It is a very exciting day for us at WillisPalmer today as we are celebrating the company’s 18th birthday!
So while we can pop to the pub, vote, ride a motorbike with a licence or get a tattoo, we are having a more low key celebration with coffee and cake to mark this momentous milestone and hope to develop many more multi-disciplinary services over the forthcoming years.
Social workers Mark Willis and Andre Palmer set up WillisPalmer in 2004 from Andre’s garden shed which fortunately had electricity. Mark had contacts from the work he was undertaking as a children’s guardian undertaking independent social work assessments and initially Mark and Andre carried out the assessments themselves. As more work came in, Mark reached out to self-employed colleagues to see if they wanted to carry out independent assessments for WillisPalmer.
Mark and Andre recruited Sarah Stowe as Business Administrator in April 2005 – Sarah is still with the organisation today and is now the Managing Director.
By the end of 2007, WillisPalmer had just short of 50 experts, all of whom were independent social workers. The company then started to provide training events and expert meetings with their associates and the numbers within the organisation began to grow.
As the work came in, further office-based staff were recruited and more office space was required. At the end of 2008 WillisPalmer started to recruit psychologists to meet the growing demand for specialist psychological assessments.
In 2009 Chloe Bach was appointed as Business Administrator and she remains with WillisPalmer today. Chloe's sister Holly Green also works at WillisPalmer as our Case Manager.
The company had grown to almost 200 ISWs and 20 psychologists by 2010 and in early 2011 we moved to larger offices in Colchester, Essex. By 2014 we had recruited over 250 contractors and 40 psychologists. Our staff team of referral and case managers support all the referrals and allocate cases through our bespoke CRM database. Our team of experienced consultant social workers quality assure the reports and support the WillisPalmer professionals to produce reports of an exceptionally high standard.
In 2015, Andre left WillisPalmer to concentrate on his other service, leading MOSAIC FosterCare - a therapeutic foster care agency serving the East of England. The move was incredibly amicable and Mark and Andre remain great friends to this day.
WillisPalmer moved to our current offices at the University of Essex Campus, on Knowledge Gateway in 2016. The company now offers a wide range of multi-disciplinary services to children and families through instruction by local authorities and solicitors across the UK. We also provide child abuse litigation services to solicitors and insurers nationwide. In 2019 we were finalists in the ‘Best Service Based Company’ category at the Business Excellence Forum and Awards.
In 2020, Clare Jerrom was appointed as Head of PR and Marketing and nine months later, consultant social workers Lucy Hopkins and Dave Wareham were appointed and are now employed in a senior management capacity as Head of Practice and Head of Services. The same year WillisPalmer was selected as a Parliamentary Review Best Practice company and featured in the 2020 edition of this prestigious publication.
Mark has now stepped back from the day-to-day running of WillisPalmer though continues to work on business strategy and future planning, and Sarah, Dave and Lucy manage the day-to-day running of WillisPalmer to ensure the organisation remains social work led and informed. However, always keen to move with the times WillisPalmer has developed as a provider of multi-disciplinary services over the last five years including the development of our Multidisciplinary Family Assessment and Systemic Family Assessment, along with the development of our Family Support Service.
Acknowledging the challenges schools are facing, particularly post-COVID 19, we recently launched our School Social Work Service and feel that this will be a real benefit to school staff around the country.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our experts who provide such a high-quality, focused service, and to local authorities, solicitors and other organisations for placing their trust in WillisPalmer to ensure that best outcomes are reached for the children who are at the heart of everything we do.
What makes WillisPalmer really special is how we continue to make sure that social work, children and their families, remain central to everything we do. As a team we recognise the need to provide great customer service, work in partnership with our customers as we understand that working with people comes with a need to be flexible, and that the children who are central to everything we do deserve the very best service we can provide.