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Specialist Professional Advisors

Our Specialist Professional Advisors (SpAs) are experienced professionals with relevant and current expertise in their fields of practice. They are available to support training, undertake quality assurance work and provide independent advice and support.

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Phil Sayer (RCN)

Specialist Professional Advisor in neonatal care and paediatrics

Phil is a Specialist Professional Advisor (SpA) in neonatal care and paediatrics. He began his nursing carer in 1993 and has extensive experience of working in both NHS and private hospitals. Phil is also an experienced trainer and has used his expert knowledge to teach both nursing colleagues and junior medics aspects of neonatal care including ventilation, the use of nitric oxide and sepsis awareness and prevention.


During his career, Phil has successfully completed his ENB 405 extensive course and training in
enhanced neonatal practice. His absolute passion is helping to ensure that training and processes are in place to ensure the clinical safety of neonates and children. Phil also works as SpA for CQC and his expertise has supported a variety of CQC inspections of acute settings and children’s homes which provide care for children with complex medical needs.

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Joanne Caffrey

Specialist Professional Advisor in control restraint and safer custody

Joanne has an impressive and extensive background in Criminal Justice and is an award-winning trainer. She is an expert in challenging behaviour, the use of control and restraint and safer custody. He accredited training has supported professionals from a variety of sectors, including the secure sector, education health and care.


In addition to her work as a trainer, Joanne is also an experienced Expert Witness and has acted as an Expert Witness for the Independent Office for Police Complaints. (IOPC) Joanne has also acted as a Specialist Professional Advisor for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live to support their investigations into the use of control and restraint in response to challenging behaviour.


Between 2018-19 Joanne acted as Director for Freedom from Abuse. She is also a member of the Safeguarding Association.

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Ann Seal

Specialist Professional Advisor in Protective Behaviours and Harm Reduction

Ann is an accredited Protective Behaviours trainer since 2001. She has worked for Warwickshire County Council Education and Safeguarding Service from 2003-2020 and established and managed the Protective Behaviours based Taking Care scheme in 1999. This multi-agency scheme was promoted by the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board (now partnership) to help primary schools across Warwickshire develop their approach to safeguarding.

Ann, who is also a qualified nurse, health visitor and lecturer, trains over 1000 professionals in Protective Behaviours each year from a variety of sectors and is passionate about supporting a range of organisations to support professionals to create safer environments for all.

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Bonnie Towe

Specialist Professional Advisor in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Bonnie is a experienced therapeutic social worker, works with the Autistic Society and is a member if the Protective Behaviours Consortium. Bonnie is also the mother of an autistic daughter. She recognises first hand the under identification of Autistic Spectrum Conditions in females, and the range of emotions that a diagnosis can trigger - guilt, denial, anger, fear.

Bonnie has developed a range of therapeutic coaching sessions for parents and care givers of autistic girls, to empower them and support them when support is non-forthcoming, fragmented, or simply too overwhelming. All coaching programmes have been co-produced with her daughter and encompass her lived experiences of Autism.

A real expert in this often misunderstood field, Bonnie is available to support your organisation become better equipped at identifying Autistic Spectrum Conditions in females, responding to their needs and being better advocates for their futures.

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Devon Geary

Specialist Professional Advisor in Adverse Child Hood Experiences and Trauma Informed Practice

Devon Geary is a trauma-informed theatre and tech practitioner with special interest in how theatre and Tech can mitigate the lasting impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Her expertise includes applied theatre, Tech for Good, and trauma interventions. She holds an MA (with Distinction) in Shakespeare and Creativity from the University of Birmingham and has completed the Common Purpose Streetwise MBA to refine her expertise in cross-cultural leadership.

During her time in the USA, Devon trained in Trust-Based Relational Interventions (TBRIs), and she continues to integrate TBRIs into her professional practice, equipping colleagues and clients to approach work from a trauma-informed perspective. Devon recognises the value and importance of lived experience, and she prioritises this in her work. She currently leads Birmingham’s "Tech for Good" Community and created “This Is Our Brum”, a cross-sector, collaborative community, to facilitate projects that make a positive impact on society. Devon’s approach integrates design thinking, creative innovation, and applied theatre methodologies alongside project and partnerships management. She loves facilitating meaningful conversations, especially between young people and adults. 

