The Judging process:

All entries are judged by a panel including ‘experts by experience’ alongside experts from the sector.

Successful entries are shortlisted for an initial round of online judging. This stage of the judging process will determine three finalists for each category.

If your entry is selected as one of the final three, you will be asked to attend a short interview, where you will meet a panel of judges to discuss your entry in more detail.

You must be available to attend both the interview and the Awards ceremony if you are one of three finalists in your category, otherwise you will be unable to continue in the process. 

Kim Arnold
National Lead for Experts By Experience
– Choice Support

Kim Arnold is the National Lead of Choice Support’s Expert By Experience programme. Kim has worked in health or social care for 35 years as a RGN and qualified social worker. She has worked alongside people with a range of disabilities and Talents. Kim joined Choice Support in 2004 and shaped the introduction of co-production through Quality Checkers and family forums.

Dr Richard Adams
Chief Nurse

Richard started in the health and social care sector aged 17 as a care assistant. He worked in a number of care assistant roles across general, mental health and learning disability services, before qualifying as a nurse in 2003.  

Post-qualifying Richard practiced in older people’s medicine and neurosurgery, including ITU and HDU, before working as a specialist research nurse for the University of Sheffield. Moving back into the health and social care sector in 2009, Richard has worked in a number of governance and operational roles, working directly with home managers as well as managing large strategic functions and support services.  

 Richard became Chief Nurse for Bupa UK in 2015. He holds a Masters degree and a PhD from the University of Sheffield.

Nicky Cook
Head of Quality & Safeguarding
– Choice Support

Nicky started her career as a Registered Nurse for people with Learning Disabilities supporting people who had moved out from a long stay institution. She has since worked in a variety of community settings and is passionate about ensuring people with learning disabilities have a full and interesting life. She has worked for Choice Support since 2001 and as part of the quality team she enjoys mentoring and supporting staff to reflect on the good and the not so good things that happen in order to create an environment of continuous improvement where people with learning disabilities can feel happy and safe and are enabled  to achieve their goals.

Eric Hardman
Head of Housing
– Asset Management

Eric has worked in social housing for 35 years and 27 years in senior positions at several registered providers. During this period he has worked with a number of different needs groups including ex-offenders, single homeless, women’s refugees, but has nearly always had some responsibilities for people with learning disabilities, working with a number of national and local providers. Eric has also sat on housing provider boards and a number of charities including the H&SA. His current position is Head of Housing at Dimensions (UK) Ltd, a post he’s held for 10 years.

Claire Henry
MBE RGN Postgraduate Diploma BSc (Hons)
Chief Executive, The National Council for Palliative Care & Dying Matters

Prior to this role, Claire was Head of Programmes for Long Term Conditions and End of Life Care at NHS Improving Quality. Previous roles have included Programme Director for the National End of Life Care Programme which supports the implementation of the national end of life care strategy for England. She also had a number of roles within the Cancer Services Collaborative ‘Improvement Partnership’ (CSC ‘IP’) supporting cancer networks in the implementation of service redesign for cancer services. Claire has also recently chaired the Board for the report, What’s important to me: A review of Choice in End of Life Care which calls for a new ‘national choice offer in end of life care’ to be established and which was set up by the Health Minister, Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP.

Claire’s background is in nursing. She trained at South Lincolnshire School of Nursing. After qualifying Claire worked predominately in cancer and palliative care.

Gil Ramsden
RGN, RM, BSc hons
Independent Care Sector Regional Lead, NHS England (North)

Gil RamsdenGil qualified 30 years ago; she enjoyed working in general practice for 18 years and clinical commissioning for the last 4 years. As an ambassador for life-long learning Gil was also an associate lecturer at a university in Leeds. She is passionate about integrating a non-medical team across primary care so that patients receive the best care possible by the best person able to deliver their care. In the latter part of her career she has developed a special interest in care homes.

From October 2017 Gil leaves her current role as Head of Nursing (Workforce Integration) to work on secondment at NHS England (North) as Care Sector Lead, progressing quality improvement initiatives that aim to avoid hospital admission or reduce length of stay for care homes residents. She agrees that we all have our part to play in giving care home residents, relatives and carers the best care we possibly can in the last 1000 days.


Troy Jones
Commissioning Officer
– Kent County Council

Troy is a Commissioning Officer in the Accommodation Solutions unit of Kent County Council’s Social Health and Wellbeing Strategic Commissioning Division. His team develops commissioning strategies to ensure the effective delivery of accommodation-based services across all service user groups in the county. Troy is a Board member of the Housing and Support Alliance and a Director of the Kent Challenging Behaviour Network.

John Kennedy
Independent Social Care Consultant

John gained a degree in Economics BA (Hons) Econ from the University of Manchester in 1987.

John spent 15 years working for an independent care company in the East Riding of Yorkshire. His last role in the company was as General Manager. He also previously ran his own business delivering IT solutions to the care sector and newsagents.

John joined JRHT/JRF in 2001 as Deputy Director of Care Services and became Director of Care Services in 2004. He managed a mixed portfolio of care homes, retirement villages, supported living in York, Leeds, Scarborough and Hartlepool.

