You can find out more about our Director and office team below; you might enjoy reading about our core values, backgrounds and, most importantly, putting a face to the voice you hear when calling 01206 878178. If you would like to know if we have any office vacancies please take a look at our careers page, or contact us using firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 rehab services to insurers, legal markets, charities and the public alike and WPCM Services. WPCM Services provide survivors of childhood abuse (and their families where appropriate) a safe and supportive environment in which to discuss and develop their vision for themselves in their future; support you in your recovery and re-establishing the life you deserve to have. The three organisations are part of the ‘WP Group’.
Sarah was the first team member WillisPalmer recruited back in 2005 and has recently taken on the role of 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 fourteen years. Her commitment, enthusiasm and motivation ensure WP maintains its first-class reputation, whilst always striving to be the best provider of services to children and families.
Phil has been in social work for nearly 40 years, focussing on working with children and families, although he has undertaken specialist training in mental health and learning disability. He began his social work career in residential work, qualified in 1980 and practised as a social worker, before then moving into various management roles.
Later, his career choice was to return to direct practice by working as an independent social worker, initially as a Children’s Guardian. Within this role, he acted in an advisory capacity to national committees and as a country-wide trainer. He was an adviser to the Law Society on the development of the Children Panel for solicitors and was joint-partner of an agency offering training to solicitors. In 1998, he co-founded independent social work agency, ISWA, which went on to grow into one of the largest and most successful agencies in the UK.
This agency offered specialised risk assessments, fostering assessments, family group conferences, training and consultancy. Alongside his role as Director of ISWA, Phil acted as an expert witness in care proceedings and subsequently utilised his skills to become one of very few experts in the UK to offer opinion in cases of possible negligence and failure of duty of care.
In 2017, ISWA merged with WillisPalmer and Phil has remained as an Executive Consultant, where he has led on developing and expanding the Child Abuse Litigation Service which now provides a team of experts to offer opinion in cases of potential failure of duty of care. Over the years, Phil has become respected in his field, he has been involved in various research projects, and has a number of publications to his name. He remains committed to ensuring the interests of children are at the core of everything he does.
Senior Business Consultant
Steve Hoyle has previously worked for a large PLC managing large contracts and submitting tenders within the NHS.
Steve has been with WP for nine years and is extremely knowledgeable, he is the go-to person for our younger team members with his patient and calm manner. Steve deputises for Sarah when she is not available. Steve also deals with contracts from local authorities which include adoption and fostering assessments, IRO work, parenting, kinship, SGO and connected person’s assessments.
He also plays a key role in our multi-disciplinary family assessments managing and co-ordinating this innovative service to assess families on the edge of care or as an alternative to costly residential placements. His keen attention to detail and focus on quality mean he is an invaluable member of the team.
Chloe worked within the NHS before joining WP, 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 WP 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, as well as the end to end recruitment process for all WP contractors.
Chloe’s highly organised, methodical approach and professionalism guarantee WP maintains it’s very high standards.
Business Development Consultant
Before joining WP, Marney worked for a national social work recruitment agency where she gained her NVQ in Business Administration. When Marney joined WP in 2016, she was responsible for the end-to-end recruitment process of all of our contractors, organising and attending recruitment events across the UK.
As Business Development Consultant, Marney is responsible for both new and existing sales and marketing activity, establishing new contacts, developing new business, maintaining and building relationships with existing customers and sourcing and managing new contracts.
Marney also leads on marketing activity through a wide range of strategies; designing and implementing such strategies and measuring their effectiveness. In addition, Marney works alongside journalist, Clare Jerrom to produce our monthly newsletter WP Children First; an online publication for professionals working with children and families. She also develops and produces “WP News” which keeps our contractors up-to-date with all things WP! Being a naturally creative writer Marney has really found her niche in this position.
Thomas joins WillisPalmer with vast experience within many customer service based roles. Prior to working with WP, he worked at a respected multimedia company as a sales executive – where he gained invaluable customer service experience and understood the importance of handling requests in a timely manner. Thomas takes pride in his ability to build relationships and work well within a team.
Thomas is one of WP’s referrals managers. Thomas assists with referrals and enquiries from local authorities, solicitors and other organisations alike. He works closely with customers ensuring that the correct practitioners are provided for each case at hand.
Michelle joined WillisPalmer after working within a large call centre company as a sales floor manager. She was subject to target driven sales and gained invaluable telephone communication skills, focused on rapport building with customers and silent partners.
Alongside this, Michelle volunteered as the communications & events programming manager for a community creative ‘D.I.Y’ space, which provided the platform for local pop-up businesses and start-ups to begin their journey. It also allowed the businesses to create their voice through consultation, marketing and promotional events with Michelle as their main point of contact.
Michelle joined the team as a Referrals Manager, dealing with enquiries from local authorities, solicitors and other organisations alike, noting the requirements of each referral and matching the right professional to every individual case.
Tracy has worked previously for a large corporate banking operation, and in adult social care support services. Tracy has a wealth of skills and experience, with a strong background in Business Change Delivery and she is passionate about Customer Service and processes.
