Guests and Interviewees

on the Thoughts on the Social World podcast


For over 21 years the Ann Craft Trust (ACT) has championed the rights of disabled people and pushed forward the UK’s understanding of safeguarding. Today ACT supports the statutory, independent and voluntary sectors from across the UK to protect disabled children and vulnerable adults. Their campaigning focuses on injustices in the legal system, measures to prevent abuse and on making sure that those who are employed to work with disabled children and vulnerable adults are suitable to do so.
Annie Hudson, Chief Executive of The College of Social work. Previously Director of Social Services for Bristol. The role of The College of Social Work is to hold the standards for the profession and support and enable our members to meet those standards, be the voice of the profession to policy makers and the media, ensuring that their members speak up for the profession and be led by and accountable to their members in order to improve the outcomes for the people served by the social work profession.
Antonina Dashkina, President of Russian Union of Social Workers and Social Pedagogues, Vice President of INGO Conference, Council of Europe. Antonina obtained a degree in English at the Moscow State Pedagogical University, became a community worker in the 1980s and subsequently a Doctor of Social Work. She worked in the faculty of Pedagogical Sciences and became a lecturer on international social services at Moscow Pedagogical University. She has wide international experience and has worked on programmes administered from the UK since 1992. She co-founded the Russian European Trust in 1993.
Bridget Robb, Chief Executive at the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). BASW is the largest professional association for social work in the UK, with offices in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They promote the best possible social work services for all people who may need them, while also securing the well being of social workers.
David Akinsanya is a successful campaigner for Looked After children. David has addressed conferences for Barnardos, BAAF, Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and many others. He has made films with young people for Southend, Essex, Hertfordshire, and Cambridgeshire Police as well as with voluntary organisations around the UK. Most recently he was included in Debrett’s 2014 influential list.

David and Jenni now offer training for David Niven Associates titled ‘Working with looked after children: an experiential perspective‘ for those working with children in care. A crucial thread running through the day is the importance of listening to the voice of the child. For information on this training contact David Niven Associates on or 0845 833 0859.

David Jones is a registered social worker, qualifying in 1974.  He was appointed in 2010 as the Independent Chair of Leicester Safeguarding Children and Adults Boards. His varied career and substantial experience have focused on social work and social services in general, children’s services and child protection.  He helped launch the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs and is currently the Vice Chair.

David has worked internationally as Chair, Adviser and Consultant to several groups, policy committees, advisory boards and councils. He retired after 4 years as honorary President of the International Federation of Social Workers in 2010 and continues to play a leading role coordinating The Global Agenda for Social Work.  He was a visiting research fellow at Monmouth University, New Jersey during early 2014, editing the first report of The Global Agenda for Social Work.  He is a member of the Policy, Ethics and Human Rights Committee of the British Association of Social Workers.

Jane Evans, a Freelance & Associate Trainer, Trauma Parenting Specialist, Author,  Blogger, Speaker and Consultant. Jane focuses on attachment in early years, children and parenting effected by trauma – either post domestic violence or as with adoptive parents, foster or kinship carers. Author or ‘How are you feeling today baby bear?’ a domestic violence book for young children.
Jenni Randall, an independent social worker and therapist working primarily with children and young people who are or have been in public care, she is also a trainer at David Niven Associates. She can provide high quality statutory and voluntary social work to individuals or groups aimed to improve outcomes for young people and support for those providing care. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Social Work of the Year Awards in November 2014.
Jim Gamble brings over thirty years experience from the world of protective services and a strong reputation for successful delivery in counter terrorism, organized and hi-tech crime prevention and child protection.

A strong advocate of international multi-agency partnerships, Jim was the founding Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, the Association of Chief Police Officers lead on Child Protection and Child Trafficking and the founder and initial Chair of the Virtual Global Task Force, an international collaboration to make children safer online. His primary focus has been on developing effective multi-sector partnerships that make people safer. Jim was awarded the QPM for his services to policing.

John Devany, Director of Social Work Education at Queen’s University Belfast. John worked for twenty years in various social work posts within statutory social care services in Northern Ireland before moving into academia in 2006. He is currently chairperson of BASPCAN, and a member of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland. His current research interests relate to family violence, domestic violence, children who die or seriously injured through abuse and neglect and the impact of childhood adversity across the life course.
Jonathan Singer, an assistant professor of Social Work at Temple University and a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with children and families. He has always been an advocate of technology and began the ‘Social Work Podcast’.
Since April 2010 Jon Brown has been in post as Head of Strategy and Development with the NSPCC helping to take forward the new organisational strategy in relation to sexual abuse. Jon is responsible for the design and commissioning of service, policy and research development. In January 2012 he also took responsibility for leading the NSPCCs work with disabled children.

