Our History

WillisPalmer was established in 2004 by Mark Willis and Andre Palmer. They identified a need for a specialist service providing high quality independent social work services primarily to local authorities and the courts. Initially, Mark and Andre undertook most of the assessments themselves but gradually other ISWs came to join them. Launching from a small office in Colchester, Essex they first recruited Sarah Stowe, now Managing Director in April 2005.

By the end of 2007, WP had just short of 50 contractors, all of whom were independent social workers. The company then started to provide training events and contractor meetings with their associates and the numbers within the organisation began to grow.

As the work came in further referrals managers were recruited and more office space was required. At the end of 2008 WP started to recruit psychologists to meet the growing demand for specialist psychological assessments.

By 2010 the company had grown to almost 200 ISWs and 20 psychologists. In early 2011 we moved to larger offices in Colchester, Essex.

By this time we were providing a wide range of services, mainly to local authority clients and had expanded our portfolio with services such as mentoring, IRO and quality assurance functions.

By 2014 we had recruited almost 300 contractors including 40 psychologists. Our team of referrals managers manage and support all the referrals and allocate work through our bespoke CRM database. We have also recruited a team of case managers and quality assurance consultants to ensure all the different types of assessments receive the best review possible before filing with the commissioner.

In 2016, we moved to our current offices at the University of Essex Campus, on Knowledge Gateway and are now celebrating our 15th anniversary – and we are looking forward to many more years…


Highlights 2004-2019

2004 – WP launched

2005 – Sarah joins the team – our first employee – and still with us!

2007 – Extended Community Assessment model launched – a thorough and innovative assessment of vulnerable parents, includes the use of PAMs assessment tool

2008 – WP starts to recruit psychologists

2009 – WP has recruited 200 ISWs

2011 – CISWA-UK established – Mark Willis elected Chair

2011 – WP moves to larger offices

2012 – CISWA-UK commissions research by University of Oxford into role and value of ISWs

2014 – WP’s 10th Birthday!

2016 – Moved to our new office at the University of Essex

2017 – Merger with ISWA Limited

2017 – Launched WP-Risk, a specialist forensic risk service

2018 – We employed two senior social workers

2018 – Implemented our new case management system

2018 – Launched our multi-disciplinary family assessment service

2019 – Sarah Stowe (WP’s first employee) appointed as Managing Director

2019 – Chloe Bach, Business Administrator celebrated her 10-year work-versary in April!

2019 – WillisPalmer listed as a Finalist in ‘Best Service Based Company’ at the 2019 Business Excellence Forum & Awards

2019 – WP’s 15th Birthday!