Senior Management Team
Francesca is the Chief Executive of Protect, Francesca joined Protect in May 2007 as an adviser and has extensive experience advising whistleblowers. Francesca has also supported, via Protect’s training and consultancy services, a wide range of organisations from small charities to multi-national companies. Francesca has also held posts as Legal Officer, Director of Policy and Deputy CEO. Francesca was called to the Bar in 2005 and cross-qualified as a solicitor in 2011.
Prior to joining Protect, Francesca worked in a variety of compliance teams in the financial services sector, from boutique investment banks to large retail banks.
“It’s an exciting time for us as we mark our 25th anniversary, changing our name from Public Concern at Work to Protect. Our aim is to protect workers’ rights, organisations’ reputations, and wider society, by encouraging safe and responsible whistleblowing. We will be ramping up our campaigning next year as there is much to be done to update the law around workers rights.”
Francesca West - Chief Executive
Bob manages our advice line and leads on our legal intervention work helping whistleblowers with their cases.
Before joining Protect in 2015, Bob work at several other prominent legal advice centres. Bob obtained a first class degree from University College London before completing his Graduate Diploma in Law.
He said, “Whistleblowing is all about power dynamics. To help an individual raise their concerns in the most effective – and safest – manner, requires a quick understanding of these dynamics and the organisational culture which contributes to them. This is why you can never give out-of-the-box advice to a whistleblower. Every situation needs bespoke advice. The pairing of environment and concern is always a unique combination.”
Bob Matheson - Head of Advice & Advocacy
Jon has responsibility for our work supporting organisations in getting their arrangements right, making staff feel confident in speaking up. This includes our support packages, training courses and consultancy. Jon has worked in the charity sector since 2002 in a variety of management, operational and business development roles, has a BA Hons in Development Studies and MBA, and joined Protect in 2012.
He said, “I love working with this team of experts, and using our knowledge and experience to benefit individuals, organisations and wider society.”
Jon Cunningham - Development Director
Andy oversees our lobbying and research, as well as being a senior adviser on the advice line, handling more complex cases. Andy qualified with an LLB in Law from Solent University, and has a MSc in Government, Policy and Politics from Birkbeck, University of London and has been with Protect since 2007.
Andy said, “I look forward to the work we are planning around the whistleblowing law PIDA and changes we’d like to see in the law to better protect whistleblowers. There is a lot of work to be done engaging with the government and policy makers on what needs to be done to overhaul the law as it stands at the moment.”
Andrew Pepper-Parsons - Head of Policy
Lou joined Protect in November 2016 as our Head of Communications. After starting out as a journalist working for local and national newspapers, TV news and magazines, Lou moved into PR and comms and has worked as a press officer for NHS England, the London Ambulance Service, Kent County Council and various charities including UNICEF, WWF, and the RHS.
She said, “Whistleblowers play a key role in keeping society safe. Telling their stories is fascinating. It would be great to see more happy endings and outcomes for whistleblowers.”
Lou O'Neill - Head of Communications
Liz is an employment solicitor who joined Protect in July 2018.
Liz joined Protect after working for the charity Working Families on their legal helpline, advising parents and carers about discrimination and flexible working issues. Liz supports both advice and business development work for Protect.
She said, “It is an exciting time to join Protect. I’m impressed by how the team use their expertise to offer our callers and business clients really pragmatic advice. It isn’t just about explaining how the law works, but also how best to shine a light on the wrongdoing, while protecting those who want to raise concerns.”
Liz Gardiner - Legal Officer
Cathy is a UK qualified solicitor, who before joining Protect was a litigation partner in a large London law firm.
She stood down as Protect’s Chief Executive in 2017 but remains with the charity as its Senior Legal Consultant. Cathy was awarded an OBE in June 2015, for services to employment rights.
Cathy James - Senior Legal Consultant
Hari is a Senior Adviser working on our Advice Line and Business Support Officer, delivering training to organisations and work on our Benchmark. He obtained a First in Politics from Nottingham Trent University and completed his legal studies at the University of Sheffield and BPP Law School. Hari joined us in April 2017, having previously worked with the charity as a volunteer.
Hari said, “Since joining Protect as a volunteer, I have been keen to get involved in the ground-breaking and forward thinking work that the charity does with whistleblowers and organisations and am looking forward to building on this work as a Trainee Solicitor.”
Hari Raithatha - Trainee Solicitor and Senior Adviser
Laura joined Protect in November 2017 and has previously volunteered at Liberty and other human rights charities. Laura also supports our policy work, identifying opportunities and engaging with MPs and Ministers.
” I love the variety of calls we receive. Everyday I am impressed by the tenacity and bravery of those who raise concerns on behalf of the public. Being able to support these individuals is a privilege, although it can be challenging at times when employers behave unscrupulously. The research I carry out is focused on affirming the importance of speaking up and expanding the existing legal and regulatory framework, so that more whistleblowers can speak up in confidence” she said.
Laura Fatah - Adviser
Fred joined us in November 2017 after graduating from a Law undergraduate course at Durham university. He has previously volunteered with the Free Representation Unit (FRU).
He said, “One of the best features of Protect is the way the advice line team collaboratively shares the expertise of all staff to help both newly joined members of staff and whistleblowers in particularly complex situations. I find the role very rewarding especially when our advice improves a workplace and a concern can be safely raised.”
Fred Banks - Adviser
Nneka began volunteering with us as a Legal Researcher in November 2017 whilst completing her Law postgraduate course at Queen Mary University of London and joined as an adviser in July 2018.
“After volunteering for Protect for over seven months, I decided to apply for the adviser role because I admired the significant difference Protect has made in whistleblowers’ lives. I find this role is very rewarding because I have the opportunity to make a difference not only for individual whistleblowers but also for society as a whole.”
Nneka Egbuji - Adviser
Dugald joined Protect in September 2018 after studying law at University College London and completing a Master’s degree at the London School of Economics. He has previously volunteered at a number of legal charities.
He said, “I joined Protect because of the public importance I see in encouraging workers to speak up about wrongdoing in the workplace. What makes our work particularly rewarding is the breadth of sectors and situations for which our advice is sought.”
Dugald Johnson - Adviser
Alun joined Protect in October. He has 20 years of sales experience, gained mostly in the construction industry sector but decided to take up a role using his extensive sales know-how to benefit the ‘good work of Protect.’
He said, “I am really looking forward to using my skills to help drive the business support services at Protect.”
Alun Relf - Business Support Executive
Frances deals with many different aspects of Protect’s day-to-day administration from client invoices, overseeing the design and printing of our corporate materials to helping us with events and conferences and has many years experience of working in social enterprises and the publishing industry.
She said, “We’re a small but very busy team, and I enjoy helping the event side of our work run as smoothly as they can.”
Frances Steele - Administrator
Kushi joined Protect in 2016. Kushi has a Masters in International Relations from the University of Warwick and enjoys being able to combine her business development experience with working in the third sector.
She said, “I enjoy supporting new and existing clients and engaging with them on why effective whistleblowing arrangements are so vital for their business. Protect’s new 360 Benchmark has been getting great feedback since it launched – the Business Support team are passionate about spreading the word on how good it is! Talk to us!”
Kushi Gujral - Senior Business Support Executive
Mark joined Protect in 2018. He said, “I have always enjoyed helping people and with my background in sales, I have the ability to engage and advise clients on all levels. Whistleblowing is an important part of an organisations culture and I am passionate about improving the way workers can raise their concerns within the workplace.
He added, “It is very important that employee and employers have an open procedure for whistleblowing, which will in turn create the best practices in the workplace.”
Mark Thomas - Business Support Executive