Our Team

Senior Management

Steve Johnson, Chief Executive

steve_johnsonSteve has been our Chief Executive since February 1996. During his tenure the organisation has grown considerably, diversified its services to members and undergone substantial change – including two relocations and the change of name from FIAC (the Federation of Independent Advice Centres) to AdviceUK.

Before taking up his present post Steve lived and worked in the West Midlands where he accumulated extensive experience of voluntary sector management and community involvement. From 1991–96 he was Director of Walsall CAB, one of the largest advice agencies in the UK. During 1984–91 he set up and managed a youth justice charity in Sandwell and then a multi-agency successor project incorporating both Social Services and Probation Service staff. He was simultaneously involved in a wide range of community organisations, serving as a Metropolitan Borough Councillor and on diverse authorities, governing bodies and tribunals. His first experience of advice work was gained as a casework assistant to an MP from 1975–79 and as the sole advice worker in an independent multi-purpose community project between 1977–1981.

He is involved in a number of national bodies including as a trustee of Homeless Link and the Solicitors Pro Bono Group, a member of the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Committee, a visiting contributor to the School for Social Entrepreneurs and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

During his tenure the organisation has grown considerably, diversified its services to members and undergone substantial change.

Steve is available for media interviews concerning the role of the advice sector and challenges faced by advice organisations.

Contact Steve on 0300 777 0107.

Chilli Reid, Executive Director

chilli_reidChilli has worked for AdviceUK since April 2005. He has previously been the Head of Development and Services.

As Head of Development and Policy he has overall responsibility for developing the AdviceUK network across GB. He leads the organisation and staff in supporting AdviceUK members to be more effective at improving peoples lives. Chilli leads on policy and influencing work and seeks to reflect the major issues affecting people. Chilli is at the forefront of developing the Whole Person Approach based on the systems work that  AdviceUK leads the field in

He leads on developing new working relationships with organisations across the spectrum including statutory bodies, quangos, charities and private sector organisations, academic institutions,housing associationsand many others.

Before joining AdviceUK Chilli managed a specialist debt advice agency having previously been a debt and generalist advice practitioner. He is also an experienced trainer a qualified teacher with a legal background.

Please contact me at chilli.reid@adviceuk.org.uk or ring 0300 777 0107.

Our Trustees

Naomi Wayne (Chair)

Naomi is an Independent Trustee.

Naomi has background in Ireland and Britain in trade unions and in equal opportunities work and has been involved in the voluntary sector as a volunteer and Trustee all her adult life.

She is Chief Officer of an unusual health charity, the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine, which helps performers with work related health problems. While working part time there, she is also a part time student of ceramics at Westminster University in the 5th year of a BA course.

Naomi wrote the first ever book on Irish Labour Law and co-authored another on bringing peace to Northern Ireland. She is a founder member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and set up a grant making charity, British Shalom Salam Trust. She recently joined the Board of the Migrants Resource Centre.

Naomi is Chair of the Board which she has been on since 1996. Previously she was a member of the Lewisham CAB Board.

Simin Azimi (Deputy Chair)

Simin is the Members’ Trustee for London.

She has been in the refugee sector for 30 years. She thinks that advice is the most important tool in seeking information and guidance about careers, welfare etc. This advice must be independent and impartial so that it is free from potential political manipulation.

Simin is Director of Refugee Women’s Association based in Hackney, London. She has been in this post for 10 years.

Her organisation joined AdviceUK because of its reputation and credibility and for its services such as its training.

She became a trustee to be more active in shaping the organisation. Her main interest is equal opportunities and she is committed to promoting it at all levels.

Baljit Badesha

Baljit is the Co-opted Trustee for London.

He trained as a civil engineer and volunteered at Woolwich CAB which started his interest in advice and subsequently worked in a law centre. He became politicised at university where he was a member of the Anti-racist Alliance which resulted in a change of career path.

He is the Director of Nucleus Legal Advice Centre where he has been in this post for the past 12 years. The organisation was established 35 years ago to provide advice to the local community. His aim for the organisation is for it to thrive and retain its values and spirit and to retain its community focus within a changing and competitive environment.

When he took up this post he received lots of support from the AdviceUK London Regional Network as the organisation went through a big change process.

He hopes that his involvement as a Board member will help AdviceUK to continue to support its diverse membership.

Hayley Kendall

Hayley is the Co-opted Trustee for Eastern region.

Following her graduation from University 11 years ago, Hayley volunteered at a local charity to gain experience of working with offenders (with the eventual aim of joining the Probation Service). She enjoyed working in the voluntary sector and did not hesitate to apply for the position as a trainee Money Adviser. When her contract ended in 2000 Hayley successfully applied for a Trainee Manager position at Ipswich Housing Action Group, a small independent charity that helps single homeless people.

Hayley has now been managing the Money Advice Service at IHAG for 7 years and continues to expand and develop the service in order to reach as many marginalised, vulnerable people as possible who would find it difficult to access advice elsewhere.

Hayley had been a member of Advice UK from the start of her career in this sector and valued their support.

Becoming a trustee has not only enabled Hayley to meet new people and gain new experiences, but also enables her to represent smaller organisations such as IHAG at a national level.

Julie Silver

Julie is the Co-opted Trustee for East Midlands.

Julie got into advice as there was an identifiable gap in accessing advice and local help. Around 25 years ago she found time to volunteer at a local welfare rights group, train and eventually become a specialist benefit adviser. She studied for a Law degree then moved to the Community Law Service (CLS) in Northampton. She continued her studies in the area of Social Welfare Law.

Julie is now the Chief Executive of the Community Law Service (CLS).

She joined the Board in 2005, representing the East Midlands area where she also sits on various other voluntary boards.

Graham Smith

Graham is an Independent Trustee.

He attended Nottingham University and has been in the legal profession for 25 years having worked in New York and now in London.

Being from a city banking background, Graham brings a specialism to the board from the City’s business, accountancy and banking law sector. He has done a great deal of work on governance and constitutional issues.

He is married with three children, the eldest of whom has recently gone to Nottingham University 33 years after his father.

He agreed to be co-opted to the Board in 2006 because of his expertise but also because he wanted to give something back to the independent advice sector and to provide pro bono legal advice to the Board of Trustees, senior officers and our member organisations.

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