Who we are

Who we are

Unitas people are the best at what they do and bring vast knowledge and experience gained across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Unitas is a team of professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds in education, policy, criminal justice, management, social work, and training.

Team
Martin Stephenson
Chief Executive

With extensive experience in education, youth justice and social care, and having been involved in policy, management, and practice, Martin has spent his career working with socially excluded groups. A founder member of the Youth Justice Board from 1998 to 2002, he was formerly Chief Executive of the charity Include. He was also the Senior Policy Adviser involved with the design of the Connexions Strategy for the Department for Education and Skills and was previously a Trustee at Nacro and a Non-Executive Director of Norfolk Primary Care Trust. As Director of Social Inclusion Strategy at Nottingham Trent University, he was responsible for a series of influential reports on youth justice and education for the Youth Justice Board and Arts Council. Publications include Young People and Offending (the first generic text examining all the evidence on the relationship between education and offending) and Effective Practice in Youth Justice, which is the main textbook for all Open University courses on youth justice.

MartinStephenson.jpg
Debbie Jay
Text Now Programme Manager

Debbie joined Unitas in March 2015 as the Programme Support Manager for TextNow and the main point of contact for the Summer Arts Colleges Arts Awards Programme. Debbie has extensive experience of supporting wide-ranging educational programmes in the creative arts and main stream education. She is passionate about delivering great customer service and ensuring our programmes meet and exceed expectations.

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Sally Brown
Curriculum Development Manager

Sally has been closely involved in the development of a range of materials about and for young people at risk of offending. Sally has also designed and delivered professional development programmes for practitioners in a variety of contexts.

Sally Brown
Jayne Cowley
Business Manager
Jayne
Nikki Kendrick
Course Director

Nikki is the Lead Tutor on Unitas courses and a Quality Assessor. She has over 25 years’ experience in the field of community justice and social care. After starting her career as a Probation Officer in London, Nikki gained management experience in the voluntary sector, in a multi-agency drug service in Sefton, Merseyside and with the Employee Development Unit for Coventry City Council. Nikki spent five years working with the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) as an Adviser before starting out as a freelance Trainer and Consultant in 2000. She has worked with a range of organisations on workforce development issues.

Nikki Kendrick
Jo Jamieson
Fundraiser

Jo began her career as a lecturer in higher education, but moved into prison education as a result of her interest in the criminal justice system. Following a number of years spent in a range of secure environments, including roles as Education Manager at an adult prison and also a young offender institution, she moved out of custody into the community, where she continued to work within the broad field of education with socially excluded groups. These included young people and adults who had offended. More recently, she has been using her experience of the criminal justice system, the education system and the challenges faced by those at risk of social exclusion to contribute to a range of research and evaluation projects.

Jo Jamieson
Anne Rivett
Accountant

Biog

Trustees
Phil Clapp
Trustee

Phil Clapp was appointed CEO of the (then) Cinema Exhibitors’ Association in October 2007.

During his time at the Association, Phil has spearheaded the establishment of the Digital Funding Partnership, which ensured the survival of small and medium-sized UK cinema operators in a new technological era, as well as more recently leading on the establishment of the ground-breaking Meerkat Movies promotion, the largest cinema promotion ever seen in the UK.

Since May 2013, Phil has served as President of the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) the European grouping of cinema trade associations and key operators, now representing 36 European territories.

Before joining the Association, worked at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, leading on policy for the creative industries - including film, music and computer games - having joined the civil service in 1994 from a background in scientific research.

Phil Clapp
Erica Crump
Trustee

Erica is a solicitor at Bates Wells Braithwaite and takes a leading role in the Culture + Creative team. She provides commercial, contracts and governance advice to charities, social enterprises, creative businesses and commercial organisations. She advises on contracts, trading, sponsorship, advertising, a range of areas relating to creative businesses, governance and legal structures, “spinning out” of local and central government and restructuring services, intellectual property (with a particular focus on copyright), information technology and digital delivery by charities and social enterprises.  She is a proud trustee of Unitas and Stone Nest.

