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Speaker Biographies

Steve Lismore – Head of Stakeholder Engagement

Since January 2012 Steve Lismore has been the head of Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) Operational Stakeholder Engagement team. This team engages with stakeholders on current DWP operational issues, operational change initiatives, and service delivery issues.  We seek stakeholders’ views on:

  • performance of recently introduced products and services and existing programmes;
  • effects of current operations on particular customer groups;
  • issues to take into consideration in planning changes or new programmes.

Steve chairs the DWP Operational Stakeholder Engagement Forum, the main mechanism for engaging with stakeholders on these operational issues.

Prior to his current role Steve spent 2 ½ years in DWP’s Disability and Work Division, leading on the policy development of Access to Work, helping develop the Right to Control initiative, and leading the formal consultation following the Sayce Review of specialist disability employment programmes.

Before joining DWP in 2009 Steve had a long career in the third sector, serving as Chief Executive of social enterprises creating jobs and training for disadvantaged people in the North Derbyshire/South Yorkshire area.

Mary Hipkin

Mary leads the policy strand of the Personal Independence Payment Implementation Programme which she joined formally in December 2011 following the DWP Corporate Centre Review.  Prior to that she was responsible for policy on Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance and in particular led the work on developing options for the reform of DLA. 

Mary has been working on DLA reform in the run up to and following the Budget announcement in June 2010 leading the policy work on the required changes to primary and secondary legislation.  She works very closely with colleagues in Health and Well-being Division who lead on the development of the assessment criteria

Mary has extensive experience of working with Ministers, senior officials, other Government Departments and external partners on developing and implementing a wide range of policies.

Michael Hewson

Michael works within DWP’s Health and Well-being Directorate leading the team responsible for the policy on the PIP assessment, including the assessment criteria. The Directorate is also responsible for the ongoing quality and consistency of assessments for DWP benefits, working closely with commercial and operational colleagues, covering issues such as guidance for assessment providers and the monitoring of quality.

Michael has worked on DLA reform since September 2010 and prior to that he worked on a range of policy issues, including health and employment, housing benefit and automatic enrolment into pensions. Prior to the 2010 election he was Private Secretary to DWP’s Lords Minister.

Richard Llewellyn-Davies

Richard Llewellyn-Davies is the Housing and Voluntary Sector Relationships Manager for the Universal Credit Programme.  He is currently looking into how local level support for Universal Credit claimants will operate from October 2013 and how partners, including Disability Rights organisations can help to support claimants through transition and migration to Universal Credit and then in an on-going capacity.

Social Care Workshop

Simon Gillespie – Chair, Care and Support Alliance

Simon Gillespie joined the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society as Chief Executive in July 2006. Simon has overseen the introduction of the Society's new strategy based on an extensive consultation with people affected by MS, new approaches to research and support for people with MS, and new governance arrangements. 

Simon previously worked as Head of Operations at the Healthcare Commission, where he was responsible for the inspection of NHS and independent healthcare facilities in England. From 2000 to 2004, Simon was Director of Operations at the Charity Commission, modernising the regulation and support of the 180,000 registered charities across England and Wales. Before that, his earlier career was with the Royal Navy, including command of HMS Sheffield, two years advising Government ministers on policy and finally the role of Chief of Staff to the United Kingdom Task Force.

Simon has extensive experience of charity and non-profit governance, and as a non-executive director/trustee.  He is currently the non-executive chair of Neurological Commissioning Support (NCS), a joint venture between the MS Society, the MND Association and Parkinson’s UK.  He is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Neurological Alliance, a trustee of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College London, and a lay member of the General Medical Council's Fitness to Practice panels. He is also chair of the Care and Support Alliance, which comprises over 50 major organisations representing older and disabled people.

Simon holds masters’ degrees in: Philosophy and Political Science; Business Administration; and International Relations.

Amy White

Amy works on the (Draft) Care and Support Bill Team in the Department of Health. Most recently Amy has been responsible for stakeholder engagement in the draft Care and Support Bill during the public consultation, listening to views about the draft.  Amy's responsibilities for the draft bill include the following areas in particular:  integration, prevention, safeguarding, continuity of care and transition form children’s to adults’ services.

Clare Hensman

Clare works on the Dilnot proposals for funding reform in the Department of Health.  Currently, she is working with stakeholders to answer key questions relating to the benefits and implementation of a capped cost system, and the right reform for working age adults, to inform a decision in the Spending Review.   

Transport Workshop

Mike Lambden

Mike Lambden is the Head of Corporate Affairs for National Express coaches and has worked in the bus and coach industry for over 46 years. For a number of years he was a member of DPTAC and found that a very useful experience for developing an understanding of how best to assist disabled and less able customers.
Mike also worked with the Department for Transport on the development of the first accessible coaches for express coach services.

Declan O’Mahoney

Declan took up his appointment as Director of Motability in January 2009. He first joined Motability in April 2002 as Oversight & Strategy Director, progressing to Deputy Director three years later.

Declan has extensive experience of the motor industry having worked for General Motors Europe as Strategic Business Development Director as well as Financial Controller, Marketing Director and Retail Strategies Director for Vauxhall Motors.

Born in 1959, Declan grew up in Cork in the Republic of Ireland.  He graduated from University College in Cork, with a First Class Honours Degree in Civil Engineering and went on to obtain a Masters in Business Administration at IMEDE, in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Declan lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, Chrissi, and their two children, Ellie and Daniel. When he is not at work, he values his time at home and on holiday with his family. He also enjoys skiing, cycling and playing tennis.

Work Capability Assessment Workshop

Tom Pollard

Tom Pollard is Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer in the Social Inclusion and Rights team at Mind. He has worked at Mind for two and a half years. His work focuses on two key areas for people with mental health problems: welfare reform and employment. Before coming to Mind, he studied international development and spent long periods in different parts of Africa, before working as a Parliamentary Assistant to an MP.

Challenging Unlawful Cuts – Irwin Mitchell

Anne-Marie Irwin – Solicitor

Anne-Marie specialises in general public law, community care, mental health and incapacity and human rights law and has acted for patients and vulnerable individuals to obtain appropriate health and community care support from local authorities and social services.

Anne-Marie acts for vulnerable adults who lack capacity to make their own decisions in relation to their health and welfare. In many of these cases she acts for the Official Solicitor and court appointed deputy and has specific experience of dealing with cases where the client is deprived of his or her liberty.

She also represent clients detained under the Mental Health Act and has experience of dealing with Sexual Offences Prevention Orders.

Anne-Marie has also worked on judicial review cases involving a wide range of public law and human rights issues, including prison law, planning law and housing law.

She is currently assisting with an appeal in the Supreme Court in relation to a public law planning case.

Alex Rook – Associate

Described in the Legal 500 as ‘clearly a rising star’ and Chambers UK ‘associate to watch’ noted for his ‘admirable ability for forensic legal analysis,’ Alex is an Associate Solicitor in the Public Law team at Irwin Mitchell in London.  He specialises in public law, community care, mental capacity, disability discrimination and human rights law. He is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to act on behalf of vulnerable adults who lack capacity to make decisions regarding their health and welfare.  

Alex acted for the two claimants in the successful challenge against the cuts to adult social care on the Isle of Wight (JM & NT v Isle of Wight Council [2011] EWHC 2911 (Admin)) as well acting in a number of other challenges to reductions in services to disabled adults and children. 

He was also instructed to intervene on behalf of national charities in the Supreme Court in arguably the two leading community care cases of the last 15 years, R (on the application of McDonald ) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2011] UKSC 33 (6 July 2011) and R (on the application of KM) v Cambridgeshire County Council [2012] UKSC 23.