Mark Willis has been in social work for over thirty years. He began work in 1984 as a residential and day care worker with people with learning disabilities. In 1987 he moved into child care work as an assistant social worker before qualifying with the Diploma in Social Work seven years later. Further to this he worked as a social worker, senior practitioner and team manager within local authority social services departments. He also spent a year co-ordinating child protection training for a large social care department, developing two academically-accredited training programmes on child protection risk assessment. In 2000 Mark became a self-employed Children’s Guardian representing children’s interests in over 100 cases in Kent and Essex.
Mark established WillisPalmer in 2004 with former business partner Andre Palmer. He has grown the company over that time whilst never losing sight of the core social work values which to this day are at the heart of the business. His commitment to these values means WillisPalmer retains its status as an ethical and responsible company.
Mark is also co-Director of both Think Therapy 1st which provides occupational therapy rehabilitation services to insurers, legal markets, charities and the public alike and WPCM Services. WPCM Services provides holistic support to survivors of childhood abuse. The three organisations are part of the ‘WillisPalmer Group’.
Sarah was the first team member WillisPalmer recruited back in 2005 and is now the Managing Director. Having previously worked for large corporate companies in a variety of positions she wanted to work for a business that truly cared about people, putting them at the heart of every decision.
Sarah has overall responsibility for running the business on a day to day basis and has developed excellent relationships with customers and contractors over the past 17 years. Her commitment, enthusiasm and motivation ensure WillisPalmer maintains its first-class reputation, whilst always striving to be the best provider of services to children and families.
Head of Practice Lucy Hopkins, Head of Services Dave Wareham and Business Administrator Chloe Bach report into Sarah.
Head of Services
As Head of Services at WillisPalmer Dave is responsible for management of the referrals team, multi-disciplinary services, family support and new service development. Dave contributes to all professional and expert aspects of the business including operational services (independent social work, psychology, forensic risk, family support and psychiatry), service development and building and improving relationships with local authorities.
Dave works as Consultant Social Worker for Multi-disciplinary Family Assessments (MFA) and Systemic Family Assessments (SFA).
Dave has oversight for the Family Support Team and the referrals team. Family Support Manager Fay Roffe and Senior Referrals Manager Rachel Holt report to Dave.
Prior to joining WillisPalmer, Dave worked for local authority children’s social care departments for 13 years. He began as a social worker in children and family assessment and children in care teams, before specialising in systemic work with families, and assessments for court, as a family centre senior practitioner. Dave subsequently worked as a reviewing officer before managing a children in care and court work team.
Dave has a BA (Hons) Design degree from Loughborough University, MA in Social Work from Anglia Ruskin University, and MA Certificate in Advanced Social Work from the University of East Anglia. Dave is a NAAS accredited child and family practice supervisor and fellow of the Firstline social work leadership programme.
Family Support Manager
Following the growth in the Family Support Service in 2021-22, Fay has been promoted to Family Support Manager after spending a year co-ordinating the Family Support Service. Fay has oversight of family support provision, either as an integral part of Multi-disciplinary Family Assessments (MFA), or standalone family support work aimed at assisting parents to develop their parenting skills and abilities. Working closely with family support workers and case managing the MFA’s, Fay’s role involves the recruitment of Family Support Workers and overseeing their shift patterns and intervention with families.
Family support work may be taken on as a standalone service or as part of the MFA. Each family support worker must file a report after every shift detailing their observations, interventions made and reporting any safeguarding concerns in relation to the children. Fay ensures the reports are quality assured before being filed with the local authority, and the Independent Social Worker in the case of an MFA.
Working closely with Head of Services, Dave, Fay also meets local authority social workers, family support workers and families throughout the duration of the intervention to ensure WillisPalmer are providing the highest standard of service to vulnerable children and families.
Prior to her work on the Family Support Service, Fay was a Case Manager at WillisPalmer for 3.5 years. Before she joined WillisPalmer, Fay ran her own childminding business for six years which was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, and then she worked within health and social care looking after adults with autism and learning disabilities.
Senior Case Manager
Holly joined the WillisPalmer team in January 2019 as maternity cover for her colleague Fay Roffe. It quickly became apparent that Holly was an asset to WillisPalmer and in April 2019 she was recruited as a permanent member of staff.
Family is everything to Holly. She enjoys her role as a Case Manager where she is able to use her highly effective administrative and organisational skills to provide valuable support to organisations working with children and their families. Having had her family at a young age Holly is able to identify and empathise with some of the pressures many families face on a daily basis and hopes that in her role she is able to make a difference.
Senior Referrals Manager
Rachel Anthony is WillisPalmer’s Senior Referrals Manager having joined the team in March 2021 as Referrals Manager. Following the restructuring of the referrals process at WillisPalmer, the Referrals Manager’s role grew considerably resulting in Rachel’s promotion to Senior Referrals Manager. Rachel oversees the referrals process, taking initial enquiries made to WillisPalmer for an assessment or multi-disciplinary intervention and ascertaining as much information as possible about the case. Rachel then successfully matches the enquiry to our most relevant and available experts who have the appropriate experience and specialism to ensure the assessment is carried out to the highest standard. Once the case has been matched to an expert and the instruction is given the go ahead, Rachel ensures a seamless transition of the case to the Case Management Team providing them with all the necessary information and paper-work. Being at the ‘front end’ of the business, Rachel is calm, organised, friendly and approachable with a passion for ensuring our customer’s needs are met to the best of our abilities. With a background in sales and e-commerce, Rachel’s customer service and organisational skills ensure that WillisPalmer’s cases are dealt with swiftly and professionally.
Senior Business Administrator
Chloe worked within the NHS before joining WillisPalmer, where she developed excellent customer service and administration skills. Before this, she worked for a firm of solicitors giving her vital experience of legal processes and working to tight deadlines.
When Chloe joined WillisPalmer in 2009, she provided administrative support to all members of the team as well as taking responsibility for managing cases from beginning to end.
As Business Administrator, Chloe provides administrative support and management information to the Chief Executive and Managing Director. Chloe is also responsible for managing the office facilities.
Chloe’s highly organised, methodical approach and professionalism guarantee WillisPalmer maintains it’s very high standards.
Multi-Disciplinary Service Case Manager
Sophie Bartholomew is undertaking an apprenticeship at WillisPalmer while studying for her Business Administrator Level 3, which is the equivalent of one A-level. The course is around 15 months long and during the year Sophie has to participate in four key workshops where she will learn about the essential components of Business Administration such as Health and Safety, E-Safety and setting up a business including engaging with stakeholders Sophie carries out her distance learning one day per week and spends the remaining four days in the office working on a variety of projects. This includes supporting Head of Services Dave Wareham, and Family Support Manager Fay Roffe with the Family Support Work service.