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.

Senior Management
Martin Stephenson
Chief Executive

With extensive experience in education, youth justice and social care, and having been involved in policy, management, and practice, I have spent my career working with socially excluded groups. I was a founder member of the Youth Justice Board from 1998 to 2002, and formerly Chief Executive of the charity Include. I 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, I was responsible for a series of influential reports on youth justice and education for the Youth Justice Board and Arts Council.  My publications include Young People and Offending, the first generic textbook 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.

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Jayne Cowley
Business Director
Jayne
Programme Team
Lynsey Harris
Programme Manager - Foundation Degree in Youth Justice

I have spent my career working in various senior administrative roles both in the private and public sectors and have developed a passion for providing great service for my customers, who ever they may be. In addition, I have 6 years' experience working within project management for a large global IT firm. 

I joined Unitas in early 2018 as a Programme Manager for the Foundation Degree in Youth Justice.  I am keen to use the skills I have acquired throughout my career to develop processes and strategies for Unitas and to continue the success and growth of the Foundation Degree.  

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Helen Haskett
Programme Manager - Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate

I have worked in sales, business development and marketing for many years and have experience across a diverse range of sectors including travel, serviced offices, construction and professional services. 

Youth Justice is a new sector for me and as a Programme Manager for the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC), I am using many of the skills and experience gained from previous roles through a very varied career.  It is great to be part of such a talented and enthusiastic team, which is dedicated to providing Unitas Academy students with excellent service, encouragement and support.


Helen Haskett
Sarita Jepps
Programme Manager - Foundation Degree in Youth Justice

I have a background in creative arts and business services within the private sector, and more recently development management within the not-for-profit sector.  I particularly enjoy leading community engagement projects and have a keen interest in social justice and social anthropology.

I joined Unitas in October 2017 as a Programme Manager for the Foundation Degree in Youth Justice looking after the southern Youth Offending  Institutions and Secure Training Centres.  I’m passionate about giving our students the support they need to successfully complete the Foundation Degree in Youth Justice.  I also provide administrative support for the Summer Arts Colleges.

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Heather Ratcliffe
Programme Manager - Resources and Publications

With over fourteen years’ experience, including seven years working in national government, I have a demonstrated capacity to provide comprehensive high-level support for senior individuals and organisations, supporting complex, deadline-driven operations.

This experience has proven to be invaluable in my role at Unitas, which is programme manager for resources and publications, as I'm responsible for project managing the production of online and offline materials intrinsic to all of the Unitas courses.  I am very proud of the digital resources we have developed and I’m always thrilled to hear all the very positive feedback which we receive from our students.  It’s great to hear how much they have enjoyed using the tools for learning that we have provided them with and how much easier and more accessible it’s made studying for them. 

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Anne Rivett
Accountant


Chloe Rogers
Programme Manager - Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate

After graduating from a London University with an English degree,  I worked in human resources gaining over five years’ experience in the training and development department, managing competencies for an international workforce.

I joined Unitas in early 2018 as a Programme Manager for the YJEPC (Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate). I thrive in customer-focused environments, supporting individuals through learning and education.


Chloe Rogers
Leyla Sadr
Programme Manager (maternity leave)
Consultant Team
Jude Bennett
Secure Estate Liaison

I have extensive experience of working in the adult and youth criminal justice system, initially as a probation officer and later as an operations manager with the Youth Offending Service. 

Throughout my career I've had a keen interest in working with adult learners and have developed and delivered training at home and abroad.  Since joining Unitas five years ago, I have supported students in my role as a tutor on the academy courses, and acted as a critical friend to YOTs (Youth Offending Teams) applying for Artsmark. 

Jude Bennett
Sally Brown
Development

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

Sally Brown
Debbie Jay
Programme Manager - Text Now and Summer Arts Colleges

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

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Victoria Harfield
Finance

I qualified as a chartered accountant at PwC 10 years ago and since that time have worked in a variety of organisations, my current focus is on providing Finance Director support to a number of charities, including Unitas.  I specialise in business strategy, financial modelling, process improvement and change programmes, I am a Prince2 Practitioner and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

I currently volunteer for Women In Prison in Lambeth and am studying for an MSc in Organisational Psychology.  I also do various work with the ICAEW, within their communities and mentoring students in an annual business competition.

