Putting children and young people first in the family courts


The Cafcass Board

Chair of the Cafcass Board  

Claire Tyler                                

Baroness Tyler of Enfield

Professional Life

Claire Tyler (Baroness Tyler of Enfield) became the Chair of CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) in February 2012. She is also the President of the NCB (National Children’s Bureau), a position she has held since August 2012. She became the Vice President of Relate in November 2012. Claire chairs the “Make Every Adult Matter” coalition of charities helping adults with multiple needs, is Vice Chair of the Think Ahead Sub Committee overseeing a new adult mental health social work fast track programme and a member of the Advisory Council of the Step Up to Serve campaign.

Between 2007 and 2012 Claire was the Chief Executive Officer of Relate, the UK’s leading relationship support agency between 2007 and 2012. This followed a number of senior positions within Government, the last of which was Director of the Vulnerable Children’s Group at the Department for Children, Schools and Families (now the Department for Education). She also chaired the ‘Kids in the Middle’ coalition, a group of national charities and agony aunts campaigning for better services for separating parents and their children.

Before then, Claire had been the Director of the Government’s Social Exclusion Unit and a board member of the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister from April 2002 until June 2006. From July 2000 to April 2002 Claire was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Connexions Service.

Parliamentary Experience

Claire was nominated as a Liberal Democrat Peer in November 2010 and from 1 February 2011 has sat in the House of Lords as Baroness Tyler of Enfield. Claire is now the Lead Lib Dem Spokesperson for Mental Health in the Lords.

In the Lords, Claire has been a member of the Lords Select Committee on Public Services and Demography which produced the report “Ready for Ageing”, the Affordable Childcare Select Committee which reported in March 2015. She is currently serving on the Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility.

Claire is currently Co- chair of the following All Party Groups:

  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility

She is also Vice Chair of:

  • The All Party Parliamentary Group for Parents and Families
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Carers
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Strengthening Relationships.

As Co-Chair of the APPG on Social Mobility, she was lead author of the “Character and Resilience Manifesto”, published in 2014 which was written in collaboration with the think tanks CentreForum and Character Counts. Claire also chaired the Parliamentary Inquiry into Parenting and Social Mobility which reported in March 2015. .

Claire was co-chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Charitable Giving which reported in June 2014. In 2013 she chaired the 2013 Liberal Democrat policy working group which produced the report “A Balanced Working Life” and was a member of the Liberal Democrat Working Group on an Ageing Population which reported in 2014. Claire is also a Vice President of Liberal International Great Britain.


After graduating in law and politics from Southampton University, Claire joined the Greater London Council/Inner London Education Authority in 1978 and in 1988 she joined the Civil Service. Claire has a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in October 2016.

Other Public Engagements

For 5 years Claire was joint chair of the Social Policy Forum and has sat on the Executive Committee of the Public Management and Policy Association for 7 years. From 2002-06 Claire sat on the Poverty and Disadvantage Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Please note that Cafcass related correspondence to the Chair will only be responded to if it is received at Cafcass.


Cafcass Board Members

Fay Selvan

Fay Selvan - Deputy Chair and Chair of Quality Committee

Fay Selvan has been the CEO of the Big Life group since 1991 which has grown from a community organisation with a turnover of £17,000 p.a into one of the largest social enterprises in the UK with a turnover of circa £8m and 300 staff She is also currently the Chair of Trafford Healthcare Trust (since 2006) which has a turnover of circa £80m and 2000 staff.

She was previously the Chair of Trafford Primary Care Trust (2001-2006); Executive Sponsor of Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone (1999-2002); Tenant Liaison Officer, Manchester City Council (1986-1989) and Administrator/Project Officer at Great Manchester Low Pay Unit (1985-1986). She was also a Department of Health Social Enterprise Mentor between 2010-2011 and a Commissioner with the Street Weapons Commission in 2009.

John Lakin

John Lakin

John Lakin previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (1988-2011) where he was the Partner responsible for Education and Children’s Services Consulting and also Head of Public Sector Policy, Research and Economics.

Prior to that he worked for the Inner London Education Authority (1985-1988) where he was the Head of the Leader’s Office and the Education Programme Manager for Hackney Inner City Partnership. He also had roles as Assistant Programme Controller for Economic Development and as Policy Researcher, European Affairs for the Greater London Council (1981-1985), and as a Finance Officer for Hillingdon Area Health Authority (1981).

Francis Plowden

Francis Plowden

Francis Plowden is currently the Chairman of CEOP, the national centre for the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation (since 2010). He is a Board Member of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (since 2009), where he is the Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee, and an external member of the Audit Committee of the British Museum (since 2009). He is also an Assistant Boundary Commissioner for the Boundary Commission for England (2011).

Previously, he was a Commissioner with the Judicial Appointments Commission (2006-2012); Chairman of the Greenwich Foundation (2003-2011); a Board Member of Hedra PLC (2007-2008); Chairman of the National Council for Palliative Care (2001-2008) and has carried out advisory work for both the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. He was a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers where he was Head of Government Sector (1998- 2001) and at the then Coopers and Lybrand, as Managing Partner International Affairs (1995-1998) and Head of UK Government Consulting (1987-1995).

