Board of Trustees

Practical Action is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity in the UK, under the direction of a Board of Trustees.

One third (or the number nearest to one third) of the trustees retire by rotation each year. The Trustees have the power to appoint any person to be a Trustee so long as the total number of trustees do not exceed the number fixed in accordance with the Articles of Association. Such a person so appointed holds office until the next following AGM at which time he/she shall be eligible for re-election.


Prof. Stephen Watson (Chair)
Stephen has had a long career in management education. He worked at Cambridge University for over twenty years ending his time there as founding Director of the Judge Business School. He was then Dean of Lancaster University Management School for six years and after that Principal of Henley Management College for four. He now advises Reims Management School in France, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in the US. He has had a lifetime interest in international development, as a supporter and enthusiast for several aid charities, particularly Christian Aid, for which he was chair of the Cambridge local committee for ten years and a member of the national Finance Committee of Christian Aid for five.

Mrs Ruth McNeil (Vice Chair)
Ruth runs her own market research company, Ruth McNeil & Associates. She is a Fellow of the Market Research Society and an active committee member of the Business Intelligence Group. She sits on the Population and Sustainability Committee and for many years was part of the Business in the Community Task Force and later the Leadership Committee devoted to Cause Related Marketing (CRM). In that capacity, she was one of the Awards Judges for the annual BitC CRM awards. Ruth has recently written a book on Business to Business market research (Kogan Page) which embraces international issues.

Mr Nigel Saxby-Soffe (Treasurer)
Nigel qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1974. After 20 years in the profession and in investment banking, he moved to ActionAid, the international development NGO, as its finance director in 1994. There he oversaw the transformation of the organisation from a small UK-based charity into an international federation of local NGOs, based in the South. He took a particular interest in issues of financial and operational performance and accountability and of resource allocation. He left ActionAid at the end of 2009. He is currently a trustee of two other UK NGOs. He was awarded an OBE for services to international development in 2010.

Ms Mary Chadwick
Mary’s experience crosses the private, non-profit and academic sectors. She was Chair of the international development charity, One World Action, for seven years; Chair of an active constituency political party for five years; an NED of a Strategic Health Authority, and is currently a Board member of an IPS, Cass and Claredale Halls of Residence Ltd. Mary’s private sector background was as a banker, an executive Director, jointly responsible for the mind and management of PaineWebber International Bank Ltd, a subsidiary of a major US investment bank. Following a takeover in 2001 Mary happily decided to follow her heart into the third sector, where she set up a successful social enterprise. She is currently at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School, primarily engaged in consultancy, teaching and research around charity mergers and collaborations. Her other areas of interest include social enterprise, marketing and business development and governance.

Mr Roger Clarke
Roger has a lifetime’s interest in the relationship between people and the environment, and the search for sustainable patterns of living. He is Chair of Friends of the Earth and Chair of the Civil Society Advisory Board at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He is a Board member of the Peak District National Park Authority, The Conservation Volunteers (formerly BTCV), the National Forest Company, and Woodbrooke, the national Quaker study centre. Roger was CEO at the Youth Hostels Association from 2000-2008 and a Board member of the European Federation of Youth Hostel Associations. He was a Director at the Countryside Agency from 1984-2000. Roger began his career as a community worker in the west of Scotland and from 1976-1984 was a Director at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. He has served as a non-executive Board member at Natural England and a Council member at English Nature, Chair of Think Global (the Development Education Association), Chair of the Appointments Committee for the new Canal and River Trust, a member of the Expert Panel at the Heritage Lottery Fund, and a Board member at the Woodland Trust. Roger has a BA in geography from Oxford University and a PhD from McGill University, Montreal.

Dr Emma Crewe
Emma is a Leverhulme Research Fellow undertaking a study on the House of Commons. She is also a Visiting Reader at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Until July 2011 she was Executive Director of ChildHope, an international child rights organisation working in Africa, Asia and South America. She began working in international development with Practical Action’s energy department in 1987. Since then she has lectured in social anthropology and development, advised grant-makers on international development and researched various institutions. She has written about the links between research and policy-making, the politics of aid and the British parliament.

