SIR WILLIAM UTTING CB
“I support Article 39 from my lifelong concern for uprooted children, particularly for those in institutions of all kinds.”
Bill Utting held senior posts in probation, local government and the civil service. He retired from the Department of Health in 1991 as the first Chief Inspector of Social Services for England. Later voluntary work included chair of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Council of Goldsmiths, University of London, and the National Institute for Social Work. He served on the Committee on Standards in Public Life from 1994 to 2001. He also led reviews of residential child care for the government, and of safeguards for children living away from home (People Like Us, 1997).
“I am passionate about involving children and young people in decisions that affect them, and hope that my experience in communication and engagement will help Article 39 to achieve better outcomes for children in institutional settings.”
Cathy has worked in communication within and external to Government for over 20 years, including the Department of Health and HM Prison Service. As press officer to the first Minister for Children and Young People, she spearheaded the involvement of children and young people in communication by Government.
Cathy transferred to policy making in 2002 where she managed the Participation Fund, working closely with children’s charities on the roll out of involvement of children and young people across England, and the recruitment of England’s first Children’s Commissioner.
She has volunteered with youth charities in New York and London, focusing variously on campaigning and fundraising for projects in the Bronx, the environment and journalism.
“I am a care leaver and my personal experiences as a Looked After Child have given me the passion to fight for children without a voice. Children in institutionalised settings are the most vulnerable in our society and I want them to have a voice that is listened to and respected, which is why I am proud to be a trustee of Article 39.”
Ella Dhillon is a care leaver who was a looked after child for nearly two years. During that time, she lived in multiple placements and gained an invaluable insight into the care system. Whilst being looked after Ella developed a passion for children’s rights and participation. She is currently studying for a Law degree and wants to practise in the area of children and human rights abuses.
Ella volunteers with her local authority to support the development of young people’s services and needs, and supports the training of social workers.
“My work on challenging unlawful restraint in secure training centres brought into sharp focus the needs of children in institutional settings for advice on their rights and support in defending them. I hope to use my legal and campaigning experience in support of Article 39’s efforts to meet these needs.”
Alex Gask is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, where he focuses on litigation that throws up human rights and civil liberties issues including prison law, inquests and actions against the police. Prior to converting to the Bar, Alex spent five years as a solicitor and legal officer at Liberty. As a solicitor Alex had a particular interest in children’s rights, especially in the criminal justice context.
His campaigning and litigation challenged the demonization of teenagers and the unfair use of ASBOs [anti-social behaviour orders] and police powers against them.
As a barrister, Alex has continued to be concerned about the rights of children and young people, representing young clients in cases against the police and acting in a challenge to the Ministry of Justice’s refusal to inform victims of unlawful restraint in secure training centres of their right to redress.
“Children living in institutions are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. Article 39 is here for them and I want to help.”
Phillip is a social worker by training, has worked in the field of child protection for many years, and is currently chief advisor on child protection to the NSPCC. Most of his working life has been spent campaigning for better protection for children.
Phillip wrote the overview report of Serious Case Reviews for the Department of Health in 1990, acted as professional advisor to Parents Against Injustice (PAIN) in the 1990s and was a trustee and then Chair of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) from 2004 – 2007. He has been a member of a number of professional and government working groups, most recently a member of the Home Office national group on sexual violence. He was a trustee of Brook Young People 2014-17.
“I signed up to be a Trustee for Article 39 because I want to contribute my skills, knowledge and passion to this new charity whose mission is to improve the safe practices of children living in institutions. They are one of most vulnerable groups in society with little or no voice to address the injustices they face.”
Suraya Patel currently works for The Children’s Society. She graduated with a youth work degree and for 20 plus years has held several different roles working with children and young people who face injustices. In her early career she worked for a children rights service in the years following the implementation of the Children Act 1989 and the UK’s ratification of UN Convention on the Rights of Child. This paved the way for continuing to empower and work alongside children and young people to make changes on issues that are important to them. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, cooking and walking.
“I have become a trustee of Article 39 because this is an exciting and important charity addressing very significant issues for children and young people living in institutional care. I believe that my experience of the issues will help it bring about positive change.”
Nicola Wyld was part-time principal legal policy adviser at Coram Voice until 2016. She worked in the area of children’s rights for over 20 years first at the Children’s Legal Centre. She initially practised as a solicitor and specialised in child law.
At Coram Voice, Nicola provided legal advice and training to advocates. Her policy work included parliamentary lobbying about advocacy and children in care. Recent publications include The Door is Closed (2014) joint author of a report about child homelessness and Locked Up and Looked After (2012) a rights guide for young people in the secure estate.
DR TONY FORT
Tony has worked in children’s social care as a residential worker for Lancashire County Council since May 2015. Prior to that he was an FE teacher for over 20 years, teaching ICT courses to young people, as well as ‘Inclusive Education’ to PGCE trainee teachers.
Tony recently completed the QCF Level 3 Diploma in Residential Child Care (England) and is about to start an MSc in Child Care and Youth Studies at Strathclyde University (Distance Learning). In 2015, Tony completed a professional doctorate in Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Manchester. He is passionate about young people’s rights.