Stuart Smith Web

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith is the Director of Children Services for Calderdale Council where he was appointed to lead the council's strategy to meet the requirements of the DfE Improvement Notice for Children's Social Care. Stuart is also reviewing the council approach to school improvement and early intervention services.

Previously Stuart was employed as Director of Education, Skills and Communities at Wigan Borough Council where he led on the new relationships with schools and the redesign of the school improvement service, also the Executive Director of Children, Adult and Family Services at Liverpool City Council (2001-2011) where he was responsible for budgets in excess of £800m and oversaw a large increase in school attainment at all levels.

In previous roles he has been Assistant Director, Students and Communities at Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (1999-2001); Head of Behaviour Support Services, Kent County Council (1995-1999); Deputy Principal Youth Officer, Wirral LEA (1992-1995); Training and Development Officer, Wirral LEA (1990-1992) and Community Development Officer, Dudley MBC (1987-1990). He has also held various teaching and youth worker roles.

Nickie Aiken

Nickie Aiken

Nickie Aiken has been a Conservative Party councillor for the Warwick ward in Pimlico, London since 2006. She is a Cabinet Member for Public Protection and overseas the borough's relationship with the Metropolitan police, emergency planning, licensing, environmental, health and safety services. From 2010 - 2013, she was the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Community Protection and oversaw the merger of Westminster's children's services department with Hammersmith Fulham and Kensington Chelsea.

Caroline Corby

Caroline Corby

Caroline Corby worked in the city for 13 years specialising in private equity where she also served on a number of private sector boards across a range of industries. In 2007 she joined the Board of London Probation Trust (LPT) and she served as Chair of LPT from 2012 until July 2014. Caroline is a Non-Executive Director of London North West Healthcare NHS Trust and the Criminal Cases Review Commissions and she is a member of the Parole Board management committee. She also chairs Fitness to Practice Panels for the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Deep Sagar

Deep Sagar

Deep Sagar had a career in the private sector, working in senior management for companies like Coca-Cola and Unilever internationally. More recently he has had many non-executive roles across sectors. His present roles include Chair of the Information Standards Board for education, skills and children's services and Member of the Parole Board. Previously he held roles such as Chair of G3 (Inspiring Individuals) and Turnstone Support and Non-Executive Director of HM Inspectorate of Education.

Paul Grant

Paul Grant

Paul Grant has been the Managing Director of his own consultancy firm since 2006. He is a Non-Executive Director at both Nottingham CityCare Partnership and Accent Housing Group. His previous career is in regeneration (Deputy Chief Executive of New Deal for Communities in Nottingham) and in criminal justice and rehabilitation. He also set up, and is currently Vice-Chair of,  Nottingham Black Families in Education. He had seven years past experience as a Non-Executive Director with the Nottinghamshire Probation Trust.

Mark Hedley - Co-opted Board member

Having graduated from Liverpool University in 1968 Mark Hedley was called to the Bar in 1969. After completing Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Sudan, Mark later practiced as a barrister in Liverpool until 1992, acting as Head of Chambers from 1983. He specialised in issues affecting the most vulnerable in society; including child welfare, housing, compensation and crime.I 1992 Mark became a circuit judge in Liverpool, specialising increasingly in law related to children. He was a member of the Children Act Advisory Committee as well as Course Director for family law at the Judicial College. He became a High Court Judge in the Family Division in 2002 until he retired 11 years later in 2013.Since retirement Mark has been Visiting Professor in Law at Liverpool Hope University.

Joanna Nicolas

Joanna Nicolas - Special adviser to the Quality Committee

Joanna  Nicolas is a child protection consultant and trainer and has been a social worker for twenty years.

 Joanna is a national commentator on safeguarding children, appearing regularly across the BBC, Sky and ITV. She speaks at national conferences. She is a published author. Her first book was published in 2012 entitled “Conducting the Home Visit in Child Protection”. The second edition of the book has recently been published. Her second book, published in August 2015, is called “A Practical Guide to Child Protection. The Challenges, Pitfalls and Practical Solutions”. Her books deal with the practical issues professionals face. She writes regularly for a range of outlets including the Guardian and Community Care.

 Joanna undertakes a range of consultancy work including the role of national safeguarding advisor to Home-Start UK. She also undertakes serious case reviews. Joanna develops and delivers safeguarding training. She is a core trainer for her Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Simon Hackett

Professor Simon Hackett - Academic adviser to the Quality Committee

Simon is Professor of Applied Social Sciences and Principal of St Mary’s College at Durham University. He has been involved in the field of safeguarding children for 25 years initially as a practitioner, manager and researcher. He has written extensively on the topic of social work with children and families, professional assessment and decision making, adoption of children, and child sexual abuse. His recent research includes a large randomised control trial of interventions for children who have been sexually abused, with Professor John Carpenter of the University of Bristol. Simon is Chair of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) which is a national child protection charity. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. He is immediate past Co-Editor of the Journal ‘International Social Work’ and was formerly Editor of the ‘Journal of Sexual Aggression’.  Simon is Academic Advisor to the Cafcass Quality Committee and  sits on the Research  Governance Committees.


Please see here for Board members' Declarations of Interest.


| Home Page | News | |