She has spoken internationally about her work with Shakespeare and the traumatised brain, and she is eager to discuss how this work can be adapted and applied in various professional and educational contexts. One piece of work Devon wishes to explore is using theatre with children and young people who have been at risk of or impacted by exploitation.

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Gill Sommers

Specialist Professional Advisor in Education and PREVENT

Gill has a wealth of experience in education and has been providing expert consultancy and training to teachers and senior leaders in the education sector for a number of years. She is available to provide safeguarding and PREVENT training to Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL), staff, volunteers and trustees. She can also support with audits, OFSTED preparation and action planning for improvement.

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Angela McMillan

Specialist Professional Advisor in Social Emotional and Mental Health and Wellbeing

Angela has a wealth of experience working as a counsellor, psychotherapist and trainer in educational establishments. She is also the founder and owner of Elemental Health and has a successful private therapy practice. Her expertise in Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) has enabled her to support a diverse range of organisations including MIND, The Terence Higgins Trust and the YMCA.

 

Anxiety is Angela’s specialism and she is passionate about supporting young people and professionals to develop practical coping strategies to enable them to support themselves and each other. Her work is centred on the belief that with the right understanding and support, everyone can fulfil their potential.

 

Angela also is a Youth Mental First Aid trainer, and is on hand to support schools and educational settings to achieve this qualification to be better placed to support pupils who have SEMH needs. She also recognises that professionals are encountering much more complexity, and provides support and a safe space to enable them to discuss their concerns and anxieties.

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Lucy Marie Russell

Specialist Professional Advisor in Sexual Health, Child Sexual Exploitation and Co-production

Lucy Marie Russell is an independent consultant specialising in a range of issues from women and girls' rights, gender, equality and social justice to end gender based violence and tackling the exploitation of young people.

She has a career history of tackling sexual exploitation, from uncovering the sexual abuse of girls by gangs in Oxfordshire to tackling cross border trafficking of girls in Nepal and calling out the sexual exploitation of girls at work in Uganda. She also specialises in youth participation, supporting the most vulnerable to take part in decisions that affect them, for example young people in the criminal justice system. 

Before becoming freelance, Lucy was Head of Girls' Rights and Youth at Plan International and Senior Campaigns Manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform. Before that she created the campaigns for girls in work at the Young Women's Trust and was Chair of People and Plant, largest student network in the UK campaigning for social and environmental justice. More recently she was Deputy Co-Chair of the UK Government's Period Poverty Task Force.

She is a skilled campaigner with a history of creating ground breaking campaigns for vulnerable youth and girls' rights in the UK and globally. She has secured changes to the law and policy regarding teenage pregnancy, sex and relationships education, young people in the criminal justice system and more. She founded Plan International's UK work including The State of Girls' Rights in the UK report and there she ran campaigns to end period poverty and taboos and street harassment.

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Imtiaz Kala

Specialist Professional Advisor

Imitaz has over 25 years in the education, local authority and vountary sectors. He is certified PREVENT trainer, and provides wider training on organisational culture, cultural competence, and change management. With a background in teaching and SEND, Imitaiz is skilled in utilising diverse learning methods to assist inclusive learning.

Imtiaz is a Safeguarding Trustee and Governor and has extensive experience of leading diverse teams at senior management level. This experience means that Imtiaz is able to provide strategic insight into the effective leadership of teams, the development and delivery of development plans, audits and policy, and can support regulatory inspection preparation.

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Collete Ford

Specialist Professional Advisor

Collete has a wealth of experience in safeguarding practice, working in both early years and the charity sector. She has particular expertise in Quality Assurance, developing audits and working practice to ensure compliance with both Ofsted and CQC standards. Collete is available to write bespoke sector specific safeguarding training to practitioners, volunteers and trustees. She is also able, via consultancy, to support a range of organisations from all all sectors to develop organisational policy and practice to strengthen and improve safeguarding practice.