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.


Richard Adams                              
Chief Executive Officer, Sears Healthcare Ltd

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

Moving into the health and social care sector in 2009, Richard has worked in a number of governance and operational roles.  He joined Bupa Care Services in 2013 as Head of Quality, moving to the Director of Care and Quality role in 2015. Richard was later appointed Chief Nurse for Bupa UK encompassing nurses working in care homes, an acute hospital, primary care and telemedicine practice settings

Richard was appointed CEO of Sears Healthcare in September 2018, a new care home provider delivering residential, nursing and dementia across the South West.

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.

Claire Henry
MBE RGN Postgraduate Diploma BSc (Hons)
Director of Transformation, Hospice UK

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.

Hilary GarrattCBE, BSc, MSc, RGN, SCPHN (RHV), PGCE
Director of Nursing in NHS England and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England

Hilary leads a nursing and midwifery team in NHS England that focuses on a number of national statutory functions and professional development priority areas.

Hilary is a registered Nurse and Health Visitor with over 30 years’ experience of working in clinical, public health and leadership roles in the NHS. Hilary has held a number of Director posts across both commissioning and provider environments in addition to holding and a Deputy Chief Executive post for both. Hilary has been working at National Director level for the last 5 years.

From 2013 – 2017 Hilary volunteered for BBC Children in Need and was a committee member that undertook grant making for the North of England. She is also a trustee of a charity, “Giving to Gambia” and enjoys working in the Gambia for a short time each year as a volunteer to support initiatives that improve health and wellbeing.

Hilary worked in the Calais refugee jungle in 2016 and witnessed the reality of individuals, living through unimaginable trauma. She saw children being lured into the hands of criminals for want of a better life and seeing this first hand brought home the sheer importance of the NHS and other organisations across the health and care system working together to protect the most vulnerable people in society.

Hilary received a CBE in the 2017 New Years Honours for services to Nursing, particularly her work to safeguard some of the most vulnerable people in society.

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
Chief Executive – Partnership Support Group

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 began work as a supporter and then manager of services set up by the Tizard’s Special Development. This sparked her interest in teaching and staff training and she spent the next 7 years working as a trainer with a particular interest in taking training into the workplace.

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. During this time Sarah worked as an operational manager and more recently in development and quality assurance. A thread running through her work has always been finding new ways to support people to take control of their lives. 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 role of Managing Director at Choice Support in 2016 where she continued to support people with disabilities take more control of their lives. In November 2017 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 Vice Chair of Learning Disability England and a one of the founding members of the Association of Quality Checkers.

Tom Owen
Director – 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
Director – 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
RN RMA – 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.

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

Gil 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.

Alex RamamurthyAlex Ramamurthy
Alex is CEO of the Care Workers Charity (CWC)

Prior to joining the Charity in December 2016, Alex spent six years in the startup scene building socially minded businesses, businesses that went on to be acquired by the NHS and Age UK.

Alex is driven to solve big problems, and having spent 10 years visiting his grandmother in a local care home and seeing the effects long hours and mentally draining work can have on care workers, he was passionate to join CWC. Following a transformative 12 months, Alex is taking even more ambitious and innovative approaches to get the Charity closer to their vision, where no care worker faces financial hardship alone.

Most recently Alex has been named in Care Home Professional’s 2018 Leaders in Care List, shortlisted for Charity Chief Executive of the Year at the 2018 Third Sector Awards, and contributed to CWC being shortlisted for Charity of the Year and Change Project of the Year at the 2018 Charity Times Awards.

Emma SelfEmma Self   RN, DN, BSc (Hons), MSc

Emma trained as a General Nurse and went on to qualify as District Nursing Specialist Practitioner, and has worked in the community setting for over 20 years, in a range of clinical, leadership and senior managerial positions, latterly focussed on workforce and professional development on a system wide basis.

Currently the Community Nursing Lead for NHS England, a national advisory and support role covering all aspects of community nursing and reporting to the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England. Emma is also a facilitator for the Mary Seacole leadership programme and an editorial board member for the Journal of Community Nursing.

Laura BroughtonLaura Broughton                                                                                                 
Expert by Experience – Choice Support

Laura has been employed as an Expert by Experience and Quality Checker since 2011 checking a range of health and social services, finding out directly from the people using the service if its good enough. Laura is also a creative artist, .and has had 2 exhibitions this year . She is the first woman with a learning Disability to win a place at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Show.


Raf HamaiziaRaf Hamaizia                                                                                                       
Expert by Experience – Choice Support

Raf Hamaizia is an experienced patient leader, Expert by Experience and founder of The Joint Thinking Initiative; a user-led organisation focusing on co-production and service user involvement.

'Raf' is an Expert By Experience with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NHS England, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, various universities and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) via Choice Support, where he has taken part in key guidance committees, working groups and over 100 CQC inspections and counting.

He has been the Expert By Experience Lead (Director of Involvement) for Cygnet Healthcare since August 2016 where he has been working alongside the Director of Nursing to shape and improve the service user involvement structures within the organisation, both on a local and group level. He has rolled out a number of initatives within Cygnet Healthcare such as 'The People's Council' and his role has been recognised as 'an area of outstanding practice' by the Care Quality Commission.

His most recent notable work was as chair of the topic group on 'Other ethnic minorities' as part of the independent review of the Mental Health Act.

Raf is currentley studying an MSc in mental health recovery and social inclusion at the University of Hertfordshire where he is also student rep.

In his spare time he works with disadvantage youth, third sector organisations and is a prominent mental health awareness campaigner. He is passionate about music and is part owner of an independent record label, talent management and media production company.