Learn more about Cafcass’ Directors and Board members.
Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive
Anthony Douglas has been Chief Executive of Cafcass, the specialist national agency that supports over 125,000 children in public and private law cases every year, since 2004. Anthony started his career as an economist and journalist, but found his true passion in social work, where he worked on the frontline for 11 years. After being promoted through the ranks, Anthony became Executive Director for all community services in the London Borough of Havering in 1996, holding this post until 2002. He then went on to run health and social care services in Suffolk, from 2002 to 2004. He has been a school governor, a non-executive director of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and a government adviser on specific programmes, including youth justice, children in care and child protection. He was Chair of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) from 2005 – 2015. He has written four books on social care and is now writing a fifth book on how individuals, teams and organisations can become more resilient under pressure. Anthony was awarded a CBE in 2008 for his work in family justice and adoption.
Christine Banim OBE, National Service Director
Christine Banim joined Cafcass in November 2008 as Operational Director for the central area, and brings with her a wealth of experience in children’s services. Prior to joining Cafcass Christine had worked as Assistant Director in Lincolnshire and, over the previous 15 years, had worked in a number of local authorities at a senior manager level. Before taking on managerial roles, she worked in a specialist child protection unit for nine years and has extensive experience in court work. Christine was awarded an OBE in 2015 for her services to children.
Julie Brown, Director of Resources
Julie Brown joined Cafcass in 2008, having worked in both Adults and Children’s Social Care for a number of years. Prior to that, she worked in the Probation Service before its national reorganisation. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in the early 1990s, she worked for a number of years in both practice and industry until 2001, when she switched to, and then stayed, working within the public sector.
The Cafcass Board
Edward Timpson, CBE, Chair of the Cafcass Board
Edward is the former MP for Crewe and Nantwich (2008-2017) held roles as the Minister of State for Children and Families (2015-2016) and Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families at the Department for Education (2016-2017). He was also the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families between 2012 and 2015.
Before entering Parliament, Edward spent ten years working as a family law barrister specialising in children’s cases. Growing up, his family fostered 90 children over 30 years and he has two adopted brothers.
Fay Selvan – Board member, Chair of Quality Committee
Fay Selvan started working as a social entrepreneur in 1991 and established The Big Life group in 2002. It is the first group of social businesses and charities in the country and has a turnover of circa £19m. The group operates across the north of England and includes well-known brands such as Big Issue North. It offers opportunities to people who have the least, helping them get to where they want to be. It works in the fields of Health and Wellbeing, Children and Families, and Employment and Training. Fay won the Social Enterprise Leader England Award in 2011. Fay is also Chair of the New Charter Housing Group (2014 to present) and Chair of the International Network of Street Papers (2014 to present). Fay completed an Honours degree at Sussex University before moving to Manchester in 1980 and she completed an MSc in Strategic Leadership in 2001 at Salford University. Previous appointments include Executive Sponsor for the Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone (1999 to 2001); Chair of the Trafford North Primary Care Trust (2001 to 2006); Chair of the Trafford Healthcare Trust (2006 to 2012); Commissioner on the Channel 4 Street Weapons Commission (2010).
John Lakin - Board member, Chair of Performance Committee
John Lakin previously worked at PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (1988-2011) where he was the Partner responsible for Education and Children’s Services Consulting and also Head of Public Sector Policy, Research and Economics.
Prior to that he worked for the Inner London Education Authority (1985-1988) where he was the Head of the Leader’s Office and the Education Programme Manager for Hackney Inner City Partnership. He also had roles as Assistant Programme Controller for Economic Development and as Policy Researcher, European Affairs for the Greater London Council (1981-1985), and as a Finance Officer for Hillingdon Area Health Authority (1981).
Francis Plowden - Board member, Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
Francis Plowden is currently a Trustee of CARE International (UK) and the Edward James Foundation (West Dean College). Previously, he was Chairman of CEOP, the national centre for the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation, and a Board member of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (2009-13).
Among other public and private sector roles Francis was a Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission (2006-2012); Chairman of the Greenwich Foundation (2003-2011); a Board member of ITNET plc (2001- 2005) and Hedra plc (2007-2008).
Formerly a Chairman of the National Council for Palliative Care (2001-2008), he has also carried out advisory work for many Government departments, including the Ministry of Justice. He was a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and at Coopers and Lybrand, where he was responsible for work for Government (1987-1995) and then led the company as Managing Partner International Affairs (1995-1998) and Head of work for Governments worldwide (1998-2001).
Stuart Smith - Board member
Stuart Smith is the Director of Adults & Children Services for Calderdale Council where he was appointed to lead the council’s strategy to meet the requirements of the DfE Improvement Notice for Children’s Social Care. This service was subsequently removed from intervention. Stuart has more recently led on several children’s services innovation programmes and is now driving the integration of health and adult social care functions.
