Our regional engagement leads are registered and practising social workers working in localities with a range of stakeholders, including social workers, people with lived experience of social work, employers, and education and training providers. This team will enable us to continue to build relationships with everyone who has an interest in social work.
Together they will help us build a rich picture of what is happening in the sector across the country, and help us to embed our new professional and education and training standards, working with people in their regions to ensure that the standards are consistently met, as well as addressing where this might not be the case.
They will assist us as a regulator to stay informed, authentic and collaborative, and firmly rooted in the principles and values that are the foundation of social work practice.
Morwenna Foden Head of Strategic Engagement | Contact
Morwenna has worked within the health, social care and voluntary sector for the last 15 years with a focus on engagement and co-production. Beginning this journey at Sheffield Mind, she worked as a commissioner in the NHS and then for the national charity Breast Cancer Care. Morwenna will act as the lead for London and the East whilst we recruit for these positions.
Most recently Morwenna has led a project at South Yorkshire Housing Association to embed co-production into health and social care commissioning in the sector. Morwenna is passionate about bringing the voices of those who use services and practitioners together in equal partnership to design, deliver and evaluate services and is excited about working with the team to bring this approach to Social Work England.
Ahmina Akhtar Regional Engagement Lead (Yorkshire and the Humber) | Contact
Ahmina is a registered social worker and experienced trainer. She specialises in mental health, sexual abuse, trauma and equality, diversity and inclusion. Her last role was at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse where she provided psychologically informed advice, consultation and training to staff in all strands of the inquiry.
Ahmina previously worked for Changing Faces and was pivotal in setting up the first localised support centre outside of London in Sheffield and establishing various emotional support clinics throughout Yorkshire and the Humber to offer tailored support to individuals affected by disfigurement. She is on several boards where she is instrumental in driving strategic and cultural change. Prior to this, she has worked in a number of educational and health settings.
Matthew Devlin Regional Engagement Lead (North West) | Contact
Matthew qualified as a social worker in 2009 and began his career at Cumbria County Council. He has held several roles within adult services, most recently a practice development worker for a social work teaching partnership between Cumbria County Council and Lancaster University. He has mainly specialised in work with learning disability within Cumbria and is passionate about the development and promotion of social work practice.
Matthew roots his practice within principles of relationship and strengths based practice models. In this role, he hopes to use these approaches to build, develop and improve links within the North West. He aims to engage with key stakeholders to support the implementation of new professional standards and the continuation of excellent social work practice.
Philippa Geddes Regional Engagement Lead (South West) | Contact
Philippa has been a social worker for 20 years having graduated from Warwick University with a MA/Diploma in Social Work. She has worked as a children and families social worker, independent reviewing officer/child protection chair and LSCB board manager, and returned to frontline practice as a children and families team manager in 2017.
Philippa is passionate about social work and excited to be joining Social Work England as the regional engagement lead for the South West. She believes that the ethos being promoted by Social Work England is one of collaboration, consultation and communication, and the role of the regional engagement leads will seek to build on this – to carry on the conversation.
Kate Metcalf Regional Engagement Lead (South East) | Contact
Kate was previously a senior practitioner for six years in community adults physical disabilities services in Brighton and Hove, while also a best interests assessor and practice educator. Kate has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Brighton.
She has worked in adult social care for 18 years and in 2014-15 she was professional practice advisor (adults) at the College of Social Work where she acted as a media spokesperson, industry expert, Care Act consultant and undertook project management, action research, and the writing of social work practice manuals in the fields of autism and dementia. Kate has worked as a senior manager in press and publicity in the private sector, and in more recent times has worked independently as the author of a guide to safeguarding adults with dementia published by Community Care Inform.
Jess McEwen Regional Engagement Lead (Midlands) | Contact
Jess has worked with Social Work England since November 2018 as education and training development manager, helping to develop the new standards for social workers and social work courses. She believes that her position within the regional engagement team will offer an ideal opportunity to help embed these standards and drive forward improvement across social work practice and education in the Midlands. She hopes that by engaging and collaborating with social workers and education providers, she can help them to feel more connected to, and supported by, their regulator.
Previously Jess was project manager for the South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership and has a background in leading projects aimed at raising skills, knowledge and standards in social work and social care across the public, third and HEI sectors. She qualified as a social worker in 2006 with an MA in Social Work from the University of Nottingham and is passionate about making a positive difference within the profession. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading and traveling. She has traveled around the world, including spending a year living and working in Bangladesh with a not-for-profit organisation supporting women’s and children’s rights.
Catherine Witt Regional Engagement Lead (North East) | Contact
Catherine was formally the principal social worker in Sunderland working primarily with Together for Children with a role in adult services. As principal social worker for five years, she was able to promote the profession and directly support front line social workers. She began her career in Leeds in the 80’s, having moved from Northern Ireland to study a science degree, but it was the running of the Student Community Action group which set her on the path to social work. She has since been a social worker working mostly in statutory services including probation, youth justice, children’s services and residential care.
Catherine believes that being a regional engagement lead is a unique opportunity which will allow her to establish a meaningful relationship between social workers and Social Work England, to enable them to have trust and confidence in their regulator, and to promote public confidence in the social work profession together.