Voting extended for elections to the National Voices Board of Trustees

Fri, 20 May 2016

Our elected Trustees are vital to National Voices. They represent the views of our members at the highest level of our decision making and ensure that we are always working with members in mind. Voting was due to close last Tuesday, however after careful consideration we have decided to extend voting until 5pm on Tuesday 21 June.  Turnout has not been as high as would like and we want  a strong mandate for our newly elected Trustees, especially as the results are currently extremely close between five candidates.

Voting in these elections is central facet of membership and we hope that as many full members as possible will vote. We will contact representatives from those organisations who have not voted yet to invite them to do so. If you are unsure whether your organisation has voted please email or call Michael on 020 3176 1208.

Nine candidates are standing for two elected Trustee posts.  All full member organisations have the opportunity to vote and each can vote for up to two candidates.  Please ensure only one set of votes is cast on behalf of your organisation.  If we receive more than one set of votes from the same organisation we will contact you to ask whose votes should stand.

The closing date for voting is 5pm on Tuesday 21 June. The results of the election will be announced at the AGM on 29 June 2016.  Click here to see the programme for the AGM and book your place.

Votes may be cast by internet only and those eligible to vote should have received the necessary link by email. If you are a full member and have not received this link please contact Michael.  When considering your choices please note that we need individuals with the skills and experience that enable them to act as trustees of a national charity. We also want a broad mix of people and perspectives, reflecting the diversity of National Voices’ membership. Details of the role and requirements of each trustee can be found below. 

The two elected Trustees that will step down on 29 June will be Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at Mind and Renata Drinkwater, CEO of self management UK. Two appointed Trustees will also step down at the AGM and will be replaced through a different process later in the year. They are Angela Coulter and Julia Oliver.

The nominees for this election are:


Amanda Allard

Assistant Director, Council for Disabled Children (CDC)

Area of skill, experience, knowledge: Communications, health and social care, policy, equality/health inequalities/health inclusion, membership, service user involvement, Government liaison/public affairs

Candidate statement: Despite significant improvements in child health in recent decades, children and young people in the UK have poorer health outcomes than those in other comparable countries and large inequalities persist; there is also large variation in the quality of health care services provided to children and young people across the UK. Over the last 45 years, mortality data show an epidemiological transition away from acute infectious illness towards chronic long-term conditions; however, the way services are provided is still heavily hospital focused and reactive.  Furthermore the majority of initiatives put in place by DH and or NHS England have been overwhelmingly adult focussed with children often a poor after thought well after the majority of the funding has been assigned. 

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) is part of the National Children's Bureau (NCB).  Both organisations have a strong track record of both with health agencies but also ensuring that children and young people's voice is fed into government initiatives. 

As Assistant Director for Health I manage health projects across both NCB and CDC.  This includes the DH Strategic Partner Programme, our work on the Integrated Personal Commissioning Pilots, Transforming Care and the interface with DH on CAMHS.  I sit on the Children with Complex Needs Board which oversees NHS England's work on children with complex health needs.  I also manage a project supporting health services to better integrate with local authorities in implementing the Children and Families Act.  As such I have a good overview of DH and NHSE's programmes and priorities concerning children.  I also work very closely with Christine Lenehan who was the co-chair of the children and young people's Health Outcomes Forum which gives me further access and insight.

NCB and CDC's roles are to influence policy and practice affecting children and young people.  We are keen to ensure that available mechanisms such as National Voices' are fully sighted on the particular needs and issues affecting children and young people and for this reason would be keen to sit on the National Voices Board of Trustees.  We very much value the role that National Voices plays but have sometimes felt that the voice and needs of children are insufficiently reflected in the work it carries out.  We would be keen to help address this gap. 


Olivia Belle

Director of External Affairs, Arthritis Research UK

Areas of skill, experience, knowledge: Marketing, communications, corporate strategy and business planning, Government liaison/public affairs, digital and brand

Candidate statement: Like everyone, the people around me have shaped me.  Living with family members and friends with a variety of histories and diagnoses ranging from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, schizophrenia, cancer, HIV, dementia, COPD and osteoarthritis and having direct experience of caring for people dying from their conditions mean I have seen the isolation and challenge people can face but also the great support and care that are possible. This is why I am driven to working in the voluntary sector.

