Central Staff Team
Our Central Staff Team is largely based in Birmingham and manages the strategic and operational aspects of the project.
Director of IMPACT
The University of Birmingham’s School of Social Policy strapline is ‘to understand the world – and change it’ – and this is exactly what IMPACT seeks to do. I’m a qualified social worker by background, former Director of the University’s Health Services Management centre and former Head of the School of Social Policy. My other roles include being a Non-Executive Director of a local authority children’s service and of an NHS Foundation Trust.
Head of Operations
IMPACT is seeking to create significant change for adult social care across the UK. The opportunity to recruit and develop a new team to deliver and engage such an array of stakeholders with this vital work is really exciting. Previously, I managed two research centres, gained extensive experience in third and private sector organisations. My work involved developing and leading organisational strategies and the teams to deliver these.
I have always believed that to make a positive change in adult social care we need to understand the lived experiences of and work with people who draw on care and support. IMPACT’s desire to use practical evidence and wisdom was the main thing that attracted me to join IMPACT. Formerly, I’m a care support worker, and recently I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield, focussing on transnational aged care arrangements between UK-based Zimbabwean migrant care workers and their overseas family members.
Communications and Engagement Manager
The chance to make a real difference to the lives of people across the four nations is really special. IMPACT’s focus on lived experience is what attracted me to the team and being able to share those experiences and stories is exciting. I joined IMPACT after six years working in government communications. I started as a PR apprentice on a Whitehall social media team, and worked in digital comms before becoming the stakeholder manager for a Minister.
Digital Communications Officer
IMPACT offers a rare opportunity to work across the UK, implementing real change in the lives of real people. That’s why I’m excited to be part of the IMPACT team. I’m a design-loving, communications professional with a background in Drama and Movement Therapy. I have worked in a number of sectors and specialise in showcasing personal stories in meaningful ways.
Lived Experience Engagement Lead
As a parent of a young adult with a disability, I found myself researching personalisation in care and international best practice. This research, alongside my lived experience, ignited a passion for something better – change and reform. That’s what I think IMPACT is about and why I’m delighted to be part of the team. I have enjoyed a varied career across many sectors, mainly in project management roles where stakeholder engagement has been very important. More recently, I have joined the social innovation sector by founding inCharge – to enable better self-direction in social care.
IMPACT Finance Officer
I joined IMPACT in the hope of making tangible changes in the very important sector of adult social care. Playing a part in shaping the adult care landscape through evidence-based implementation appeals to me greatly. An administrator at heart, I’ve developed my skills in a range of professional areas, starting in the NHS, followed a lengthy spell with Apple as they established their retail and technical support divisions in the UK. I moved to the University of Birmingham four years ago and in that time have worked in Research & Knowledge Transfer, Research Support, and now as University Liaison Manager to The Alan Turing Institute, a role spilt between the Institute and the University.
Strategic Communications Advisor
David Brindle is a senior commentator on UK public services with expertise in health and social care – he was the Guardian’s Public Services Editor for over 16 years. He now freelances, and is chair of Ambient Support, a charity that provides care and support for older people, people with mental health needs, and people with learning disabilities.
Centre Administration Manager
I wanted to be part of a project with nationwide reach and am thrilled to join the team supporting the delivery phase of IMPACT. An exciting time to join! I’ve worked at the University since January 2022 where I joined as an Executive Assistant to the CFO and Deputy Finance Director (Projects). Prior to this, I worked as an Assistant Director in Film and Television Production.
Deputy Head of Evidence and Evaluation
IMPACT offers me an exciting chance to be part of something that will lead to real change in the delivery and impact of social care. I started my career as a care worker in residential homes for older people before becoming an academic conducting research and education about the lives of people with dementia and I am now a Professor in Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling. Much of my work has been about understanding and valuing people’s lived experience and I have led large-scale national evaluations of local projects.
Deputy Head of National Embedding
Laura has previously worked at the Universities of Oxford, Aston and Birmingham, often focusing on understanding people’s lived experiences of public services. This includes time spent with NICE on people’s experiences of adult mental health services. More recently, she was a Senior Knowledge Transfer Facilitator with Public Health England, and has been co-ordinating Birmingham’s ‘Creating a Mentally Healthy City’ initiative.
Centre Administration Manager
(Maternity Leave 2023-2024)
I joined IMPACT because supporting this project gives me a sense of pride. I am motivated to contribute to making a real difference for adult social care provision. My experience has focused on operations and executive support within further education establishments, such as museums and universities.
National Project Officers
Dr Jennifer Betts
(Coleraine, Northern Ireland)
I joined IMPACT because I believe that it will make a real difference to how social care is delivered, thus making a difference to the lives of those most vulnerable in our society. I have worked as a researcher over the last 30+ years in the voluntary sector, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and in academia. My experience in the voluntary sector and in government policy making has given me an insight into the implementation of policies in communities.
Dr Lesley Stevenson
I believe that identifying and sharing evidence about what works in social care, and overcoming barriers to the implementation of evidence-based practice, are vital ways to enable more people to live good lives. My career started in academic research, completing a PhD in traditional music and tourism at the University of Glasgow. I have worked as a Research Officer at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Later, I worked in policy and research roles in the local government Improvement Service and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace). More recently, as Scotland Development Officer for Shared Lives Plus, I worked to develop, grow and raise awareness of the Shared Lives model of social care within Scotland.
What I really found exciting about IMPACT is knowing that my future work as an academic is not defined by ‘a gap in the literature’ but by the real problems of real people in social care. My main research interests include the provision of mental health support in different countries. I have been a research associate at the University of Sheffield since 2018 and have worked on research projects that explore particularly sensitive subjects, including human trafficking, support for parents experiencing neonatal death and inequal access to social care and migration.
I joined IMPACT because I am interested in participatory processes, working side by side with users and practitioners, to create meaningful knowledge for people’s lives. I’m a PhD in Social Policy (University of Bristol) and a social worker, with academic and practical experience in community development, social participation, and decolonial perspectives.
Staff Project Teams
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