Care Team Manager with the Isle of Wight 2016.
Steve Miley Open
Director of Family Services, L.B. Hammersmith and Fulham, Tri Borough Children's Services and a member of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS)
As a manager of social care in a local authority Steve is committed to developing the most effective interventions that improve the outcomes for looked after children and especially those young people with the greatest needs. Steve is a social worker by trade and has experience of managing social work services for children living at home, those who are looked after and also managing the Tri Borough fostering and adoption service. Additionally, Steve sits on the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs policy committee.
As a child, Steve was looked after and long-term fostered, and although that was many years ago and services have changed significantly since then, that experience drives his commitment to looked after children and developing the most effective services possible for them.
Gwyneth Nightingale Open
Designated Nurse Children in Care, Virgin Care Limited
Gwyneth starter her nursing career in 1977 and qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1980.
Gwyneth’s interest in working with children in care led to her appointment as a Children in Care nurse in 2004. She realised that she had the ability, passion, drive and vision to influence and shape service design and delivery, and in 2008 was appointed the Designated Nurse for Devon Children and Young People in Care.
Gwyneth works to positively support change management where necessary, involving staff and key players as part of the consultation and implementation to any changes that are required. She advocates for young people on a daily basis and supports all those working with children in care to do the same.
Filmon Russom Open
Expert by experience
Filmon is 19 and has been in care since he was 11. He has been in a foster placement with his younger sister and is now staying put. He is studying for a Degree in Sports and Exercise Science and loves athletics and football. He is Manchester United supporter. He describes himself as enthusiastic and flexible. Filmon has been involved with the Corporate Parenting Board in Islington.
Dr Miriam Silver Open
Consultant Clinical Psychologist, ICHA (I am also involved in the BPS, as chair of CPLAAC)
Miriam is an experienced Consultant Clinical Psychologist with a particular interest in parenting, attachment relationships and children who live outside their family of origin.
Until 2011, Miriam led an NHS CAMHS team offering therapeutic work to children who are Looked After and Adopted. For 15 years, she acted as an independent court expert in more than 200 cases for the Family Court, typically Care Proceedings and very complex custody cases. She now runs a company, LifePsychol Ltd, that delivers clinical psychology services to placement providers and has the goal of driving up standards for looked after children through the use of psychological assessments and formulations and the regular use of outcome measurements.
Miriam was on the committee for the Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families (CYPF) within the British Psychological Society. She is chair of the national network of Clinical Psychologists working with Looked After and Adopted Children (CPLAAC). She was also on the BPS/FJC reference group for psychology expert witnesses to the family court and the NICE GDG for attachment interventions. Miriam has an honorary academic connection with Leicester University.
Jack Smith Open
Expert by experience
Jack is 21 and will be starting university in September to study politics. He is involved with the Who Care’s Trust and attended a DfE away day with the Children in Care team to speak about his experiences. He shadowed the team last summer and has been working with Martin Narey about his perspectives of residential accommodation.
Jack wants to be involved in the Expert Working Group as he’s passionate about making things better for other young people who have been in care, drawing on his own experiences of what worked well and less well. He also has a strong interest in politics.
Kevin Williams Open
CEO, The Fostering Network
Kevin has been CEO of The Fostering Network for 12 months. The Fostering Network is the leading charity supporting foster carers and fostering services.
Kevin has been a social worker for over 30 years working in children’s services.
Kevin has given evidence to select committees including on the mental health of looked after children. Kevin is a published author on foetal alcohol spectrum disorders and looked after children.
Dr Matt Woolgar Open
Consultant Clinical Psychologist, National Adoption & Fostering Service, SLAM NHS Trust
Matt is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the National Adoption & Fostering Service and the National Conduct Problems Clinic, Maudsley Hospital, London. He is also the module lead for UCL/KCL for Parenting for CYP-IAPT.
Matt was an academic before training as a clinician. He has a particular interest in the assessment and treatment of complex presentations of adopted children or children from the care system.
Matt’s current research interests include the application of evidence-based parenting programmes to special populations, including adopted children, children in care and children with callous-unemotional traits. He also publishes on the identification and treatment of attachment disorders. Matt was an author on the RCT supported Fostering Changes Programme.
Linda Wright Open
Deputy Manager, Education and Professional Services, Clayfields House Secure Children’s Home and Secure Accommodation Network
Linda has been in her current position on the Senior Management Team at Clayfields House Secure Children’s Home for eight years.
Her responsibilities at Clayfields have included the management of education, special educational needs and inclusion generally; the interface with primary and secondary health service contracts including CAMHS and staff training.
Linda is currently the project lead for a capacity building programme within Clayfields House which is grant funded. This is directly linked to NHS England work on the integrated framework of care for children experiencing complex difficulties most specifically but not exclusively in the area of attachment and trauma.
Linda has represented The Secure Accommodation Network on various national project groups – including the Youth Offending Project Advisory Group which redrafted the 2014 SEND Code of.
Carol McCauley Open
Commissioning Manager, Children & Young People's Commissioning Team, Birmingham South Central, Birmingham Cross City, Sandwell and West Birmingham and Solihull CCGs
Richard Field Open
Richard is a single foster carer for an inner London borough, he has provided short term care, respite care and currently has two siblings in long-term placement. Richard is also a supported lodgings carer for the Albert Kennedy Trust. He has been a carer for the past eight years and has looked after children for periods of between two weeks and two and a half years. Richard is also a trustee of The Fostering Network.