Erica
Nicola Lowit
Trustee

Nicola’s first job after university was as an Assistant Warden in an all male Probation and Bail Hostel.  This was in the 1980s, and at the time overnight single cover was standard.  She followed this with stints at NACRO, the National Housing Federation and the Open University before joining the Civil Service in 1999 as an Education Advisor to the Prison Service. 

Since then, she has held a variety of posts in the National Offender Management Service and the Ministry of Justice, including working with the Youth Justice Board on young people in custody, MoJ Estates and leading the first cross-departmental strategy unit for Women in the Criminal Justice System.

Nicola was appointed Programme Director for the Prison Unit Cost Programme, one of the Secretary of State’s priority programmes, when it was first set up in December 2012, and was responsible for delivering an overall reduction in spend on public sector prisons. 

Nicola is currently responsible for managing the portfolio of change in NOMS, as well as delivering a number of high profile change projects.

As well as a degree in Social Science, Nicola has a Masters degree in Education, a Post Graduate Diploma in Criminology and is a graduate of the Major Projects Leadership Academy

Nicola
Tutors
Mark Pontin
Tutor

Mark has spent his working life in criminal justice in Hampshire as a police officer, a breach officer in probation, and a practitioner and manager in the YOT.  Since 2011 he has been a Workforce Development Officer in the Children’s Services Department training youth justice.  Alongside these roles Mark has obtained a B.A. (hons) from the Open University; an MSc. in Policy and Professional Studies (Crime and Policing); a Foundation Degree in Youth Justice which included the Effective Practice Certificate; and a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education.  He is also a member of the YJB Workforce Development Council.

Mark Pontin
Clare Gibson
Tutor

Clare Gibson is an experienced tutor at Unitas. Although a qualified Social Worker, Clare has always worked in Youth Justice related fields, both pre and post YOTs, ranging from residential and remand foster placements, the Courts, supervision of Community and Custodial Orders , management , and latterly, also development of processes regarding Out of Court Disposals, Criminal Behaviour Orders and British Transport Police referrals. She has worked in Sheffield since 1985 and has therefore seen many changes in practice & legislation – culminating in training practitioners for the introduction of Asset Plus. 

Clare Gibson
Jude Bennett
Tutor

Jude is a tutor on the Unitas Academy courses and a Critical Friend offering challenge and support to Youth Offending Teams applying for Artsmark. She has extensive experience of working within the Criminal Justice System with both adults and young people as well as developing training programmes for staff. Whilst working as a Probation Officer she co-designed and delivered a two-day training programme which became an integral part of the West Midlands Consortium core Probation Service Officer training.  She later moved to the Youth Offending Service to take up a Senior Practitioner post with responsibility for staff training and development.  She subsequently became an Operations Manager and undertook developmental projects including setting up a Youth Inclusion Support Panel Team within the YOT and whilst seconded to the Local Authority, she developed a Targeted Youth Support team before returning to her statutory role within the YOT.  She is now self employed and undertakes consultancy work.

Jude Bennett
Barbara Elks
Tutor

Barbara has extensive experience within the community justice sector: prior to employment in Youth Offending Services (YOS), she was a Probation Officer and, later, a Practice Development Assessor. She has worked in a range of management positions within YOS including the role of Head of Service. Barbara has significant experience of working with adult learners. Prior to working with Unitas, she has worked as a Practice Teacher, Practice Development Assessor, Course Tutor (Open University) and Course Tutor (PCEP: Universities’ of Sheffield Hallam & Nottingham Trent). The concept of Effective Practice has been central to Barbara’s approach to workforce development, practice and operational / strategic management.

Barbara
Sue Horne
Tutor

Sue has been a tutor for the YJEPC since March 2016. Prior to this she had worked in adult and youth criminal justice services for some 25 years. In 2014, she took voluntary redundancy from the post of Deputy Head of Service at Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Youth Offending Service, just prior to the service becoming West Mercia YOS. Since then she has sought a healthier work/life balance and undertaken a number of voluntary and paid jobs and started her own small business.