PAM HIBBERT OBE
Pam has worked with children and young people for over 30 years, predominantly with children in care and in the youth justice system. She has worked in children’s homes and managed a large secure unit. Since 1990 she has been involved in policy and research work on a range of issues including children’s rights and led on a number of participation projects.
She has been a trustee of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and chair of the National Association for Youth Justice and has published a number of reports and articles. Pam now works independently particularly in work which contributes towards safeguarding and promoting children’s rights.
Stela qualified as a social worker in 1995 and has since always worked with children and young people.
She has experience of direct practice and management of teams working within different contexts like homelessness, children missing from home, advocacy for children in care, young refugees and children affected by sexual abuse and exploitation. Whilst establishing a support service for those affected by child sexual exploitation, Stela developed a children’s rights-based approach where participation played a key therapeutic role. Stela has led and participated in many consultation and research projects with children and young people of different ages and backgrounds.
PROFESSOR KEVIN BROWNE
“Institutions or residential care homes for children are sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘orphanages’. The vast majority (94 to 98%) of children in ‘orphanages’ have at least one living parent who are often known to the authorities. These so called ‘orphanages’ provide a non-stimulating clinical environment for infants, toddlers and children, which is associated with negative consequences for child development. We must stop children being frequently placed in institutional care throughout the world.”
Kevin Browne is Chair of Forensic Psychology and Child Health at the University of Nottingham.
He first held academic appointments at the University of Surrey, University of Leicester and University of Birmingham Medical School before being appointed as Professor and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Child Care and Protection at the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham from 1998 to 2007. He then became the Chair of Forensic and Child Psychology at the School of Psychology, University of Liverpool (2007 to 2009).
Kevin was an Executive Councillor of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect for 12 years. In 2002/03, he led an EU/WHO investigation into 33 European countries on the extent, characteristics and effects of early institutional care on child development and behavior. He was a consultant and contributing author to the UN Secretary-General’s World Report on Violence against Children (2006).
His publications include The Risk of Harm to Young Children in Institutional Care, published by Save the Children UK and the Better Care Network in 2009.
“I am delighted to become associated with Article 39 and everything it stands for. The charity has already in its relatively short life proved how worthwhile it is.”
Retired Chief Executive of Voice, John has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in children’s services in local authorities and the voluntary sector. A passionate champion of children’s rights, independent advocacy and improving the delivery and commissioning of services for looked after children and care leavers, John’s legacy includes the Alliance for Child-Centred Care, which he co-founded, and the influential Blueprint project which laid out widely-accepted principles for the delivery of child-centred services. Blueprint was pioneering because children and young people played a central and critical role. John now divides his time between grandchildren, photography and his continued involvement in selected projects across the children’s sector.
Kim Harrison is a lawyer and Head of Human Rights at Slater & Gordon Lawyers. She acts for families whose loved ones have died in prison representing them at both the inquest and any subsequent civil or Human Rights Act claim. She also acts for victims of abuse including those in care homes, schools, churches and in the care of the state. She has published articles on human rights, modern slavery and abuse and regularly appears on TV and radio commenting on these issues.
“I am thrilled and honoured to be invited to contribute to Article 39. This is an area of work I passionately believe in, having not only worked with young people at risk, but spending two years myself as a teenager in a child and adolescent psychiatric unit in the 1990s. The treatment I received there was nurturing and positive, helping me to heal from the effects of abuse and neglect I had suffered at home. I want all children and young people to benefit from such nurturing care as I did and would hope to lend my experience of these caring relationships to advise and inform the work of Article 39.”
Jo McFarlane is a writer and performance poet, with an extensive body of published work on the themes of mental health, child protection and diversity/equality. She has 20 years’ experience of promoting the rights, views and experiences of people using mental health services – including through, research, group work, policy advocacy and training. Working for the Mental Health Foundation (Scotland), Jo trained and supported teams of ‘survivor’ researchers in Scotland and Northern Ireland. At the Advocacy Safeguards Agency (Scotland), she undertook research into advocacy for children and young people and advised local authorities and health board commissioners on strategically planning these services for children and adults. During parliamentary discussions of the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill, in 2014, the President of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, Dr Joe Morrow, said of Jo’s book Skydiving for Beginners: “[The book] has a chapter on her experience of advocacy and how it supported her through a particular period. Because you would all benefit from reading it, I would be happy to put up the money to buy you all a copy”.
Richard Scorer is a lawyer and Head of the Abuse team at Slater & Gordon Lawyers. He is ranked as a ‘Leader in the Field’ and an ‘Eminent Practitioner’ in Chambers Independent Guide to the legal profession and has a national reputation for his work on behalf of abuse survivors, having represented hundreds of victims of abuse in institutional settings including prisons, churches, care homes and schools, as well as victims of child sexual exploitation around the country. He is the author or co-author of 6 books and over 100 published articles on various aspects of abuse law and regularly appears on TV and radio in relation to his cases. He has also served as a local councillor in his home town in West Yorkshire, and is a board member of several social enterprises.
Expert Panel members support the work of Article 39 in an individual capacity, and not as representatives of their organisations.