Jo Jamieson
Secure Estate Liaison

Over the last 35 years I have worked in a number of roles across education and criminal justice.  After starting my career lecturing in higher education, I have worked in a number of secure establishments with both adults and young people.  More recently I have undertaken community based work, and working with young people who are socially excluded, have committed offences, or been victims of crime.  After completing a Masters in Social Research, I have also been involved in a range of research and evaluation activities.

In my role as Secure Estate Liaison with Unitas I am pleased to be able to combine my interests in education and the youth justice system.

Jo Jamieson
Nikki Kendrick
Lead Tutor

I have over 25 years’ experience in the field of community justice and social care. After starting my career as a probation officer in London, I gained management experience in the voluntary sector, in a multi-agency drug service in Merseyside, and with the Employee Development Unit for Coventry City Council. I then 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. I have also worked with a range of organisations on workforce development issues.

I am lead tutor for the Unitas courses and also a quality assessor.

Nikki Kendrick
Trustees
Phil Clapp
Trustee

I was appointed CEO of the UK Cinema Association in October 2007. The Association represents well over 90 per cent of cinema operators and works to promote the economic, social and cultural value of the sector.

In May 2013, I was elected as President of the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the European grouping of cinema trade associations and key operators, now representing 37 European territories. In June 2017 I was appointed as a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Cinema Federation.

Before joining the Association, I worked at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, most recently 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 partner at Bates Wells Braithwaite and takes a leading role in the Culture + Creative team. She provides governance, commercial, IP, funding and contracts advice to charities and social enterprises. She has advised many organisations on their relationship with local and central government. Erica has served as a charity trustee for a number of charities for over 10 years. She is currently also a trustee of Stone Nest, and provides company secretarial support to the Association of Cultural Enterprises.

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Nicola Lowit
Trustee

My 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.  I 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, I have 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.

I 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. 

I am 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, I have a Masters degree in Education, a Post Graduate Diploma in Criminology and am a graduate of the Major Projects Leadership Academy.

Nicola
Tutor Team
Alison Alford
Tutor

I became a tutor for Unitas in 2017 primarily because I wanted to help develop and expand the knowledge of practitioners working in Youth Justice.

I see my role as tutor to support and guide you successfully through your learning experience.  I come with over 15 years experience in criminal justice, working in both YOT (Youth Offending Team) and probation settings, including officer and management roles.

Currently I am a Workforce Development Officer and work closely with the YOT to identify and address learning and development needs of the staff group. 

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Gill Bassett
Tutor

I am a tutor and a quality assessor. I have over 16 years experience in the field of youth justice after initially becoming a panel member with Exeter, East and Mid Devon YOT (Youth Offending Team) in 2000. Already working for Devon and Cornwall Police as police staff, I 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.

I graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2011 with a BA Hons in Youth Justice and continue to enjoy working in this area with other practitioners. 

Gill Bassett
Simon Bramford
Tutor

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

Simon Bramford
Barbara Elks
Tutor

I have worked for many years within the criminal justice sector. Prior to employment in Youth Offending Services (YOS), I was a Probation Officer and later, a Practice Development Assessor. I have worked in a range of management positions within YOS including the role of Head of Service.

I have extensive experience of working with adult learners. Prior to working with Unitas, I supported students as a Practice Teacher,  Course Tutor (Open University) and Course Tutor (PCEP: Universities’ of Sheffield Hallam & Nottingham Trent).

The concept of Effective Practice has been central to my approach to workforce development, practice and operational / strategic management and I remain committed to the principles which support effective practice and evidence-based practice.

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Clare Gibson
Tutor

I am an experienced tutor at Unitas. Although a qualified Social Worker, I have 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, development of processes regarding Out of Court Disposals, Criminal Behaviour Orders and British Transport Police referrals.

I have worked in Sheffield since 1985 and have therefore seen many changes in practice and legislation – culminating in training practitioners for the introduction of Asset Plus. 

Clare Gibson
Kate Hewitt
Tutor
Sue Horne
Tutor

I have been a tutor at Unitas since March 2016 and have worked with students completing both the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate and the Foundation Degree in Youth Justice.

Prior to this, I worked for some 25 years in adult and youth criminal justice services, both in the community and in the secure estate. In 2014, I took voluntary redundancy from the post of Deputy Head of Service at Shropshire and Telford YOS and, since then, have been seeking a healthier work/life balance by combining the role of Unitas tutor with other interests.

