We're the largest national children’s charity in the UK

Find out about how we're organised by meeting our CEO, trustees and patrons.


Javed Khan Barnardo's CEO

Dr. Javed Khan is a leading figure in the UK public and voluntary sectors, regularly advising government ministers, with high-profile contributions in the media, and at national and international conferences. He leads Barnardo’s 21,822+ people, being the largest children's charity in the UK. With over 800 delivery programmes, a large retail footprint, and services in all four nations of the UK, the charity supports over 358,000 vulnerable children, young people, their families and carers each year.

His non-executive board roles have included NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, Hospital Trusts and local government improvement. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and a Patron of the National Citizen’s Service, and was a key member of the Independent Grenfell Recovery Taskforce and Specialist Advisor to the Justice Select Committee's Inquiry into Prison Reform.  Javed’s career achievements have been recognised by Honorary Doctorates from Birmingham City University (2015) and the University of Salford (2018).

He began his school teaching career in the West Midlands, and made rapid progress, becoming head of department, assistant principal and then director of development in a large further education college. He then entered local government as an Assistant Director in Birmingham’s acclaimed Education Services, under the leadership of Professor Tim Brighouse, and then to Director of Education in a London borough. Before arriving at Barnardo’s, Javed had a short stint in the Civil Service from where he went on to become Chief Executive at Victim Support. 

As a British Muslim with Kashmiri heritage, Javed is the first non-white CEO in Barnardo’s 154 year history. The son of Kashmiri immigrants who could neither read nor write when they arrived in the UK, Javed is a passionate advocate of the Barnardo’s philosophy: incredible things happen when you believe in children. 

Our trustees

Our Board of Trustees is responsible for our governance and strategic direction as a charity.

The Board agrees our vision and values, sets the strategy and policies for our key activities and monitors our progress. Our trustees are also responsible for appointing our chief executive and for our overall professional, legal and financial management.

Trustees are elected by the Members of Association at the Annual General Meeting. They serve a three-year term and are eligible for re-election.

    Members of the Board of Trustees

    John Bartlett (Chair)

    John is a finance professional with a career spanning forty five years; he retired from the position of Group Controller and CFO of Group Finance with BP in 2018 and prior to that was an Inspector of Taxes.  John is also currently a non-executive Director with HSBC, chairing the audit committee for their Middle East banking operations.  He is also a non-executive financial consultant to a number of private companies. John became a Trustee in 2014. 

    Anne-Cécile Berthier

    Anne-Cécile has almost 30 years of experience in marketing, sales, partnership management and fundraising and has been Country Director for Movember Europe since September 2017, helping the organisation return to growth in the UK. She started her career in France as brand manager at Colgate-Palmolive and Danone, then became Corporate Alliance Director and Commercial Director for Disneyland Paris. In 2005, she moved to London and decided to pursue her career in the third sector, when she joined Comic Relief, heading up the Corporate Fundraising team then the Fundraising team. She is passionate about using her skills, enthusiasm and experience to raise money to help support the most disadvantaged communities and people. Anne-Cécile became a Trustee in September 2020.

    Neil Braithwaite

    Neil is a chartered accountant and has worked in a variety of finance and leadership roles at Asda and the Co-operative Group. Neil is also chair of the Guinness Partnership, a director of the Co-op Academies Trust and the Barnardo’s Staff Pension Scheme, and a school governor. Neil became a Trustee in 2011.

    Neil Crockett 

    Neil brings a passion in using digital innovation to lead teams and organisations through rapid change in strategy, culture and execution and his most recent role was as Chief Digital Officer at Rolls-Royce PLC. His previous roles included a variety of senior executive positions over a 14 year career in Cisco and being CEO of the Digital Catapult, a leading advanced digital technology innovation centre. He is a Fellow for Be the Business, a charity funded by the UK Government focused on accelerating technology adoption and productivity improvement across UK SMEs and is a Board advisor at MonolithAI an S.M.E. using machine learning software to help advanced engineers derive insights from complex engineering data. Neil has been involved in a range of UK digital advisory boards including the Smart London Board, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the Northern Ireland Matrix ICT growth panel and is currently a member of the Innovation panel for the Queens Awards for Industry. Neil also served for 9 years as a Governor at Coventry University and is an active supporter of Co Operation Ireland the largest Irish peace charity. Neil became a Trustee in 2019.