I have been fortunate and privileged to have worked for more than 20 years in a variety of roles – all within the remit of external affairs promoting a cause and maintaining the organisation’s reputation. I have experience of health, social care, disability, children and youth issues and have worked at NSPCC, Action for Children, RNIB, Carers Trust and Hospice UK. All my working life I have sought to amplify the beneficiary voice in our activities and in particular shaping how we speak about and with the people we serve. I have a strong track record of delivery and leadership resulting in change -

 • Action for Children’s sustained media campaign highlighting online exploitation achieved blanket national news coverage and contributed to changes in Government and industry policy and practice

• The bespoke digital support for young carers enabled the Carers Trust to combat the isolation experienced by young carers and complement local support

• An award winning film co created with patients challenged perceptions, contributed to breaking down barriers to accessing hospice care and put patients in control of the message

• Capitalising on opportunity to reach blind and partially sighted people though the first ever  charity distribution of information in Post Offices lead to an increase in enquiries to benefits advice line

• A three year programme of exhibitions and speaker opportunities resulted in the NHS Confederation running a dedicated carers stream as part of its annual conference programme

• Commissioning social market research bringing the perspective of people living with arthritis into the heart of Arthritis Research UK  

I am currently Director of External Affairs at Arthritis Research UK where I have played a key role in developing our strategic direction with colleagues and trustees. I am guiding teams and evaluating performance to deliver against our strategic focus - to improve the quality of life of people with arthritis so those seeking help from the charity are enabled to make informed choices and supported to realise their decisions, so they can say “I am in control, independent and recognised”.


Anne Cleary

Deputy Director of Nursing, Marie Curie

Areas of skill, experience, knowledge: Communications, business development/business strategy, health and social care, governance, HR, service user involvement, corporate strategy and business planning

Candidate statement: Anne is Deputy Director of Nursing for Marie Curie and currently also acting as an interim Hospice Manager.  Anne has held leadership positions in Nursing, Education and General Management. Anne qualified as a Nurse in 1985 and she has substantial NHS experience and has been working for Marie Curie since February 2014.  This is Anne's first post in the Charity sector however in the past she had been involved in managing palliative and end of life care services and been a director on the board of Trustees at an Independent Hospice.  Anne is committed to raising the profile of nurses and health care assistants working in the Charity sector to ensure their voice is heard at national and local level.

Anne has lead the implementation of Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)  Nurse Revalidation in Marie Curie, and leads on Safe Nurse Staffing and Non- Medical prescribing for Marie Curie. Anne is currently involved in the Scottish Government review of Specialist Nursing.

Anne’s role involves working across all 4 devolved nations and she is a member of the Chief Nursing Officer programme boards on Nurse Revalidation in Northern Ireland and Wales. She also leads the Charity’s partnership working across the UK with the Royal College of Nursing.

Anne manages the team of Practice Development Facilitators and Specialist Nurses for Infection Prevention and Control and Safeguarding.  Anne has a keen interest in person centred practice development methodology and her team are currently working with clinical teams across Marie Curie to support the development of person centred practice and culture.

In support of her nomination Anne says, ‘I am a passionate believer in the absolute need to focus the design and delivery of care on the individual.  Nowhere is this more important than in my field of work, providing hands on care for people at the end of their lives when they and those around them are at their most vulnerable.

‘I believe that I can bring a care perspective to the National Voices Board which would draw on my strategic and operational experience, my work in both the NHS and charity sectors and my experience of working across organisational and sector boundaries to deliver better care.

My career will also equip me to play a full role in the governance responsibilities of the Board having managed large budgets, been involved in difficult decisions, had to take difficult decisions and ensured that what we are here for is at the heart of those decisions.

‘Finally, and by no means least, the opportunity to play a role in shaping and supporting the work of National Voices is something I would really enjoy.  Person centred care is at the heart of my practice and National Voices does and can continue to play a key role in ensuring that the third sector is in the lead on promoting and delivering the best possible person centred practice’.


Dr David Crepaz-Keay

Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion, Mental Health Foundation

Areas of skill, experience, knowledge: Lived experience, health and social care, policy, governance, equality/health inequalities/health inclusion, corporate strategy and business planning, Government liaison/public affairs

Candidate statement: I have almost thirty years of experience campaigning to strengthen the voices of people disadvantaged through mental ill-health. I have developed and supported four national mental health service user and carer networks (Survivors Speak Out and the National Survivor User Network (both England), Voices of eXperience (VoX, Scotland), and the National Mental Health Forum (Wales).