Previously Stuart was employed as Director of Education, Skills and Communities at Wigan Borough Council where he led on the new relationships with schools and the redesign of the school improvement service, and also the Executive Director of Children, Adult and Family Services at Liverpool City Council (2001-2011) where he was responsible for budgets in excess of £800m and oversaw a large increase in school attainment at all levels.
In previous roles he has been:
- Assistant Director, Students and Communities at Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (1999-2001)
- Head of Behaviour Support Services, Kent County Council (1995-1999)
- Deputy Principal Youth Officer
- Wirral LEA (1992-1995); Training and Development Officer
- Wirral LEA (1990-1992) and Community Development Officer
- Dudley MBC (1987-1990).
He has also held various teaching and youth worker roles.
Caroline Corby - Board member
Caroline Corby worked in the city for 13 years specialising in private equity where she also served on a number of private sector boards across a range of industries. In 2007 she joined the Board of London Probation Trust (LPT) and she served as Chair of LPT from 2012 until July 2014. Caroline is a Non-Executive Director of the Criminal Cases Review Commissions, the Architects Registration Board and JML Ltd, and she is also a member of the Parole Board Management Committee. In addition she chairs Fitness to Practice Panels for the Nursing and Midwifery Council and she chairs the Investigation Committee of the General Optical Council.
Deep Sagar - Board member
Deep Sagar had a career in the private sector, working in senior management for companies like Coca-Cola and Unilever internationally. More recently he has had many non-executive roles across sectors. His present roles include Chair of the Audit and Assurance Board of the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Member of the Parole Board. Previously he held roles such as Chair of G3 (Inspiring Individuals) and Turnstone Support and Non-Executive Director of HM Inspectorate of Education.
Paul Grant - Board member
Paul Grant has been the ‘Responsible Individual’ and a Director of an Independent Fostering Agency since 2012. He has held several non-executive director positions since 2007 and is currently a non-executive director of Nottingham City Care Partnership, a social enterprise that delivers community health services on behalf of the NHS. In 2014 Paul was appointed as a lay panel member of the Health & Care Professions Council’s fitness to practice panel. In March 2017 he was appointed as a Panel Chair. His previous career was in regeneration (Deputy Chief Executive of the New Deal for Communities programme in Nottingham), and in criminal justice and rehabilitation. He has been a volunteer educational advocate since 1998 when he co-founded Nottingham Black Families in Education.
Mark Hedley - Judicial Adviser to the Board
Having graduated from Liverpool University in 1968 Mark Hedley was called to the Bar in 1969. After completing Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Sudan, Mark later practiced as a barrister in Liverpool until 1992, acting as Head of Chambers from 1983. He specialised in issues affecting the most vulnerable in society, including child welfare, housing, compensation and crime. In 1992 Mark became a circuit judge in Liverpool, specialising increasingly in law related to children. He was a member of the Children Act Advisory Committee as well as Course Director for family law at the Judicial College. He became a High Court Judge in the Family Division in 2002 until he retired 11 years later in 2013. Since retirement Mark has been Visiting Professor in Law at Liverpool Hope University.
Joanna Nicolas - Co-opted Board member
Joanna Nicolas is a child protection consultant and trainer, and has been a social worker for twenty-one years. She holds a number of advisory roles across a wide range of organisations in the public, private and third sectors, who need advice and expertise around safeguarding and child protection, including acting as national safeguarding advisor to Home-Start UK. Joanna works with organisations on a long or short-term basis. She also leads serious case reviews. Joanna develops and delivers safeguarding training. She is a core trainer for her Local Safeguarding Children Board. She is a national commentator on safeguarding children and social work, appearing regularly across the BBC, Sky and ITV. She speaks at national conferences. She is a published author; her books focus on the practical issues professionals face. She writes regularly for a range of outlets including the Guardian and Community Care.
Professor Simon Hackett - Academic Adviser to the Quality Committee
Simon is Professor of Applied Social Sciences and Principal of St Mary’s College at Durham University. He has been involved in the field of safeguarding children for 25 years initially as a practitioner, manager and researcher. He has written extensively on the topic of social work with children and families, professional assessment and decision making, adoption of children, and child sexual abuse. His recent research includes a large randomised control trial of interventions for children who have been sexually abused, with Professor John Carpenter of the University of Bristol. Simon is Chair of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) which is a national child protection charity. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. He is former Co-Editor of the Journal ‘International Social Work’ and was formerly Editor of the ‘Journal of Sexual Aggression’. Simon is Academic Advisor to the Cafcass Quality Committee and sits on the Research Governance Committees.