    Avis Darzins

    Avis joins the Board of Barnardo’s with considerable retail experience and, specifically, a strong background in retail transformation. Avis was based for eight years as a Partner at Accenture focusing on the retail and consumer products sector, where she delivered successful profitable growth engagements with many well-known national and international brands. Avis also founded her own management consulting practice in 2013 following four years as Director of Business Transformation at Sky where she established and led a team of business operations transformation experts. Prior to that Avis held business leadership roles at Arcadia, BHS, Mothercare and Littlewoods. Most recently Avis served as a Non-Executive Director at Moss Bros Group PLC until the business transferred to private ownership in June 2020. Avis also spent over a decade as a board member of retailTRUST, the key retail-orientated charity and continues her involvement with the charity as co-chair of their Ambassadors Group. Avis became a Trustee in December 2020.

    Matt Davies

    Matt is a chartered accountant and the Chair of several consumer facing businesses including Hobbycraft and N Brown. He was previously CEO of Tesco UK and ROI where he successfully led the turnaround of the UK business after his appointment in May 2015. Prior to Tesco, Matt was CEO of Halfords from 2012 to 2015 and Finance Director (2001-2004) and CEO (2004-2012) of Pets at Home. Matt became a Trustee in September 2020.

    Dennis Hone (Honorary Treasurer and Senior Independent Trustee)

    Dennis has spent over 30 years working in Urban Regeneration.  He has recently retired as Group Finance Director of Mace, the construction and consultancy company, and was previously Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation and the 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority. In June 2013 he was awarded a CBE for his contribution to the London Olympic Games. Dennis became a Trustee in 2017. He is also a Trustee for Roehampton University and The London Playing Fields Foundation.

    Meredith Pierce Hunter

    Meredith joined the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in May 2017 where she leads their Foundation, responsible for philanthropic and membership support. She was previously the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at London Business School where she was part of the leadership team raising £125M for the school’s first-ever comprehensive campaign. Prior to joining LBS, Meredith led her alma mater’s successful $160M fundraising campaign, having moved to Virginia from Boston where she was a Director at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Kennedy School of Government prior to that. Meredith has extensive experience of major gifts, alumni relations, international fundraising and institutional support. She holds dual American and British citizenship and has her BA & MBA from the US. Meredith became a Trustee in December 2020.

    Briony Ladbury

    Briony is a qualified nurse, midwife, health visitor and family planning nurse and was granted a specialist practitioner award in child protection when working as a Designated Nurse for Child Protection in London. During this time she undertook a post qualifying degree in Child Protection studies and also completed an MSc in Inter-professional Practice (Society, Violence and Practice).  Briony’s career included designing, setting up and managing an integrated (multi-agency) safeguarding children team in London which was cited as an exemplar in the National Service Framework (2004).  From there she moved to a Strategic Health Authority role as the Strategic Safeguarding Children Advisor for NHS London, until the health reforms of 2013 when her title changed to Safeguarding Children Lead for NHS England (London Region). Both these roles involved working closely with the Department of Health and with all of the NHS organisations and services operating in the Capital. Forming relationships and enabling partnership working was also a key component of the work. After retiring from the NHS in 2016, Briony has operated as an independent safeguarding children consultant, undertaking a variety of projects throughout the UK, including the authoring of statutory multi-agency Serious Case Reviews. She continues to link into the NHS national agenda by supporting the NHSE National Network for Designated Health Professionals (Safeguarding and Looked After Children). Outside of the statutory sector, Briony is a foster panel member for a small but busy fostering agency. Briony became a Trustee in 2019.

    Moni Mannings (Deputy Chair)

    Moni is Non-Executive Director of FTSE250 companies Polypipe Group PLC, where she also chairs the Remuneration Committee, Investec Bank PLC and Dairy Crest Group PLC. Moni is also a governing council member of Cranfield University and was previously a Board member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and chaired its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She was formerly a senior partner at international law firm Olswang LLP. She subsequently became Chief Operating Officer of Aistemos Ltd, an intellectual property data analytics company. Moni became a Trustee in 2017.