Mr Dominic Haslam
Dominic has worked for INGOs for 15 years, including Christian Aid and WaterAid and he is currently Director of Policy and Strategic Programme Support at Sightsavers, which covers Policy, Government Relations, Research, Quality and Monitoring amongst other things. He has mainly worked in government funding and policy but has found this means getting involved in everything from emergency programmes and finance systems to monitoring and evaluation, hence the long job title. Dominic has been active within the BOND network for 10 years, including representing UK NGOs at the European level. He is also on the steering committee for the Beyond 2015 campaign. Dominic is privileged to have travelled and learnt from knowledgeable colleagues across Africa and Asia and hopes the work he has done on these visits has had a positive impact to counteract his carbon footprint.

Mr Mahmood Hassan
Mahmood is the Founder Chairman of Islamic Aid, the Founder Chairman of the Pakistan Development Network, the co-founder/President of the Pakistan Foundation and a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque. He has an MBA and MSc in Management from Imperial College and started his career as a university lecturer in marketing and strategic management. His own experience of being born and brought-up in one of the most deprived areas of Pakistan continues to be a source of inspiration and passion for all his poverty alleviation work. Mahmood’s more formal involvement with the “development” sector started when, in 1986, he established a voluntary consulting group at his university aimed at helping SMEs and community groups providing education, healthcare other services to local communities in Pakistan. Most recently, he runs his own company CRESTAR, a marketing consultancy and project management practice specialising in marketing to the Muslim community both in the UK and internationally.

Mr John Heskett
A qualified accountant, John spent 30 years working in the Baring Group, initially working in the fields of corporate finance and banking, both in London and the Far East. For the last twenty years up until his retirement in 2002, he worked in investment management. In this capacity, he was responsible for the management of portfolios of leading institutions in the UK and elsewhere, including Africa, the US and the Middle East, finally being responsible for sales and business development for Baring Asset Management worldwide. He is past Chairman of Heartwood Wealth Group, a leading independent private client wealth management firm in the South of England and a past president and a current Trustee of the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association. He sits on the Investment Resources and planning Committee of the School of Oriental and African studies and is a senior adviser to Allenbridge EPIC Investment Advisers which offers investment advisory services to pension funds in the UK. He is a trustee of the ING UK pension fund and chairman of its investment committee.

Mr Imran Khan
Imran is director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), the UK's leading independent scientific advocacy group. CaSE's mission is to raise the political profile of science and engineering, and works with politicians, journalists, civil servants, academics, and industry to campaign for better policies and recognition for this sector. Before joining CaSE Imran worked as a researcher in the House of Commons and as a science writer with organisations including the World Health Organisation, the BBC, the Guardian, and New Scientist. With an initial training in biology, followed by a masters in science communication, Imran is passionate about bridging the gaps between science and wider society, and the potential of technology to change lives.

Ms Brenda Lipson
Brenda provides consultancy services in civil society capacity development, primarily within the international development sector. Previously a Director at INTRAC (International NGO Training & Research Centre), she has worked on consultancies with a diverse range of International NGOs, Social Movements, Official Aid Agencies and local non-governmental organisations across the world. Brenda also worked for Oxfam and for Progressio in the past, with a focus on the Latin America & Caribbean region – a part of the world which continues to fascinate and engage Brenda’s interest. Brenda has an MSc in Management Development and Social Responsibility from Bristol University.

Ms Alison Marshall
Alison is Senior Advocacy Adviser at the International Planned Parenthood Federation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the post-2015 development goals. She was previously Public Affairs Director at UNICEF UK working on child rights, including issues such as adaptation to climate change, business and development and child nutrition (including the IF campaign). Alison has worked for a number of development and environmental charities including as Advocacy and Representation Manager at Bond (the network of UK international development NGOs), CAFOD, the World Development Movement and FARM-Africa, as well as with networks like the Trade Justice Movement and Jubilee Debt Campaign. During 2005 she was part of the Make Poverty History co-ordination team and one of the campaign’s spokespeople. She has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America and was privileged to visit Practical Action’s programme in Peru in 2009.  Alison is Chair of Children's Rights Alliance England. She has an LLM in Human Rights and is currently working on a Masters in NGO Management.

