Birmingham Children's Trust's board (updated 12 October 2023)
Andrew Christie - Chair, Non-Executive Director
Andrew was Director of Children’s Services (DCS) for the Tri-borough partnership of Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster from 2011 until his retirement in May 2016.
Prior to this Andrew was DCS for Hammersmith & Fulham from 2006. He began his career in social work in 1974. He has worked for East Sussex, Lewisham and Surrey. In 1998 he moved to Hammersmith and Fulham to be AD of Children's Services.
He chaired the Association of London DCSs, the ADCS Health, Care & Additional Needs Committee, and Lambeth’s LSCB. Appointed Commissioner for Birmingham Children's Services by the Secretary of State, in December 2015, he continued in that role until December 2016, when he was appointed Chair of Birmingham Children’s Trust.
He chaired the Adoption & Special Guardianship Leadership Board between 2016-2020. In October 2019 he was appointed by the DfE as the Children’s Commissioner to Northamptonshire; he ended this role in January 2022.
He was honoured with a CBE for services to children in 2017.
Ama Agbeze - Non-Executive Director
The bulk of Ama’s career has been spent as a professional athlete culminating in captaining Team England to netball gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Alongside sport, Ama has worked as a solicitor in a variety of disciplines including family, commercial, charity and banking.
As an ambassador and trustee for a number of charities Ama has a focus on the benefits of physical activity on health outcomes, using sport to help realise potential for children and young people.
Ama regularly speaks and advocates for diversity and inclusion, improving life opportunities in areas of deprivation, cultural development and organisational change, leadership and mental health.
Recently an independent Board Member of the Organising Committee for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Ama splits her time between Birmingham and Broad Oak.
Brian Carr - Non-Executive Director
Brian has been chief executive of Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) since 2005, and joined the organisation after working as managing director of a local Citizens Advice Bureau, where he set up the charity's first Legal Aid franchise. Prior to this he trained as a personnel manager with Marks and Spencer plc.
His role involves strategically leading BVSC in the full range of its activities, which focus on providing advocacy and business development support to charities and community groups in Birmingham, and advising the public and private sectors in how to better engage with local civil society.
Brian is currently Group Chair of Trident Group, a multi-regional social housing association and care provider. He is a past chair of Healthwatch Birmingham, and of Birmingham Race Action Partnership.
He is a member of the boards of Birmingham's City Partnership, Community Safety Partnership, Cost of Living Strategic Response Group, and Early Intervention and Prevention Partnership Steering Group.
He is a certified coach and the author of three coaching books, including the Amazon bestselling career guide How to Find Your Vital Vocation.
Colin Horwath - Non-Executive Director
Colin is a qualified accountant, who has spent his career working with the public sector. He was a partner with KPMG, based in Birmingham for 20 years, leading audit and advisory assignments. His internal responsibilities included heading the national public sector practice.
He is a non-executive director at Worcestershire NHS Trust. He was also Governor at an Academy for 8 years. He is married with grown up children. His interests are classic cars and music, as well as learning to speak German badly.
Colin currently chairs the Trust Board’s Finance & Resources Committee and the Nominations & Remuneration Committee.
Elizabeth Stafford - Non-Executive Director
Liz has many years of experience as a Chief Executive of Probation organisations, including Warwickshire Probation Trust and the Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company. Before becoming Chief Officer for Warwickshire Probation Area in 2001, she was a senior manager for West Midlands Probation.
She is pleased to be able to bring her skills and experience to support Birmingham Children’s Trust having lived in Birmingham since 1982 and having worked for Birmingham City Council Social Services Department and Education Departments from 1982 to 1990.
Liz currently chairs the Trust Board’s Performance and Quality Assurance Committee.
Professor Jon Glasby - Non-Executive Director
Jon is Professor of Health and Social Care in the University of Birmingham’s Department of Social Work and Social Care and UK Director of IMPACT (the UK centre for implementing evidence in adult social care).
A qualified social worker by background, he is involved in regular research, teaching, consultancy and policy advice around implementing evidence-based practice, health and social care partnerships, community care and personalisation.
He is a former Non-Executive Director of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and a current Non-Executive Director of University Hospitals Birmingham.
He has provided policy advice to the Department of Health, the Cabinet Office and Downing Street on the future of health and social services, and from 2003 to 2009 was a Trustee of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (the national body responsible for identifying and disseminating what works in social care).
He is currently a Senior Fellow of the UK School for Social Care Research and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
From 2008 to 2015, he was Director of the University of Birmingham’s Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) and from 2015 to 2020 he was Head of the School of Social Policy.
In 2022, he was a special adviser to the House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee.
Ruth Harker - Non-Executive Director
Ruth taught in Birmingham for just over forty years, twenty of these as Principal/Executive Headteacher, before retiring in August 2016.
Working in a diverse range of schools, she saw the challenges faced by many children and was involved in innovative partnerships to help tackle these issues.
After opening the new Shenley Academy, the consistent award of ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED for safeguarding was an endorsement of the emphasis given to safeguarding and children’s welfare.
Having successfully led two of Birmingham’s largest schools during periods of challenge, Ruth oversaw several other schools in difficulties.
As Chair of the local network Behaviour Group, she led the project group to set up a new Alternative Provision Free School.
Ruth is currently the Chair of Governors at this Alternative Provision School in Birmingham and the Chair of Governors for Birmingham Virtual School. She also chairs the Trust Board’s Workforce Committee.
For five years Ruth was a Governor at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. She is married with one daughter, who is a teacher.
Amrick Singh Ubhi DL (Deputy Lieutenant) - Non-Executive Director
Amrick Singh was Centre Director of the Nishkam Centre for 13 years and now heads up Civic Engagement & Partnerships on behalf of the Nishkam Group. The Nishkam Centre is a faith inspired, voluntary sector civic organisation that merges spirituality and secularity creating a seamless fusion of values, ethics, and justice for the common good of all humanity.
He brings extensive Non-Executive Director and Advisory Board experience to Birmingham Children’s Trust, including Acorns Children’s Hospice, Soho Road BID, and other voluntary, public sector and health organisations. These roles are particularly in the areas of addressing inequalities, social justice, interfaith facilitation, stakeholder engagement, and promoting collaboration to bring about positive outcomes. He is passionate about working with people to enable them to excel and to make change for the betterment of society.
Driven by the value and impact of social change, he has experience in organisational development, business transformation, quality improvement and organisational capacity building with integrity, attention to detail and tangible results.
His previous roles have included high profile, prestigious organisations like Shell (UK and Holland), British Gas, Bosal International, Thyssen Krupp Group, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, and Ford.
Amrick was honoured to be appointed a Deputy Lieutenant with the West Midlands Lieutenancy in 2023.
Richard Brooks – Non-Executive Director (Council-nominated)
Richard joined Birmingham City Council in November 2021 to lead the new Strategy, Equality and Partnerships Directorate. He has established new capabilities in the council for generating insight, developing strategic thinking, citizen engagement, and partnership working.
His directorate works with other services to improve citizens' outcomes and promote equality and inclusion across the city. In November 2022, he launched the Birmingham City Observatory. He continues to lead the council's response to the cost of living crisis.
Before joining the council, Richard worked on a wide range of policy, strategy, research, and public service delivery challenges at local, national and international levels. He was Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education, then Director of Strategy at Ofsted. He subsequently developed and implemented educational reform programmes in South Africa and Uganda.
Before working in government, Richard led award-winning research at the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Fabian Society. He has published extensively on poverty and welfare reform, public service improvement, education, economics, and employment. His work strongly focuses on equality and fairness and on using evidence to drive change and improvement.