Our Board is made up of our Chair and Board members. You can read the biographies for each member of the Board below.
You can read more about the responsibilities of the Board in our Legislation and Framework document
Our Board formally meets four times each year. You can find out about these meetings and download reports on our Board meeting reports page.
Sally Cheshire CBE is an experienced Chair, Board member and Audit Chair across the public sector and is an adoptive parent of three children. She was a Board Member of the regional adoption agency, Adoption Counts, and served for many years as an independent member of Adoption Panels in the North West, which approve adopters and family matches in the best interests of children. She is also the Chair of NHS Resolution, a member of the Departmental Audit and Risk Assurance Committee at the Department of Work and Pensions, and is a Board member of the Care Quality Commission.
Sally has held several senior leadership roles across the NHS and the wider health and care sector, including Chair of the HFEA, the UK’s regulator of the fertility sector and embryo research, and with Health Education England, NHS North and the Health Research Authority.
Sally previously enjoyed a successful corporate career with Deloitte, one of the global professional services firms and, having moved into public sector work, is passionate about improving the quality of public services offered to families and patients and, in her adoption work, ensuring children’s wishes and feelings are respected and decisions taken in their best interests.
Eileen Munro is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics. She has written extensively on how to improve reasoning in child protection work, covering how best to combine intuitive and analytic reasoning, and also on the importance of understanding how the organisational system influences workers’ actions. In 2011, she completed the Munro Review of the English Child Protection System.
Eileen has since been working with the Signs of Safety organisation on whole system re-design to support Signs of Safety practice with families, thereby testing the feasibility of implementing her Review recommendations. Returning to her roots in philosophy, Eileen is also working within a five -year philosophy of social technology project that is exploring the implications of complex causality for using research findings in a new location and how this challenges traditional evidence-based practice.
Dalwardin is a member of the Parole Board, a Non-Executive Director for the NHS, a community development officer for St Francis de Sales Federation of schools in Tottenham, and the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Middlesex County Cricket Club. He is also an adviser to the Mayor of London on Equality and Diversity. During his time as a police superintendent, he was Deputy Chair of the Children’s Safeguarding Board in Tower Hamlets. Dalwardin is a regular contributor on BBC Radio 4/5 and BBC/ITV News on a wide range of policing and community issues.
Steven Cox is an independent consultant, working with clients on their corporate strategies, including how they can embed a strategic approach to equity, workplace inclusion and workforce diversity, as well as leadership development and executive coaching. The majority of Steven’s career has been in the private sector enabling organisational improvement through the delivery of mission critical transformational technology services to Central Government Departments, non-Departmental bodies, Agencies and other public sector bodies. Steven has held several other advisory roles to private and third-sector organisations.
Catherine Doran has a background in social work, safeguarding and policy development. She was previously an Executive Director of Children’s Services in London before retiring. She has worked in a variety of public sector services for over 36 years. Her portfolio at Executive level has spanned both central and local government, the NHS and, more recently, the not-for profit sector.
Catherine was a Non-Executive Director at the Disclosure and Barring Service before joining Cafcass. She is presently on the Children’s Advisory Board of the British Board of Film Classification and a safeguarding trustee for the Save the Children Fund Board.
Peter is a solicitor with over 25 years’ experience as a Government Lawyer, most recently as (interim) Treasury Solicitor and Permanent Secretary of the Government Legal Department (GLD). He began his career as a litigation solicitor in private practice before joining the Government Legal Service in 1994. He has held a number of senior legal roles across government, including as Legal Adviser to the Cabinet Office, Head of the Attorney General’s Office and Legal Adviser to the Home Office. Peter was an executive member of GLD’s Board from 2014 until leaving the civil service in April 2021. He is currently Chair of the Fitness to Practice Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and is also chair of the Expert Advisory Panel at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
Helen Jones is an experienced risk, compliance and regulatory policy practitioner, with both public and commercial cross-sectoral experience in financial services and non-executive experience in social housing, services for children and young people, and occupational pensions. Helen worked in various senior risk roles for the Bank of England and for the Financial Services Authority, before working for Lloyds Banking Group.