I have additional leadership and governance experience with two years as chief executive of a national mental health charity (Mental Health Media) during which time I managed an annual organisational budget of approximately £750,000 and a staff team of 24 people.

I spent five years serving on the board of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH), including a year as vice-chair. The CPPIH was a National non-Department Government Body (NDGB) and as a board member I was jointly responsible for overseeing an annual budget of £34 million.

I was a frequent user of mental health services for over twenty years and have since learned to harness that experience to ensure that those who have been most severely affected by living with a psychiatric diagnosis are considered important stakeholders in driving forward improved health and social care through better research, policy and practice.

I have achieved this through a variety of approaches through academic research by improving patient and public involvement in health research and supporting survivor-led research, I have written widely on patient and public involvement and in 2014 I was awarded my doctorate in effective mental health service user involvement.

I have also directly developed mechanisms for improving people’s direct involvement in their own health and care through the development and delivery of self-management and peer support initiatives for which I have acquired close to £2 million of funding and developed projects that have reached nearly 1,000 participants including mental health service users, single parents and prisoners.

I have been a technical adviser to the World Health Organisation on empowerment issues and I am currently leading service user and carer involvement in the development of two section of ICD11 (the International Classification of Diseases) for the UK.

I am used to operating strategically at a local, national and international level and would welcome the opportunity to apply my skills, experience and enthusiasm as a trustee of National Voices.


David Crosby

Director of Services and Engagement, Breast Cancer Care

Areas of skill, experience, knowledge: Business development/business strategy, health and social care, policy, governance, equality/health inequalities/health inclusion, service user involvement, corporate strategy and business planning, Government liaison/public affairs

Candidate statement: I am a senior manager with 22 years’ experience in the public sector and 6 years’ experience in the charity sector.

I am currently Director of Services & Engagement with Breast Cancer Care, the only UK-wide charity providing care, information and support to people affected by breast cancer. In everything that we do, we combine clinical expertise with the personal experiences of people living with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Every year around 55,000 people (mainly women) are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the UK. This means that 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. There were an estimated 691,000 people living after a diagnosis of breast cancer in the UK in 2015, and the number of people living with breast cancer is set to more than double to 1,683,000 by 2040.

More than 8 out of 10 people currently survive breast cancer beyond five years. More than three quarters of people survive it beyond 10 years. Survival rates are likely to increase by 2020, meaning even more people will need ongoing support and information. Increased levels of survival mean that it is increasingly important that the needs of those living with and beyond breast cancer are taken account of by the Health and Social Care sectors in how services are planned and delivered.

Breast Cancer Care has a long tradition of involving breast cancer patients in the design and delivery of our services: volunteers, many of whom have a direct experience of breast cancer, deliver or support the delivery of most of our services, including our telephone Helpline and our face to face services. Patients are also involved in the drafting of our patient information resources and the design and content of our website.

In my current role I lead and manage Breast Cancer Care’s Services and Engagement Directorate. I am responsible for a team of 68 staff and budget of £3.6m (2016/17).

Prior to joining Breast Cancer Care last year, I worked for Macmillan Cancer Support for five years, prior to which I had a 22 year career in social housing working for three local authorities and a housing association.

Throughout my career I have worked with service users and other stakeholders, including tenants, homeless people, patients and carers. I have always championed the engagement of service users in the design, delivery and review of services. This goes beyond simple consultation and has extended to, for example, involving tenants in how housing management and maintenance services were delivered to 2,100 affordable homes across Sussex, and involving cancer patients in the review of hospital services for the purpose of external quality assurance by Macmillan.

I am experienced in managing people, budgets, operations and major change programmes, and have extensive experience in strategic business planning, strategy/policy development and stakeholder engagement. I feel that I would bring this expertise to the National Voices Board of Trustees and thank you in advance for considering my nomination.


Barbara Gelb

CEO, Together for Short Lives

Area of skill, experience, knowledge: Health and social care, governance, membership, corporate strategy and business planning, Government liaison/public affairs

Candidate statement: I am excited by the prospect of being a trustee of National Voices. If successful I believe I would bring a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience relating to children and young people’s health and social care.  In my current role as CEO of Together for Short Lives(TfSL) - a UK charity which speaks up for the 49,000 children, young people, and their families with life shortening conditions - I am committed to listening to some of the most vulnerable voices in society. TfSL amplifies that voice and provides a platform so that children and families may tell their story to inform policy and to instigate change.  

