National LADO Conference 2017 – The Speakers

It has now been effectively 10 years since the creation of the LADO role and this year’s conference offers us the chance to celebrate, reflect on our impact and look at where we go next.

This year’s conference will include a mix of speakers and workshops sourced from the statutory, voluntary and private sectors to provide a stimulating programme of direct relevance to LADO work. We also hope to bring the voice of those potentially impacted by the work of LADOs as well as an update from our new national LADO network formed following last year’s Conference.

More details and register here.


DI Michael Spellman – West Midlands Police

DI Spellman has been a police officer for almost 29 years and has spent the last nine years working in child protection. He has worked on a number of high profile cases including Khyra Ishaq and Keegan Downer and currently runs the Child Abuse Investigation Unit in Sandwell West Midlands. He works closely with the LADO for Sandwell and is also involved in delivering training across a number of areas such as neglect, voice of the child, child death process, and modern day slavery. He is a married with two teenage sons.

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Nabila Sharma – Author of ‘Brutal’


Nabila will talk from the survivor’s perspective. Born and raised in the Midlands, the youngest of five siblings and the only daughter in a strict Muslim home, seven-year-old Nabila was sent to the Mosque to begin lessons. Here she was subjected to brutal abuse at the hands of the Imam. The incidents that occurred over these years changed her life forever.

Now an independent woman, Nabila works to bring light to the crimes kept in the dark and justice to those who deserve it. The 36-year-old sales rep hopes her story will help to stop others from having to ‘suffer in silence’.



Dez Holmes – Director of Research in Practice and Research in Practice for Adults


Dez Holmes is the Director of Research in Practice and Research in Practice for Adults, having previously been the Assistant Director of Research in Practice. She leads these organisations in championing evidence-informed practice across the children’s and adults social care sector in order to improve outcomes for children, young people, adults requiring support and their families and carers.

Prior to this, Dez was the Programme Manager at C4EO responsible for Capacity Building and was previously employed in local government managing and coordinating integrated early intervention services to families. Dez chaired multi-agency Locality Panels as part of this and previously managed multi-agency prevention and early intervention programmes (YISPs).

Dez has several years’ experience of training and workforce development. Dez’s practice experience is largely within youth offending services. Her research experience is focussed on Participative Action Research with vulnerable groups. Dez sits on a range of Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) policy committees, and is on a number of research advisory boards.

Dez sits on the Board The Staff College, which develops leadership capacity across local authority children’s services; and the UK Implementation Network, which builds capacity and expertise for more effective, evidence-informed implementation in services for people and communities.

Dez sits on the judging panel for the Social Worker of the Year Awards and the Children and Young People Now Awards.

Research in Practice and Research in Practice for Adults 

Since 1996 our mission has been to champion evidence-informed practice in children’s and adult’s services. We aim to bridge the gaps between research, practice and service users’ lived experiences to improve practice and ultimately outcomes for children, adults and families. Our network model is led by our Partners, which allows us independence from any government or policy agenda to provide support that is truly sector-led. We work closely with our Partnership network to ensure our work responds to the most pressing issues facing children’s services.


Sarah Hammond – Senior District Crown Prosecutor, CPS


Sarah qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and joined CPS in 1998 having previously worked as a Magistrates’ Legal Adviser. During her time at CPS, she has undertaken Advocacy in both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts across the region. She is the Area Rape and Serious Sexual Offences lead and has represented the CPS at many conferences and community forums speaking on the work of CPS on Violence Against Women and Girls. Sarah was involved in implementing the Violence Against Women and Girls Scrutiny Panel and Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts locally.  Sarah became a District Crown Prosecutor in August 2013, initially managing the Allocated Trials Unit on the Crown Court before moving to lead the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) team. Since July 2016, Sarah has been a Senior District Crown Prosecutor within the Crown Court Unit with particular responsibility for Crown Court Advocacy and RASSO work.


Lyn Gavin – Safeguarding Engagement Lead, CBS


Lyn joined the DBS from Trinity Mirror Newspaper Group in 2009. Her role as Safeguarding Engagement Lead involves working and communicating with relevant stakeholders, raising awareness of the legal duty to make referrals. Assisting regulated activity providers with their understanding of DBS processes, referral information requirements and updating information around the legislative changes.

Lyn has spoken at many events throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland on subjects such as; duty to refer, relevant conduct/risk of harm, the DBS decision making process.

On 1st December 2012 the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The primary role of the Disclosure and Barring Service is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups including children.


Anne Tiivas – CPSU Director, NSPCC

Anne Tiivas

Anne joined the CPSU in 2001. Anne is responsible for managing the unit’s staff across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. She also manages relationships with the respective Sports Councils, with our key partners in sport, and with the wider safeguarding world.

Anne maintains contact with a range of sports-related trusts, organisations and councils as well as liaising with government departments.  She is also working with International sports bodies such as The International Olympic Committee to develop international resources to address sexual harassment and abuse of athletes.

Prior to working with the CPSU Anne worked as a trained social worker.