Helen was a board member of the then YMCA London South West (now St Paul’s Group) for over 20 years, latterly as Chair of the Board and has chaired the Board of the YMCA pension scheme for the last 12 years. She is a magistrate and member of the Greater London Family Panel.
Helen is the Lead Magistrate for the Central Family Court and a member of the Family Court Committee of the Magistrates Association. She is also a member of the Private Law Working Group, established by the President of the Family Division. Helen is also a non-executive director of a family mediation charity.
Mandy first joined the Civil Service in 1990 as Policy Lead for the Prison Service Medical Directorate, whereafter she has undertaken a range of roles based in various locations across the UK and in France. The majority of her career has been focused on operational delivery, organisational improvement, change management and programme delivery, working in the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and for the Cabinet Office.
Working at senior level for the last 15 years of her career, Mandy was accountable for the delivery of a number of major organisational change programmes which included:
- the creation and launch of the National Asylum Support Service across the UK regions and Scotland;
- the Evian Programme – transformation of the UK/French Border to increase dynamic security and reduce risk to the UK;
- the development and launch of a single HR expert service (recruitment/selection and career transition) for delivery to the entire Civil Service;
- engagement with the Nigerian Government to enable signing of the bilateral agreement and facilitation of prisoner transfers; and
- the development and launch of a complex case management approach for women offenders.
On leaving the Civil Service, she worked as Business Development Director for NSL where she engaged with public bodies to enable effective document authentication and identity validation to prevent illegal working, identity theft and fraud.
Mandy is currently a full-time foster carer and foster care ambassador based in Kent, where she lives with her husband and adult children. As a care leaver herself, and from the work she undertook within the National Prison and Probation Service, she understands the impact individuals can have in helping others change their lives and create better futures.
Joanna Nicolas is a child protection consultant and trainer and has been a social worker for twenty-five years. She holds a number of advisory roles across a wide range of organisations in the public, private and third sectors, that are seeking advice and expertise about safeguarding and child protection. Joanna works with organisations on a long or short-term basis. She also leads child safeguarding practice reviews and assessments of individuals working in a position of trust with children.
Joanna develops and delivers safeguarding training. She is a core trainer for her Local Safeguarding Children Partnership. 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 practical issues that professionals face. She writes regularly for a range of outlets, including the Guardian and Community Care.
Catharine brings a wealth of experience to Cafcass having spent 14 years working in public service as a non-executive director, principally for national regulators. She is currently a Senior Independent Director for The Gambling Commission, the Deputy Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, a Director (non-executive) of the Chartered Insurance Institute, sitting on the board of the Personal Finance Society. She is a Trustee for CPotential, a charity which provides a range of services and support for children and young people who have movement disorders. She also sits on tribunals in mental health and employment as a lay assessor on civil cases in the county courts, on the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and she is a presiding magistrate in Central London. Catharine is also a Course Tutor for the Civil Service College.
Rohan Sivanandan worked as an economist and senior executive in the private sector before moving into the education field. He worked across all phases of education, latterly as an education chief officer. Subsequently, Rohan set up his own consultancy specialising in organisational development, training and leadership coaching. He has been a trustee/director of a children’s charity, a school governor, an arts charity trustee, a mentor and coach for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority children and young people.
Currently, Rohan is a magistrate in criminal and family courts; chairs panels on the Lord Chancellor’s Magistrates’ Advisory Committee for London; chairs fitness to practice hearings for Social Work England; works as an independent member of the Greater London Authority on Mayoral appointments; chairs Mental Health hearings; and is an awards assessor for the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence. Rohan is the Cafcass Board lead on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
Dr Susan Smith is a Professor of Accounting at University College London (UCL). Susan is also a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Susan is an elected member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (‘ICAEW’) Council representing the South East and member of the ICAEW Ethical Standards Committee.