Sue Horne
David Cohen
Tutor

David has been a tutor on the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate since 2014.  He has been a team manager at Sheffield Youth Justice Service since 2006 and had a twelve month secondment to to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation in 2011 assessing practice in youth offending teams, probation trusts and offender management in prisons.  Prior to this he worked for Manchester Youth Offending Team and in the voluntary sector, co-ordinating a mentoring scheme for young people in trouble with the law.  David is experienced in academic study, both in a taught environment and also distance learning.

David Cohen
David Monk
Tutor

David trained and worked as a probation officer in Tottenham, north London and has extensive middle and senior management experience in Probation.  He has also worked for the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales in both regional and national roles, in the latter leading on initiatives such as the Scaled Approach, workforce development and lessons from serious incidents.  More recently he has worked as Chief Executive of a local Citizens Advice Bureau. He is currently enjoying a resurgence as a practitioner in a Youth Offending Team and combining this with the role of tutor for the Unitas Academy.

David Monk
Gill Bassett
Tutor

Gill is a tutor on Unitas Academy courses and a Quality Assessor. She has over 16 years experience in the field of youth justice after initially becoming a panel member with Exeter, East and Mid Devon YOT in 2000. Already working for Devon and Cornwall Police as police staff was successful in 2004 in becoming Youth Justice Strategic Support Officer and Restorative Justice Trainer in the Territorial Policing and Partnership Department after developing a real interest in the evolving world of youth justice. She graduated from Nottingham Trent University 2011 with a BA Hons in Youth Justice and continues to enjoy working in this area with other practitioners. 

Gill Bassett
Simon Bramford
Tutor

Simon Bramford became a Tutor in 2015 through a desire to contribute to the development of youth justice staff and share some of the learning he has acquired during a 14 year career on this field. Living in Norfolk he has worked for both Norfolk and Suffolk Youth Offending Teams in a variety of practitioner and management roles. The focus of his  career has been improving the lives of children, young people and their families through placing the child and family at the centre of work - these values he brings to the role as a tutor at Unitas.

Simon Bramford
Shela Patel
Tutor


Shela has been working in the youth justice field since 2006 in varied roles including case manager and early intervention manager. She is also an accredited restorative justice practitioner with experience of facilitating conferences as well as more informal restorative processes within a youth offending environment. She has also delivered training in restorative practices to prisons, schools and social care staff. Shela has had a long-standing interest in criminal justice having studied psychology at brunel university and then going to complete a masters in forensic psychology at the university of Leicester. Having completed the youth justice effective practice certificate herself Shela is passionate about supporting other professionals who wish to further develop their skills in this area. 


Shela Patel
Maureen Taylor
Tutor


Maureen has worked for many years in youth justice seeing the introduction of the Crime and Disorder Act and subsequent legislation which has shaped the framework we use today. She has experience of working in the residential sector including secure accommodation and has been a local assessor for HMIP. Maureen is currently a Youth Offending Team Manager supervising case managers as well as additional services such as education welfare and family support. A degree in education and training complements a long experience working in the field. As a new member of the Unitas team, Maureen is looking forward to supporting students working towards a qualification in their chosen field of practice.


Maureen Taylor
Julie Kendall
Tutor


Having qualified by way of a CQSW in 1989 as a Home Office sponsored Probation student, Julie has worked in the Probation Service and the Youth Offending Service. As a practitioner in Probation she has worked in many aspects including Crown Court, Programmes Unit and latterly as a Victim Contact Officer. Julie has delivered teaching sessions to a wide variety of audiences and currently delivers a module on an Applied Criminology BA Honours course at the University of Worcester, where she has recently been awarded with an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Having taken early retirement at the end of 2016, Julie continues to keep up to date with research and issues around Youth Justice, Criminal Justice and Children's Social Care.


Julie Kendall