Having stood down last year as Co-Chair of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network I am now keen to secure a trustee role within an England or UK focused charity.  I am drawn to the Board of National Voices as I have always admired the role that it has played in advocating for the needs of users of health and social care services.

Those we support have complex needs and engage daily with the NHS and social care services through a number of (often disconnected) services and agencies.  Our role includes work with young people and families to provide them with support they need, to help join up services and to work with practitioners and policy makers, to improve service delivery.  For example, our leadership of the Transition Task Force and the work that we do with young people facing the cliff edge of care at the age of 19.

We have established some powerful and effective networks: a young avengers group to give voice from affected young people; a family forum; and a number of service and practice groups that place the needs of people at the heart of our work around best practice.

My career has been driven by a passion for improving services for children and young people. I am a social worker by background - prior to moving into the charity sector 15 years ago, I worked in children and young people's social care for over 20 years, primarily in the statutory sector, and ultimately as a senior manager in children's services in a unitary authority.

I have experience of leading the growth of a charity with a turnover of just £200K 15 years ago to a merged charity that now turns over I excess of £3million. Further, TfSL is a membership organization, and I have a depth of understanding of all the ensuing complexities and challenges of being the voice of a disparate sector, keeping the needs of the service user in focus.

I am experienced in acting as figurehead and ambassador for TfSL in a range of arenas, including with the most senior politicians.

If successful I would bring energy, enthusiasm and networks to the roles I engage with. Above all I believe in what National Voices is trying to achieve - it's the reason why we became a member.


Emma Greenwood

Head of Policy Development, Cancer Research UK

Areas of skill, experience, knowledge: Communications, business development/business strategy, health and social care, policy, governance, service user involvement, corporate strategy and business planning, Government liaison/public affairs

Candidate statement: Thank you for the opportunity to outline my interest, on behalf of Cancer Research UK, in the trustee role at National Voices. With extensive experience in the charity sector I am extremely passionate about the health service, and specifically the role that influencing and patient involvement can have in bringing about positive change.

National Voices has a vital role to play at a time when the health service faces a number of challenges. I would seek to provide expertise, challenge and direction on the Board. At a time when the charity sector is facing intense scrutiny, and yet their role in the health service has never been more vital, it is essential for trustees to ensure appropriate governance whilst enabling charitable activities to flourish.

Last year I led the programme of work to develop a new cancer strategy for England, working closely with the Chair of the Independent Cancer Taskforce. This was the first disease-specific strategy to be developed following the publication of the Five Year Forward View (FYFV) for the NHS – National Voices has a key role in the Governance Framework for the NHS to ensure the vision for the FYFV is taken forward. In particular, translating the ambition to ensure patient experience has parity of esteem with other clinical outcomes should be a priority for the organisation.

At a time of significant financial pressure on the NHS it has never been more important to ensure that the patient voice is represented from development of policy through to delivery of services. Working at an organisation with a strong focus on research allows me to also champion the vital role of research in the NHS, and the need to ensure all patients have the opportunity to be involved in research should they wish. We need the NHS to be ensuring the translation of research findings into practice for patients, to deliver the outcomes that patients want.

My approach to policy development, aligning it with public affairs, media and other communication channels, has contributed to tangible policy change. I have devised and implemented strategies for key areas of policy, applying techniques for policy prioritisation and stakeholder management. I manage a portfolio of commissioned research that provides state of the nation overviews of key areas within research and health policy. I am confident communicating positions through a variety of media, often addressing several different audiences, including parliamentarians, civil servants, researchers and the general public.

My ability to work with a range of people both externally and internally, working across functions, is underpinned by a strong emphasis on the need to build and nurture stakeholder relationships. I am able to adapt quickly to new situations, manage defined projects, and become a leader within teams. This has enabled me to become a respected voice with senior representatives both within Cancer Research UK, including at Board level, and externally. I have built up experience as a representative for the charity on key external stakeholder groups, within the media, and speaking at high profile events.


Geoff Heyes

Policy and Campaigns Manager, Mind

Areas of skill, experience, knowledge: Health and social care, policy, equality/health inequalities/health inclusion, service user involvement, corporate strategy and business planning, Government liaison/public affairs

Candidate statement: I am standing for election to the National Voices Board of Trustees as representative of Mind, the mental health charity.  As Policy and Campaigns Manager for Mind, I am very familiar with the important work that National Voices undertakes. I am passionate about the role that the voluntary sector can play in improving the quality of care, and as Trustee of National Voices I would be fully committed to supporting its efforts in campaigning for person centred care and acting as a voice of the voluntary sector.