    Penny Thompson CBE

    Penny began her public service career as a Social Worker in Tower Hamlets, moving into management and leadership in Cleveland, after a decade on the frontline in London and Sheffield.  Penny returned to Sheffield as Director of Social Services in 1998, and subsequently took her experience of improvement into a number of CEO roles, including LB of Hackney, the Social Work regulator and finally, Brighton & Hove, stepping down in 2015. Since then, Penny has continued to contribute to public services as Independent Chair of Birmingham's Safeguarding Children Partnership since 2016. She is a College of Policing Senior Assessor; a Leadership Mentor and a Trustee. Penny has been a Governor on the Board of Sheffield Hallam University since April 2017. Penny became a Trustee in 2019.

    Raj Verma

    Raj is a global people leader and has been in the field of HR, Change and Transformation for almost 25 years.  Leading in one of the world’s largest services company, Sodexo, he is committed to support its mission to improve ‘quality of life’. He is passionate and purposeful about understanding the changing workplace and the global trends that affect it and the enabling role HR must take to make this happen.  Enhancing the employee experience, innovating through digital transformation, and engaging multi-generational talent where a sense of belonging and inclusion makes a real difference are all key to being a great people business. Prior to joining Sodexo, Raj was a member of the HR leadership at Santander Bank in the UK. His early career started in general management in financial services, before moving to Ford Motor Company where he specialised in HR across different brands and geographies. An alumnus of Warwick University, he sits on the Steering Committee for the Business School’s global mentoring programme and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Raj became a Trustee in 2019.

    Mark Waddington CBE  

    Mark has over 16 years experience working as a CEO in the field of child protection. For eight of these years he led the charity War Child, more than quadrupling income, increasing beneficiary reach by 1,200%, using the music industry to win the attention of the media and politicians on issues relating to the prosecution of war on children, and winning the UN Grand Award. Mark then joined Hope and Homes for Children in 2012, which has since doubled its income, trebled its beneficiary reach, taken a leading role in negotiating a cross-government policy statement on the UK’s position on promoting the deinstitutionalisation of child care internationally, and most recently in securing the new UN Resolution on Children Without Parental Care. Hope and Homes for Children has been one of the leading organisations in reducing the number of children confined within the orphanage system in Romania from over 100,000 to less than 7,000, while delivering similar systemic transformation of child care and protection in countries like Rwanda, Bulgaria and Moldova. Until joining the Board of Barnardo’s Mark was Chair of the Board of MICAIA, a development charity that is delivering exciting new solutions to the longstanding injustice of poverty in Mozambique with an emphasis on working with young people on the development of innovative social enterprise models. He was awarded the CBE for services to Global Child Protection in the 2019 New Years Honours list. Mark became a Trustee in 2019.

    Our President and patrons

    Our presidents, patrons and ambassadors have helped us raise hundreds of thousands of pounds through their work, which ranges from hosting events to donating gifts.

    Natasha Kaplinsky OBE 

    Natasha Kaplinsky OBE is our new President, as announced in July 2019. The newsreader, presenter and journalist is passionate about issues affecting vulnerable children and a recognised figure in British public life. She will help the charity to raise awareness of issues affecting vulnerable children, young people and their families, including mental health and wellbeing, child sexual exploitation and children who are leaving care.

    HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

    HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was Barnardo’s President from October 2007 until December 2016, when she became our Patron. 

    The Duchess has been very supportive of the charity, visiting a range of services and hosting a Buckingham Palace Garden Party to mark our 150th anniversary in 2016.

    Her Majesty The Queen

    Her Majesty The Queen was Barnardo’s Patron from 1983 to 2016, when she handed over the role to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

    Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:

    “We are extremely grateful for Her Majesty The Queen’s generous time and patronage, together with her dedication to the work of Barnardo’s since 1983. The Royal Family has given us tremendous support throughout our history, and there has been a royal patron since 1902 and royal presidents from 1923. I am delighted that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, our current president, has graciously accepted the role of our new patron.”

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