Consultancy team

Our NCVO consultancy team consists of skilled and experienced team members who know the voluntary and community sector and understand the pressures organisations face. The consultancy team specialise in:

Find out more about NCVO consultancy.


Dan Francis

dan francis 96x96Dan leads NCVO’s work on governance. He has considerable experience supporting organisational development and leadership of charities of all sizes from across the sector. Dan sits as a member of the charity governance code steering group and has been heavily involved in authoring the most recent edition of the code. He tutors on NCVO’s governance training courses and delivers the Step on Board programme.

Dan’s background is from the youth and education sector having joined NCVO from the National Union of Students, where as a consultant, he supported the development of students’ unions. Dan has experience of interim senior management assignments in the voluntary sector and has served as a trustee for small and medium sized community and education charities.

Karen Bishi

Karen Bishi Associate Consultant 96 x 96Karen has a wealth of experience of governance in the voluntary sector. She is a Trustee of Youth Access and has experience of working at a senior level for a Local Mind Association and Cambridge House community settlement project. Whilst working for the National Union of Students (NUS), Karen created a Code of Good Governance and interactive online self-assessment toolkit for Students' Unions across the UK. She also produced guidance for Higher Education Institutions which gained endorsement from the Committee of University Chairs.

She is a qualified Coach, NLP Practitioner, Trainer and an experienced Action Learning Set Facilitator. She is accredited by the Coaching Academy and is a registered CPD provider with the CPD Standards Office. She has particular expertise in EDI, talent development, governance, leadership and relationship management.

Emma Herbert

Emma Herbert

Emma is an experienced governance consultant, focusing on reviews and board performance. She brings a wealth of experience, having worked with a range of voluntary and community sector organisations, from large household name charities through to small, local community groups. She is a qualified employment solicitor (currently non-practising) and has worked with employers of all sizes around issues of strategic planning, change management, discrimination, workplace disputes and employment tribunal disputes.

Anne Moynihan

Anne Moynihan

Anne was head of our governance and leadership team until 2011. She is a Fellow of the RSA, a member of the Charity Law Association and a governance course leader for Civil Society Media’s national trustee training programme. Anne was, until recently, a member of the steering group for Good Governance: a Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector and a board member of Trustees Unlimited. Anne was co-author of a publication for trustees of Trust Schools and co-author of ‘ Sustainable Funding: a guide for Trustees’.

Sarah O'Grady

Karen OGrady bio 96 x 96Sarah's earlier career was as a solicitor and manager working in the private and public/regulatory sectors. An accredited mediator and experienced leader, she draws on her varied experience, taking a practical approach when working with boards and executive teams to improve governance and on operational matters such as data protection. Sarah also facilitates and coaches including where there are difficult situations or relationships. 

Sarah chaired a high-profile NGO, driving and leading its transformation, including a governance and constitutional reform programme, in a challenging context. She is a member of the Charity Law Association and was a member of the working party responding to the draft Charity Governance Code. She is also a qualified Arbitrator, skilled in carrying out reviews and reporting.

Sue Pearlman

Sue Pearlman

Sue has wide experience as a trustee and a senior manager in the voluntary sector. She is a skilled facilitator, trainer, supervisor and mentor with experience gained mainly through her involvement with the Citizens Advice Bureau service. She is chair of Community Action Hertsmere and a trustee at The Movement for Reform Judaism. Her particular interests include governance, trustee/staff relationships, developing partnerships and collaborative working.

Ian White

ian white

Ian has been the chief legal officer and/or company secretary for both listed and major private companies, leading him to develop an expertise in corporate governance and working with boards on effectiveness and performance.

Over the last 18 months he has undertaken five board evaluations for FTSE 250 companies and others in the non-profit sector, and has undertaken board facilitation work. In 2016 he spent six months as an internal governance consultant for a FTSE 100 international bank, working on board effectiveness and governance matters for the holdings board. Ian currently sits on the board of a medium-sized incorporated charity as vice chair elect.

Claire Starza-Allen

Claire Starza-Allen

Claire has extensive experience in different sectors including the not for profit, central government, and the private sector, she is passionate about helping organisations make a positive impact on society. Her qualifications in law as well as finance and business provide a formidable commercial edge in the design, development and management of innovative ventures and complex contracting arrangements. An excellent negotiator, mediator and facilitator, Claire successfully identifies and de-escalates risks, whilst creating the processes and performance frameworks to assist the development of robust and viable business plans and governance arrangements. Claire is an RSA fellow, Trustee at The Advocacy Project, Committee Member for Ethical Fundraising and Partnerships at The British Red Cross, Accredited civil and commercial mediator.