I have strong experience of influencing government policy on health and social care, having held policy and public affairs roles within the voluntary sector for Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind.  Additionally, I have considerable relevant experience working in policy roles within both national and local government, having previously worked for the Department for Communities and Local Government and London Councils.  I believe this breadth of experience has provided me with considerable knowledge and insight that I would be able to bring to the board of trustees at National Voices.

In my role at Mind, I lead the health policy team’s work to influence key national stakeholders, including the Government, NHS and other arms-length bodies, to improve the care and support for people experiencing mental health problems.  This has included overseeing the delivery of high profile national campaigns on crisis care, public mental health, and improving access to talking therapies.  My responsibilities at Mind have given me extensive experience at working directly with senior staff and ministers at the Department of Health, senior NHS England personnel, as well as working collaboratively with partners across the health and social care sector.  I am currently leading Mind’s work with NHSE to support the new independent expert panel that is overseeing the development of the CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework.  This expert group, chaired by Paul Farmer, will also oversee the implementation of the Mental Health Taskforce recommendations over the next five years.

Central to Mind’s approach to our policy and campaigning activity is the involvement of users of services and people with experience of mental health problems in our work.  We are also committed to tackling the additional barriers and challenges that some communities face, and my team plays a leading role in Mind’s engagement activities with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. 

At Mind and Macmillan, I have developed considerable experience in the development of strategic approaches to influencing, including the development of Mind’s new five-year corporate strategy.  Within the governance arrangements for the new strategy, I am programme lead for Mind’s crisis care work, responsible for coordinating the breadth of Mind’s work in this areas, including local service development, information and support services, in addition to influencing and external engagement activities.

Mind is a committed member and supporter of National Voices, and I am keen use my experience and expertise, as well as utilising those of my colleagues at Mind, in order to support the work its work.


Steve James

Chief Executive, Avenues Group

Areas of skill, experience, knowledge: Business development/business strategy, health and social care, finance, equality/health inequalities/health inclusion, membership, service user involvement, corporate strategy and business planning, legal

Candidate statement: As a longstanding Chief Executive of Avenues, a social care provider, I believe that I would bring a variety of skills and experience to the role of trustee which I hope would be of benefit to National Voices.  I have also been a Non-Executive Director on NHS boards and a trustee of local charities.  In all of these roles I have argued for the increasing personalisation of care and support both as an answer to individual situations and also strategic challenges.  The genuine involvement of people leads to better results and greater efficiency. 

Avenues works with the people it supports and their families to design personalised individual plans addressing their needs and aspirations as they see them, delivering ways to address any challenges, and celebrating achievement.  Personalisation is often described in fairly dry terms, often in language people don’t understand.  It’s important to support people in ways they choose in all aspects of their life so having a good time and having friends is as important as getting the medication right.  Wellbeing has many aspects, some of which I think get missed by traditional approaches.

I have experience of acting as a trustee to two small community based charities, one of which promotes sports for people with disabilities using mainstream sport clubs to promote inclusion, competition and fun.  I have been a Non-Executive Director of a local PCT and now Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust which provides mental health and community services.  Individual care planning is now a strategic response to maintain service quality in a time of reducing financial resources.

I think that National Voices has been particularly successful in both supporting member organisations in the delivery of personalised care and support, but also in influencing regional and national strategies to place personalisation at the centre of policy and practice.  I have experience of working nationally to promote personalisation as part of the group led by Sir Stephen Bubb, which made recommendations to reduce the use of assessment and treatment centres and promote community based alternatives.  This group gave me an opportunity to see at national level how the health system worked and its complicated relationship with a chronically underfunded social care system.  Seemingly simple objectives like pooling budgets to benefit people can be bogged down in bureaucratic processes and mutual suspicion.  I believe that third sector organisations particularly those like National Voices, can play a vital role in advocating on behalf of people in getting things done.  We are closer to the people we support and have an agility which eludes the statutory sector.

I have experience of leading a charitable organisation in times of increasingly reducing financial resources.  I believe that sustainability is based upon being clear about the purpose of the organisation, maintaining quality whilst managing resources efficiently.  I think that my experience of balancing priorities would be valuable to National Voices.

National Voices is clear about its mission promoting person centred care and has a deftness of approach which is effective.  Its criticism is constructive but robust and I would enjoy being part of its effort to improve services and support to patients through increased personalisation.