Jon is a qualified Social Worker with a Masters in Social Policy from the LSE. During his career as a Probation Officer and Social Worker he has been responsible for setting up and managing a range of sexual abuse services ranging from therapeutic services for child victims, services for children and young people with sexually harmful behaviour and services for adult sex offenders and he reflects on the work of the NSPCC.

Between 2003-07 Jon was Chair of NOTA, the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers and remains on the National Executive Committee. He is also a Trustee of the Loudoun Trust which exists to promote evidence based research and practice in the field of sexual aggression against children, he is a Board member of eNACSO (European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online) and he is a peer reviewer for the Economic and Social Research Council.

Prior to taking up this role with the NSPCC Jon was Operational Director of Children’s Services with Action for Children.

Kieran File is a media linguist and communication consultant. His PhD research explored the language of media interviews. In particular, he examined the ways in which interviewers and interviewees behaved in interviews to achieve a variety of public performance goals. Kieran works with high profile professional athletes to help them with their media interview skills. He is now working with social workers, both at managerial level and on the front line, to help them develop strategies for dealing with the demands of interviewing and the presentation of self in the media in a social work context.
Lyn Romeo has been the Chief Social Worker for adults since September 2013.

The Chief Social Worker for Adults works collaboratively with the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families 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

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.

Dr Neil Thompson, the Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Avenue Con­sult­ing Ltd. He has held full or honorary pro­fessor­ships at four UK universities. With many years’ expe­ri­ence of deal­ing with peo­ple and their prob­lems in a health and social wel­fare con­text, Neil offers con­sid­er­able exper­tise in organ­i­sa­tional devel­op­ment, espe­cially in staff and man­age­ment devel­op­ment, organ­i­sa­tional prob­lem solv­ing, ser­vice devel­op­ment and con­flict resolution.
 Nushra Mansuri currently works for the British Association of Social Workers as Professional Officer in England.   One of her key responsibilities is leading on children and families social work.  Nushra regularly acts as BASW’s spokesperson on child protection issues and has appeared on BBC Breakfast TV, This Morning, Channel 4 News, BBC News, Sky News, Dispatches, the Tonight programme, Radio 4 and a variety of national, international and local media.  Nushra initially qualified as a teacher of modern languages before switching to a career in social work, specialising in working with children and families – working in both the statutory and voluntary sector.  Nushra has an Ma in Childcare Law and Practice and has also completed the Advanced Award in Social Work.
Peter Garsden is the senior partner at Abney Garsden solicitors.  He is Head of the Child Abuse Department which he set up in 1994 and is now the largest dedicated Abuse compensation department in the country. Since 1996 Peter has been Lead Solicitor in over 25 different Group Actions involving over 1000 Claimants, including the largest award achieved in the area of Child Abuse Groups of £2.3million on behalf of 165 Claimants who were abused at homes managed by Manchester City Council. Peter has lectured and is a regular contributor on the subject of child abuse litigation in both legal journals and the national press. In 1997 Peter helped to set up ACAL (Association of Child Abuse Lawyers), a Claimant based organisation of compensation abuse lawyers dedicated to raising the standards of advice through training and support, of which he is now President. Peter was recently awarded Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards.
Sandra Trotman Meadows is the Chief Executive Officer of PEYTU, a Bristol based charity providing training and consultancy to the Children & Young People’s workforce. She is a former Voluntary Sector Advocate to the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board and Chair of the BSCB Training Sub Committee.  She has also served on the Children & Young People’s Outcomes Board and Bristol’s Strategic Workforce Group.  She is currently a Governor at the City of Bristol College and a representative on Bristol’s Women’s Commission. Through her paid and voluntary work, she has lobbied locally and nationally on behalf of the children’s workforce and supports the drive towards increased professionalism and the recognition of skills and qualifications.
Shirley Ayres, a well established social media consultant, social worker, innovator and in her own words a care maverick and a ‘super connector’. she works with innovative organisations developing digital engagement strategies using technology and social media for social good. The co-founder of the Connected Care network and author of “Can online innovations enhance social care” a provocation paper published by the Nominet Trust and The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care.
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