As one of the Case Managers for WillisPalmer, she takes responsibility for a caseload of assessments and discrete pieces of work being undertaken by our social work or psychology consultants. She assists with all administrative tasks and is the liaison between contractors and customers to ensure timely filing of reports. Tracy will be your first point of contact on open cases to help resolve queries and answer any questions.
Tracy strongly believes in the WillisPalmer values and makes sure they are embedded into everything she does. Her experience of working in the highly pressurised and stressful banking world has been crucial in this very demanding role. Tracy’s positive outlook on life enhances the WillisPalmer working environment.
Fay joins us with a strong background in administration, having worked for a broad range of companies, including a large corporate bank, a management consultancy and an estate agent. More recently 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. Both of these roles convinced Fay that whatever career path she chose next it had to be something where she could help make a difference.
Fay is one of the case managers here at WP, taking responsibility for managing a case from beginning to end. This is a challenging administrative role which requires constant liaison with both customers and contractors, the ability to work to strict deadlines and ultimately results in the filing of high-quality reports. Fay understands the importance of providing an excellent service, being highly organised and is able to work well under pressure.
Head of Quality
Lesley is a qualified social worker with over 30 years experience of working with children, young people and families. Lesley has over 17 years experience as an independent social worker and as a Children’s Guardian.
Prior to this Lesley worked in a Local Authority social services department as a Paediatric Liaison Child Protection Social Worker in a hospital setting, Senior Practitioner, and Team Manager in both Child Protection teams and Child and Family teams. Lesley also worked in an NSPCC Family Assessment and Treatment unit where Local Authorities referred high-risk families to undertake comprehensive and intensive assessments. The children had usually suffered significant injuries and/or sexual assaults. Lesley has chaired Child Protection Case Conferences and has recently worked as an Independent Reviewing Officer.
Lesley has worked closely with WillisPalmer since 2004, recently taking on the role as Head of Quality (HOQ). As HOQ, Lesley focuses upon service delivery, quality standards and assisting in the managing of contracts and contractors. She is also responsible for all the technical aspects of the business including the quality of assessments and quality assurance of all contractor reports. Lesley works alongside Managing Director, Sarah Stowe to establish and maintain contracts, allocate tasks to team members and monitor the activity within the team relating to professional standards.
Quality Assurance Consultant
Terence believes that social work practice is at its best when it is an effective mixture of sound self-awareness, applied intuition and rigorously utilised theoretical frameworks. Terence also firmly believes that social workers need the ability to express themselves well and clearly and be able to construct arguments that are logical, founded in observational skill, use appropriate evidence and demonstrate that competing viewpoints have been balanced adequately.
As a practitioner, Terence has cast a wide theoretical net but has concentrated largely on the practice of parenting and uses attachment theory as the basis for understanding parenting behaviour and the simplicity of parenting approaches such as the Parent/Child Game for changing parenting behaviour. However, it is not unusual for him to also rely on his years as a Relate counsellor, mentor, counselling supervisor (for addictions counsellors) as well as his training in systemic family therapy, psychodrama, gestalt psychotherapy and the insights afforded by cognitive psychology.
At times of the greatest stress, he is usually to be found in his shed or playing the drums.
Quality Assurance Consultant
Marion Farmer is a qualified social work practitioner with over 35 years experience in the field of child care. She has undertaken consultancy work for a local authority and health authority, helping to shape the direction of future service provision for looked after children and children with special needs.
Marion became a self-employed Children`s Guardian in London, representing the interests of children in care, adoption and other specified proceedings, providing more than 150 reports over a period of 16 years. Alongside this, she undertook a range of independent social work assignments, including assessments of parents, potential kinship carers and prospective foster carers. Since 2007, she has undertaken work through WillisPalmer. In 2013, Marion developed the role of Care Proceedings Manager for a London local authority, establishing procedures and protocols for pre-proceedings and court work, providing training and quality assuring evidence. She subsequently developed and managed the Court Team. Since 2014, she has been involved in mentoring social workers within a safeguarding service, providing training on risk assessments, and developing a parenting assessment framework for a South London local authority. She joined the team of Quality Assurance Consultants at WillisPalmer in 2014.
Quality Assurance Consultant
Sue is a qualified social worker with over thirty-five years’ experience of working in the field of child-care and child protection. Sue has worked as a self-employed Children’s Guardian in London for over twenty years. She has undertaken work in private law and adoption as well as public law matters.
Sue has worked as an Independent Social Worker since 2001 carrying out parenting assessments, including PAMS, kinship, Special Guardianship and sibling assessments. She joined WillisPalmer as an independent social worker in 2006.
Prior to working independently, Sue worked with various London local authorities as a social worker, senior practitioner, team manager and child protection conference chair. More recently she has worked as an independent reviewing officer and has provided mentoring to newly qualified social workers in a local authority safeguarding team.
Sue joined the team of Quality Assurance Consultants at WillisPalmer in 2017.