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Meet our Experts

Find out more about our team of experts below.

WillisPalmer is delighted to introduce you to a number of our experts who undertake work for WillisPalmer on a regular basis.

Sylvia McKenzie

Independent Social Worker

Sylvia McKenzie qualified as a social worker in 1974 and has worked independently for the last 10 years. Sylvia specialises in assessments for Special Guardianship Orders, Form F’s and civil and public law cases. Sylvia has 30 years’ post qualifying experience in children and families social work, 18 years’ experience working in CAMHS and 10 years’ experience in a children and young adult team. Sylvia is skilled in the preparation of reports for proceedings in the family courts including parenting assessments for adults with learning difficulties. More recently Sylvia has specialised in preparing reports relating to alleged negligence in relation to adults who were formerly in the care of local authorities in cases of alleged historical cases of abuse of children in care. Sylvia is a PAMS assessor and practice teacher for student social workers.

Kelly Berkeley

Independent Social Worker

Kelly Berkeley has 10 years post-qualifying experience in children and families social work and has also been working independently for four years. Kelly also has substantive pre-qualifying experience in youth offending, youth work and providing advice in secondary schools. Kelly’s social work career includes experience in a busy safeguarding team completing parenting assessments, viability assessments and Special Guardianship assessments within tight timescales. She also spent two years working in a community mental health team case managing patients with personality disorders, self-harm and suicidal feelings. Kelly is confident working with persistent young offenders, specifically those involved in violent or gang-related crimes and is skilled at working with challenging, aggressive or evasive clients. Kelly is trained in completing PAMS Assessments and she is working towards the Cardiff University Bond Solon Expert Witness Certificate. 

Winston Morson

Independent Social Worker

Independent social worker Winston Morson has extensive experience as a practitioner and manager of dealing with child protection matters and court proceedings. Winston has delivered quality supervision and undertaken detailed audits. Winston’s passion is trouble shooting to make improvement in teams and his areas of expertise are court reports, including parenting assessments, PAMS assessments, Special Guardianship assessments, Viability assessments and pre-birth assessments. With 10 years post-qualifying experience, Winston prides himself on his calm demeanour and excellent organisational skills.

Lyndon Herring

Independent Social Worker

Lyndon Herring is an Independent Social Worker who specialises in the risk assessments of men convicted of or accused of sexually abusive behaviour. Lyndon has 39 years’ experience in the criminal justice system and 25 years’ experience as a social worker having started in the Prison Service, becoming a probation officer then training to become a social worker. Lyndon is also qualified to assess perpetrators of domestic abuse and men who engage in stalking or generally violent behaviour. Lyndon is trained to assess a non-abusing partner’s abilities to protect children in family reunification or contact applications are being considered. Lyndon has 15 years’ experience of delivering cognitive behavioural group work in the community and has facilitated group and individual therapy for sex offenders in penal establishments and the community for many years.

Dr Eldad Farhy


Having graduated in psychology in 1996, Dr Eldad Farhy gained 20 years’ experience working in the NHS as a leading psychologist and supervisor before establishing his own private practice in 2014. Specialising in domestic abuse, neglect and abuse, self-harm in adolescents, adult mental health and psychological disorders, trauma and PTSD, Dr Farhy assesses clients in the context of family court proceedings. This includes assessing parenting capacity and where there are mental health concerns. Dr Farhy’s specialist interest is personality disorders, given he was the psychological lead on this area in a specialist team at the Trust he previously worked at.

Mary Cullen

Independent Social Worker

Independent Social Worker Mary Cullen has 15 years post-qualifying experience and has specialist knowledge and training in attachment. As a result, Mary carries out thorough, well-evidenced, independent assessments of risk, parenting and attachment. Mary’s children and families social work career includes experience in care, adoption and other Children Act proceedings and she has experience of providing evidence to the courts. Mary is also a trained PAMS assessor and has carried out more than 50 assessments since she completed the training in 2015.

Andrea Goddard

Independent Social Worker

Independent Social Worker Andrea Goddard has more than 20 years’ experience working with vulnerable children and families including 12 years frontline child protection work. In 2010 Andrea trained as a Child Protection trainer for the Kent Safeguarding Children’s Board. In 2012 she undertook further modules with the NSPCC giving her full accreditation to provide safeguarding training. Andrea’s specialist training portfolio was based on the experiences of Black African / Caribbean families. She is trained in Signs of Safety which is embedded in her practice and is also trained to use the ADAMS model. Andrea has been working independently for three years and carries out parenting, risk, child and family, viability, SGO, Connected Carer assessments and others.

Kulbant Mclaughlin

Independent Social Worker

Kulbant Mclaughlin is an experienced social work practitioner and senior manager with both operational and strategic practice, skills and knowledge. Prior to qualifying, she worked as a Residential Social Worker across a number of specialist units for children looked after and then preparing young people for leaving care which provided her with extensive experience of safeguarding and understanding the needs of vulnerable children prior to qualifying. Kulbant has 24 years post qualifying experience and after holding social work roles, she worked in an Assessment Centre undertaking complex assessments, often for High Court. She has also been a front- line manager in a range of services. Since 2005, she has worked independently in a number of authorities in London and around the Country undertaking service improvement / OFSTED readiness work. Kulbant’s areas of expertise are preparation of chronologies, report writing, operational and performance management, training and service improvement.

Dr Anna Preston

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Anna Preston has 18 years’ experience working with adults and families in clinical, NHS and private settings. Dr Preston has worked extensively with people who have particularly complex mental health needs and who experience a range of difficulties in combination; for example, personality disorder and mental illness in combination with learning disability and/or autistic spectrum disorders. Dr Preston is experienced in delivering interventions including CBT, DBT and MBT and is also a trained EMDR therapist. Dr Preston was previously the Trustwide Lead Psychologist for Acute Psychiatric Care Services and Lead for an outpatient Personality Disorder Service in Surrey. She is currently an Independent Psychologist practitioner providing expert witness assessments and psychological therapies. Dr Preston started work in January 2021 as a Consultant Psychologist at WillisPalmer, quality assuring expert psychological reports written by our experienced professionals to ensure they adhere to our high standards and meet all the instructed requirements. Dr Preston has been carrying out expert witness assessments for WillisPalmer for 10 years.

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Blame culture results in risk aversion in social work


A blame culture in social work impacts on risk aversion in the social work profession, some respondents to The Case for Change have warned.

Publishing the Case for Change in June, chair of the independent review of children’s social care Josh MacAlister said: “This Case for Change sets out the urgent need for a new approach [...]

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Schools dealing with social work issues during COVID pandemic


Schools were forced to step in to support vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic for many issues that were previously dealt with by social workers, research has found.

Schools found themselves helping vulnerable families with problems such as mental health problems, domestic abuse and poverty during the pandemic as more families were turning to schools [...]

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Young people at Oakhill STC held in rooms for 23 hours a day


Children and young people at Oakhill Secure Training Centre are being held in their rooms for 23 hours a day, a joint inspection has found.

Children have spent approximately 19 hours per day on average locked in their rooms on average since mid-July 2021, the centre’s records show and on some days, this has increased [...]

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