The role of tutor is a very satisfying one. Whilst it’s good to have an opportunity to use my knowledge and experience of youth justice, I recognise it is just as important to be able to offer good quality advice, support and feedback to students as they work through the course materials and complete their assignments. Many of our students have been out of formal education for a while and, understandably, are often a little anxious about starting a qualification, particularly when they are having to combine this with their day job. It’s really rewarding to see students grow in confidence, develop their study skills and demonstrate their learning as the courses progress.

Sue Horne
Julie Kendall
Tutor

Having qualified by way of a CQSW in 1989, as a Home Office sponsored probation student, I have worked both in the probation service and latterly managed a Youth Offending Team. I have delivered teaching and training sessions to a wide variety of audiences and currently co-deliver a module on an Applied Criminology BA Honours course at the University of Worcester, where I have recently been awarded with an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  




Julie Kendall
Jes Oughton
Tutor

Hello.  I am delighted to have recently been recruited to the role of tutor with Unitas on the YJEPC course.  My background is in youth work or work with young people, initially in the field of sports coaching and management.  In 2010 I entered the youth justice arena with the Youth Offending Service.  I have experience of prevention work, high risk offender case work and currently practice in health, wellbeing and welfare linked to offending.   

I enjoyed and successfully completed the YJEPC course in 2017.

I studied Youth and Community Development (BA Hons) and graduated with a 'First' in 2014.  Since then  I have been working part-time as a visiting tutor on the course.  I have a passion for student development and teasing out the potential in people.


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Shela Patel
Tutor

I have working in the youth justice field since 2006 in varied roles including case manager and early intervention manager. I am also an accredited restorative justice practitioner with experience of facilitating conferences as well as more informal restorative processes within a youth offending environment. I have delivered training in restorative practices to prisons, schools and social care staff.

I have had a long-standing interest in criminal justice having studied psychology at Brunel University and then going on to complete a masters in forensic psychology at the University of Leicester. Having completed the youth justice effective practice certificate I am passionate about supporting other professionals who wish to further develop their skills in this area. 


Shela Patel
Mark Pontin
Tutor

I have spent my working life in criminal justice in Hampshire as a police officer, a breach officer in probation, and a practitioner and manager in the YOT (Youth Offending Team).  From 2011 until 2017 I was a workforce development officer in the Children’s Services Department training in youth justice. 

Alongside these roles I obtained a BA (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. 

I am a member of the YJB Workforce Development Council. In 2017 Mark set up Outcome Focussed Youth Justice Training and Consultancy and has since been delivering training on a range of subjects to a variety of youth offending teams and agencies.  He is also employed part-time by Hampshire Children’s Services to deliver safeguarding, `Prevent’, and personal safety training.

Mark Pontin
Phil Sutton
Tutor

After working for over 20 years in the Probation Service I became one of the very first YOT managers, helping to set up Wessex YOT as a pilot youth offending team in 1998. Later I was seconded to the Youth Justice Board to lead a national information sharing programme, and then to head up the Board’s work on resettlement. Since 2011 I have worked as a freelance youth justice specialist on a variety of assignments in community and custodial settings including commissioning management development programmes on behalf of the Association of YOT Managers.


Phil Sutton
Maureen Taylor
Tutor

I have worked for many years as a team manager in youth justice seeing the introduction of the Crime and Disorder Act and the subsequent legislation which has shaped the framework we use today.  As well as oversight of case management,  I have worked alongside parenting support, Troubled Families and ETE workers.  In addition I have experience of working in the residential sector, including secure accommodation, and have been a local assessor for HMIP.  I am qualified as a social worker, a practice teacher and have a degree in education and training. 

I have greatly enjoyed working with successive cohorts of students on the  Foundation Degree and the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate and I am looking forward to supporting future cohorts of students working towards a qualification in their chosen field.  



Maureen Taylor
Rebecca Valentine
Tutor

I have 15 years' experience working directly with young people as well as supervising students within Youth Offending Teams. Having completed the Professional Certificate of Effective Practice (as it was known in the early days) I went on to gain an MA in Social Work, and am working towards becoming a Social Work Practice Educator. I have a foundation certificate in Counselling and Psychotherapy skills, and have taken the lead on Safeguarding as well as compiling research into the needs of black and minority ethnic young people within the criminal justice system.

My hope is to help students get the most out of the YJEPC and enjoy the learning experience as much as possible.



Lee Westlake
Tutor