Richard is a trained teacher and a qualified educational psychologist and has worked in over 60 different schools both teaching, assessing and supporting vulnerable children and their families as well as those working with them over the past 17 years. He has worked on the frontline with specialist mental health services as well as in multi-agency teams in his role as an educational psychologist.
For the past year Richard has been attending and facilitating access to regular CAMHS services for the two children he currently cares for as well as receiving supervision and CAMHS support himself to manage the complex needs of the children. Richard is passionate about raising awareness and enhancing skills to manage complex mental health needs in looked after children for frontline staff.
Doug Simkiss Open
Clinical Director for the Children and Families Division of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Doug Simkiss is Clinical Director for the Children and Families Division of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and an honorary Associate Professor in Child Health at Warwick Medical School. He is Designated doctor for looked after children in Birmingham and has previously done this role in Warwickshire also. His PhD explored the risk factors associated with children entering care and he recently led a NIHR Programme Development Grant research team looking at the experience of children in care with mental illness transitioning to adult mental health services. He has served on three NICE committees developing guidance on looked after children.
David Graham Open
National Director, Care Leavers Association
David Graham is The Care Leavers' Association National Director joining the CLA in October 2010. A 20 year employment history includes spells working within supported accommodation, delivering outreach services to young people and health promotion. Prior to joining the CLA, David was an Assistant Director at the Big Life Group working to empower disadvantaged groups to help themselves and focusing on areas such as homelessness, employment and improving mental health and wellbeing. He lives in the Yorkshire countryside but still dutifully supports Manchester United.
Cathy James Open
Multisystemic Therapy Programme Lead, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Expert by Experience
Phillip McGill Open
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Team Manager, Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust
Dr. Oliver Sindall Open
Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist, British Psychological Society
Oliver is our Expert Working Group’s British Psychological Society (BPS) representative and is a member of the BPS committee for the Children, Young People and Families (CYPF) Faculty. He has worked in a number of mental health settings and has provided psychological assessment and treatment to a variety of client groups, including adolescent inpatients, children in care, young people with intellectual disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder, as well as those suffering from severe and enduring mental illness (depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis etc.). He has also carried out research into risk assessment in medium secure units, prisons and the community.
Oliver currently works for South West London and St George’s NHS Mental Health Trust in London, specialising in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for young offenders, and is the Chair of the London-wide Youth Justice CAMHS Forum.
Dr. Sheila Redfern Open
Head of Specialist Clinical Services for Trauma and Maltreatment, Anna Freud Centre.
Sheila is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who has over 20 years experience of working in child and adolescent mental health and who specialises in working with children and young people with attachment difficulties, on the edge of care, and with histories of emotional and physical abuse and neglect. She has developed a model of mentalisation-based work for parents and foster carers called Reflective Parenting/Reflective Fostering. Sheila will be acting as an advisor to the SCIE research team for the project.
Sue Sylvester Open
Adviser - Children and Young People’s Mental Health Improvement Team, NHS England.
Sue has over 30 years experience in the NHS from a clinical background in nursing, midwifery and health visiting. She has also been a university lecturer, before moving into a primary care trust and then becoming a Children, Young People and Maternity Lead in a strategic health authority.
She has read Law and completed a further degree in Criminal Justice, through which she developed a keen interest in youth justice, mental health and the impact of these upon children and families.
From 2013, she has worked independently on a range of projects across the country in both youth justice, CAMHS and services for vulnerable children. She is currently an adviser to the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Improvement Team, NHS England.
Billy Smallwood Open
Billy Smallwood is Head of Clinical Services for Outcomes First Group a national provider of residential and education services for children, young people and adults with complex trauma, autism, learning difficulties and complex needs.
Billy has over 29 years’ experience working within residential, educational and outpatient services within the NHS, charity and independent sectors. She has had extensive practice and strategic management experience having been a senior manager and director at several internationally renowned therapeutic organisations. She has particular expertise in meeting the needs of traumatised children and young people placed in residential and foster care and extensive experience developing therapeutic models of practice to meet their social, emotional and mental health needs.
Billy is a Group Analyst and member of the Institute of Group Analysis.
Jan Slater Open
Director of Service Delivery – Child & Family and Education, PAC-UK
Jan has over 35 years experience as a qualified social work practitioner and manager. In recent years, Jan held senior positions in three large Midlands authorities managing services to looked after children, children’s disability services and the establishment of the Virtual School in two areas
Jan’s earliest work experience was in children’s homes as a residential social worker and it was here that her ongoing commitment to seeking improvements in services and opportunities for looked after children was initially developed. Jan values adoption, supported by skilled therapeutic support as a preferred solution for a sizeable group of children who have experienced early trauma and their families.
Most recently as Director of Adoption Support with Adoption UK, Jan led on a range of new developments to their family support services, in particular overseeing how their tried and tested peer-to-peer telephone support can be used to support families experiencing child to parent violence, including those in crisis and those experiencing disruption.
Gillian Ford Open
Deputy Chair LGA Children and Young People Board, Local Government Association (LGA)
Minutes of the meetings
After each Expert Working Group meeting, the minutes will be made available here to help promote the work of the Group.
- 11 July 2016 – first Expert Working Group meeting
- 12 October 2016 – second Expert Working Group meeting
- 15 November 2016 – third Expert Working Group meeting
- 26 January 2017 – fourth Expert Working Group meeting
- 7th March 2017 - fifth Expert Working Group meeting
- 26 April 2017 – sixth Expert Working Group meeting
- 12 June 2017 – seventh Expert Working Group meeting
- 17 July 2017 – eighth Expert Working Group meeting