Ms Helena Molyneux
Helena is an organisational consultant in people strategy, change and communications. She has extensive international senior management experience in HR in both the private and public sectors. She was HR Director for the British Council for eight years and, prior to that, for Bankers Trust Company in Europe. Her involvement in international development started with her interest in geography, in which she graduated. A VSO assignment in Sierra Leone was followed by a further two years there lecturing in geography at Fourah Bay College. She has served as Vice Chair of Traidcraft Plc, the pioneer fair trading business, and Chair of Progressio, the skill share and advocacy NGO. She has an MBA from Cranfield and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Prof. James Smith
James holds a personal chair in African and Development Studies and a director of the Centre of African Studies and Global Development Academy at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a visiting fellow at the Open University and the University of Johannesburg. He is currently also a senior advisor to the DFID/ESRC Joint Scheme for Research on International Development. Since completing his PhD in 2001 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, he has worked with and advised a wide range of organisations concerned with development, on issues such as rural development, science and technology policy and capacity building. He has published numerous papers and several books, most recently on the risks inherent with investment in large-scale biofuel production in Africa and Asia.

Mr Sean Sutcliffe
Sean Sutcliffe is Chief Executive of Green Biologics Limited, an industrial biotechnology company supplying technology for the production of renewable butanol for biochemical and biofuel use from by-product and waste biomass, and is a non executive Director of You Broadband, an Indian ISP company. Prior to this he was Chief Executive of Biofuels Corporation and Chairman of Tidal Generation Limited. Previously Sean worked for BG Group plc for 14 years in a variety of roles spanning operations, business development and strategy, most recently as Executive Vice President with responsibility for Corporate Development and New Businesses. Sean has worked internationally in Asia, Africa and South America.

Mr Paul Turner
Paul is a Chartered Engineer and international development consultant, specialising in the institutional and technical aspects of water and sanitation. Currently he is Programme Director for Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) running their East African Programme with a primary focus on Kenya. He has been a director of Mott MacDonald, a global management, engineering and development consultancy, managing international water projects in Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe.  Previously he worked for UK Government managing a multi sector partnership between governments, civil society and private sector in Africa.  He has over 38 years experience and has also held a number of senior management and operational positions in the UK water industry.

Ms Veronica Walford
Veronica is an economic and management consultant working in international development and the public sector. Her consultancy work concentrated on Africa and Asia. For the last 15 years her work has focused on the health sector, including 4 years in Uganda as an adviser to the Ministry of Health Planning Unit. Her recent work includes policy work on health financing and how to work with the private sector; planning and evaluation of health projects; review of aid arrangements; design of new funding mechanisms; and economic appraisal of health programmes. She has been a director and member of the Board of an international consultancy firm. Earlier in her career she worked for PwC on management and implementation of consultancies in public sector reform. She also spent 2 years working for the Swaziland Government in the Economic Planning Department.

Mr Angus Walker
Angus is a chartered accountant who has spent the last 30 years working in the voluntary sector, in paid and unpaid capacities. Having trained with Price Waterhouse Angus was chief executive of an innovative housing association for 12 years. He then established a consultancy company specialising in the research, development and implementation of community-based initiatives throughout the UK. He has focused on issues relating to training, health, housing, criminal justice services and anti-poverty strategies. For 8 years, to 2006, he provided consultancy services to the Community Fund/Big Lottery Fund where he assessed the governance and financial health of all large charitable sector applications for their UK and International Grants Programmes. His resultant interest in international development led to him being appointed as Head of Finance and Support Services for Skillshare International. He currently works as its part-time financial consultant and has similar roles for two regeneration and educational charities. Angus has chaired and served on a variety of public and voluntary bodies.

Trustees’ Sub-committees

Remuneration and Nominations Sub Committee
Stephen Watson (Chair)
Ruth McNeil
Helena Molyneux
Nigel Saxby-Soffe

Finance Audit and Risk Sub Committee
Nigel Saxby-Soffe (Chair)
John Heskett
Angus Walker

Annual report and accounts 2011-12

Reporting Back - Practical Action's annual report for 2011-12, including highlights of our work and full financial statement.

Trustee conflict of interest policy

The aim of this Policy is to ensure that there is fairness in Practical Action’s decision making processes, to protect the reputation and integrity of the Charity and to ensure public trust and confidence in our activities.

Practical Action was formerly known as Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG). It changed its working name to Practical Action in June 2005, and its legal name to Practical Action Ltd in November 2008 and to Practical Action in September 2009.

Company information

Practical Action is a registered UK charity, no 247257, and a company limited by guarantee and not having share capital (registration no 871954).

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