In his time at JRF John also managed a portfolio of action research projects including ‘Neighbourhood approached to loneliness”, “Care Homes-Risk and regulation” and, published in Oct 2014, ‘John Kennedy’s Care Home Inquiry’.

John’s other roles have included: Board Director , National Care Forum (NCF), Foundation Governor and Chair of the Finance Committee at The Joseph Rowntree School, York; Commissioner – York Fairness Commission, sponsored by the Archbishop of York. (Final report published 2012); And Commissioner – North Yorkshire and York NHS Clinical Services Review chaired by Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor (report published 2011).

Current roles include. Trustee of the Wilberforce Trust – a charity providing accommodation and services to adults with learning disabilities, specifically those with a visual impairment. Director of The Residential Forum and Honorary Lecturer at City University, London.

John is currently working as a freelance consultant in social care.

Sarah Maguire
BA (Hons), M.A, CIPD, Fellow of Centre for Welfare Reform
Managing Director
– Choice Support

Sarah has worked with people with learning disabilities and their families since the mid 80's when she began supporting people to move out of long stay institutions back to their homes.

Sarah completed her MA in Applied Psychology of Learning Disability Services and began work at Choice Support, formerly Southwark Consortium. She has been part of its growth from a single borough organisation in South East London to a National provider. Sarah is an advocate of partnership working with people with disabilities their families; other organisations and more recently with regulators. These relationships have challenged her thinking and lead to a range of new initiatives around safeguarding; helping people connect with their communities and making sure people with disabilities are part of the leadership and quality process within support providers. Sarah took up the the role of Managing Director at Choice Support in 2016 and recently Sarah took up her new role as Chief Executive of the Partnership Support Group following the merger of Choice Support and mcch.

She is a Board member of Learning Disability England and a member of the Driving Up Quality steering committee. Sarah is one of the founding members of the Association of Quality Checkers.

Brenda Murray
– Carers UK

Brenda is a Masters graduate in Coaching Psychology with background experience within the Community Justice Field. Following Brenda’s journey to achieve her first BA Degree in Criminal Justice as a Probation Officer, she managed the high-risk Intensive Surveillance and Supervision programme in the Youth Offending Team, then went onto senior management within housing. This role came to an end following Brenda’s additional role as a carer.

Brenda currently cares for her Mother, who is recovering from a stroke. During her role as a carer, Brenda developed a passion to improve support and advice for unpaid carers. Brenda was a Carer Ambassador for three years and has been both a Carer Representative for her local Carers Partnership Board and for the Royal College of General Practitioners. Brenda is now a Trustee for Carers UK, she campaigns to bring about positive change for patients/carers by participating in local and national events highlighting carers’ issues.

In 2015, Brenda was a panel member for the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Health Care 2015 that required her to provide feedback to the Strategic Board members relating to how best to improve the event for patients/carers in the following event that took place in Sweden 2016. Brenda is also part of a team to bridge the gap between patients/carers and healthcare professionals by providing consultation as a ‘critical friend’ to her local clinical commissioning group and the NHS Board. Brenda also was one of the reviewing panel members for The King’s Fund Digital Health and Care Congress 2017.

Tom Owen
– My Home Life

Tom has been working with older people for 25 years as a campaigner, researcher and practitioner. He began his career working in care homes and as a community worker before taking a research position at Oxford University, and later working as an independent research consultant and trainer. In 1999, Tom moved to Help the Aged (now AgeUK) where he took the role of Policy Research Manager, managing all commissioned research and acting as policy spokesperson on issues around dying, social isolation, depression and the lived experience of older people. Tom Owen is the Co-Founder and the Co-Director of My Home Life.

Kathy Roberts
Chief Executive
– Association of Mental Health Providers

Kathy has worked in health and social care for over 30 years, 20 of which as a senior manager across adult and older people’s social care service. Kathy moved into the independent sector in 2005, as a Director of Strategic Development, where she was involved in looking at national policy and influencing wider service transformation at a national and local level, she has also been involved in European work. Kathy was appointed Chief Executive of MHPF in April 2012 and has been the Chair of the Care Providers Alliance since October 2013. Throughout her career Kathy has championed working alongside people with lived experience in the design and delivery of services.

Sylvie Silver
– National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People (NAPA)

Sylvie is the Director of NAPA responsible for all aspects of the charity’s work. Sylvie ‘s hands on experience was gained when she worked as a Leisure Services Manager in a nursing home for older people during which time she gained a diploma in Performance Coaching and achieved the City and Guilds 6977 Certificate in Providing Therapeutic Activities for Older People.

Susan Williams
– Matron Royal Hospital Chelsea

Susan has been qualified for 37 years and has spent the last 20 years in elderly care and has managed two services. She is passionate about elderly care and of end of life care. As people are living longer with multiple conditions and complex needs, she says it is very important to ensure you have a team in place to cater for medical as well as emotional needs. The Royal Hospital, the home of the Chelsea Pensioners whose Scarlet coats you may have seen, is a vibrant place with high levels of nursing care activities and outings to stimulate all tastes.