Howard Exton-Smith

Howard Exton Smith

Howard has over 20 years’ experience as a consultant and trainer specialising in personal and organisational development, transformation and performance improvement. As an adviser to boards and senior management teams, he creates value and delivers positive change by building capacity and strengthening individuals and organisations. Howard has been a charity trustee and chair and has lived and worked in Europe, Africa and North America.

Kita Jiwani


Kita holds a graduate diploma in law and started her career in the third sector, working initially on implementing government strategy in primary education for a national charity before going on to work as director of operations for an East London-based youth charity. In that role she delivered to public, private and third sector organisations and developed specialisms in capacity building amongst voluntary and community organisations and bid writing, securing funds from various sources including the European Social Fund, local and national government as well as private trusts and foundations.

Srabani Sen OBE

Srabani Sen OBE

Srabani works particularly at board level on issues of leadership, strategy and campaigning. She has 10 years’ experience as a successful CEO and over 20 years’ experience as an effective board member. She was awarded an OBE in 2013 for her work with children and families.

With a strong track record of transformational change she is passionate about organisational effectiveness and connecting leadership, strategy and governance to the needs of beneficiaries and customers in a meaningful and measurable way. Through her work in the voluntary sector Srabani has built a high profile in the press, regularly appearing on national media such as BBC Breakfast, Sky News and the Today Programme.

Ros Jenkins

Rosaline Jenkins

Ros leads our work on strategic income diversification and income management – particularly organisational strategy, fundraising, relationships and marketing.

Ros is the Chair of her local NCT branch and a trustee for the Grandparents Association. For the past six years at NCVO, Ros has specialised in Sustainable Funding – developing tools, resources and publications and supporting a wide range of organisations to take an integrated and holistic look at their financial stability. 

Sarah Gilbert

Sarah Shimmin Gilbert

Sarah leads our work on campaigning and works nationally and internationally to support people and organisations to further their charitable aims through achieving social and political change. She chairs our Certificate in Campaigning and is a member of the sector's Campaigning Advisory Board.

Sarah has a background in public policy and campaigning on health and disability rights, has completed an in-depth learning programme from the Tavistock Institute’s MA in organisational consulting and holds a Certificate in Executive Coaching. She also holds an MSc from LSE in European policy.

Brian Lamb

Brian Lamb

Brian specialises in public policy, public affairs, campaigns and strategy and his clients span the voluntary, public and private sectors. He works on campaigning planning and development using a theory of change approach developed from his NCVO report on Theory of Change. He also wrote our Guide to Campaigning and Influencing for the Charity Sector.

He has worked extensively with government and chaired a national inquiry which led to a number of changes in legislation, and also helped found a new charity Achievement for All, which he chairs.

He holds an MSC in politics and sociology and is also a visiting fellow at London South Bank University at the Centre of Government and Charity Management and Visiting Professor in Special Educational Needs and Disability at Derby University.

Lin Gillians

Lin works on review, strategy and change, mainly specialising in health, social care and local voluntary sector infrastructure.

Lin draws on her extensive experience as a charity CEO, and her specific areas of expertise are:

  • organisational transformation
  • strategic and business planning
  • project review and development
  • research and evaluation
  • partnership development.

Lin is a Master of Business Administration (MBA), has a degree in Psychology, a certificate in managing in non-profit making organisations, and IT qualifications. Lin has also fulfilled several interim CEO roles.

William Roberts

William RobertsWith more than 20 years experience as a senior leader in the public and voluntary sectors, William specialises in business, organisational and partnership development, helping organisations to find practical, focused solutions to complex problems. 

William is an experienced facilitator, bringing together a range of opinions in often sensitive or political environments. He has also commissioned and delivered services in a range of sectors, including as a director at a large national children’s charity, and facilitated change in the health sector running a major transformation project for a hospice.

William is currently chair of governors at a large and improving secondary school and is a former vice-chair of BBC Children in Need.


Shaun Lynes 

Shaun is a Lean Sigma Master Black Belt with a broad range of industry experience including aerospace, space, technology, IT and financial services. Shaun’s domain expertise includes Lean Sigma, Lean Start Ups, Change Management, Collaboration and Innovation techniques. He has experience of facilitating problem solving within cross functional teams and programme management of lean deployment in complex environments.

Mary Davies

Mary has over 16 years’ experience supporting people and organisations of all types and sizes in the private, public and voluntary sectors, both in the UK and globally. She focuses on working with clients to deliver improvements through understanding work processes and ensuring changes are sustainable through the appropriate use of quality systems. Mary holds a PhD in Chemistry, as well as a post-doctoral research fellowship. She was the treasurer of Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust for six years.


NCVO Charities Evaluation Services lead our impact and evaluation consultancy work. Find out more about the team.


Shaun Delaney

shaun delaney96x96Shaun is our volunteering development manager. Passionate about the psychology of leadership and management, Shaun works closely with key stakeholders including the Association of Volunteer Managers, to help to raise the profile of volunteer management as a profession. Shaun also develops and manages our learning and development material, supporting front-line and infrastructure organisations in all things volunteer management. This is based on his experience as head of volunteering at Samaritans, trustee of Greater London Volunteering and training manager with Volunteer Centre Greenwich. He holds a Masters in Civil Society Management, specialising in volunteer management and certified with ICSA.

Jarina Choudhury

jarina choudhury 96x96Jarina is responsible for developing consultancy and training with the aim of improving volunteering practice across the public, private and voluntary sectors. She provides training and consultancy in volunteering strategy, volunteering and the law, policy development and the design and implementation of volunteer programmes. Jarina’s clients have included The National Trust, Amnesty International UK, AstraZeneca, Association of Voluntary Service Managers and Crimestoppers UK and the Home Office.

Commissioning, consortium development and social investment

Emma Baylin 

Emma Baylin 96x96Emma is NCVO’s content expert on health systems and commissioning, and the role of the voluntary sector in health service transformation. Emma has more than 25 years’ experience of working and volunteering in health and community organisations and is an experienced trainer delivering on topics such as evidencing impact, understanding data and understanding health and social care system transformation.

In 2015 Emma co-designed and delivered NCVO’s health commissioning masterclass in all nine English regions and in 2017 Emma co-designed and co-delivered a development programme for NHS sustainability and transformation partnerships which aimed to increase voluntary sector involvement and facilitate shared leadership in complex systems. Emma is also founder and director of Shared Harmonies, of a social enterprise improving health & wellbeing through inspirational singing.

Neil Coulson

neil coulson

Neil Coulson has supported/advised on the development of over 100 voluntary sector consortia nationally, and delivers nationally accredited training for social enterprise advisors and mentors. He specialises in supporting the sector to grow its role within public service delivery and, collectively, the consortia he has worked with have gone on to secure hundreds of millions of pounds in public sector contracts. He also supports organisations to explore social investment, having worked on scores of investment proposals and delivered numerous investment readiness masterclasses across the country.

John Gillespie

JohnG portrait 150px greJohn Gillespie is a voluntary sector consultant specialising in commissioning of health and social care. He works with commissioning bodies and providers on the transformation of services and making most of the relationship with the voluntary sector. In 2008-10 John worked on the introduction of personalised care and support, and more recently worked as strategic link between health and the voluntary sector in Tower Hamlets, London. Aside from his work as an NCVO consultant, John works with the Public Services Transformation Academy. John has also supported the development of several voluntary sector consortia.


jean collingwood small 96 greyscale

Jean is a fully qualified marketer with more than twenty years’ senior management experience in the not for profit sector. She has held many high-profile roles including being the First Chief Executive of national campaigning Charity the Drinkaware Trust, The first Chief Executive of Paralympics Sport, Great British Wheelchair Rugby. Other senior management roles have included five years as Director of The Prince’s Trust, Interim Director of Public Affairs for Disability Charity, Leonard Cheshire, and Director of Fundraising and Marketing for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers where she managed two teams of 28 fundraisers based in London and Glasgow.

Jean has served as Chair for Mental Health Tribunal and was Deputy Chair of the BBC serving for three years. She was a visiting lecturer at London South Bank University teaching at post graduate level strategic charity marketing and charity communication strategies.

Philippa Cowley-Thwaites

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Philippa Cowley-Thwaites is a marketing and marketing communications specialist with over 35 years’ experience, including 22 years in the voluntary sector. She started her career in the private sector, and then spent seven years in a local authority before holding senior marketing posts at several charities including Asthma UK, The Royal Society of Arts and Personal Finance Education Group.

As a consultant Philippa is particularly skilled at strategy and brand development and all aspects of marketing communications. She was a consultant for the Big Assist and Big Potential and is currently providing marketing support for small and medium charities through the Lloyds Bank Foundation’s Enhance programme. 

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