Our Trainers | CPAG

Our Trainers

CPAG's experience in the welfare rights field is unrivalled and this is reflected in the quality of our trainers. All are working within the sector, some for CPAG and others as senior advisers and consultants. Many of them contribute regularly to leading publications and information resources for the sector, including our own highly regarded range of handbooks.

Barbara Alexander is a welfare rights adviser and freelance trainer currently working for the welfare rights team of a large county council. She has delivered welfare rights advice, representation and training for over 20 years with a number of organisations including CA, Refuge, Shelter and Gingerbread.

Sarah Batty has been working in welfare rights since 1995 when she became a Citizens Advice volunteer. She has since worked in local authorities, housing associations and voluntary organisations as a welfare rights adviser, trainer and manager. She has also been an MP caseworker. Sarah completed a Masters Degree in Social Policy in 2017 and is currently a team leader at Durham County Council. In her spare time she plays the clarinet and enjoys walking.

Barbara Donegan is a welfare rights worker at CPAG in Scotland and an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

Moira Escreet is a welfare rights worker at CPAG in Scotland, working on the Disabled Children and Families project. She worked in frontline advice services from 1993 until 2021, mostly in social housing, so has first hand experience of many benefit changes over that time. 

Alison Gillies is a welfare rights worker at CPAG in Scotland. She is author of CPAG’s Children’s Handbook Scotland. She has worked in welfare rights since 1985.

Will Hadwen works as a benefits trainer and a locum adviser for charities including Citizens Advice. As a freelancer, Will also works on the CPAG in Scotland advice line and on CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

Paula John is a qualified social worker and mental health officer who has worked in social work for 30 years, the last 20 of which have been in a variety of mental health settings. She currently works for the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.

Steve Johnson has been a welfare benefits trainer and advocate for many years and has over 30 years’ experience working as a professional adviser and manager within the Citizens Advice service. His current clients include CPAG, Citizens Advice outlets, local authority welfare rights and housing advisors, charities from the benevolent sector, housing associations, as well as solicitor pro bono units.

David Kelly is a freelance welfare rights worker. He previously worked as a welfare rights worker in CPAG in Scotland, in a local authority and most recently with a number of housing associations. 

Henri Krishna is a welfare rights worker with CPAG in Scotland’s Advising Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities project. He is an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and the Benefits for Migrants Handbook, and has worked in the advice and support sector in various capacities for over 25 years. 

Alison Lord is a welfare rights worker at CPAG in Scotland, working on the advisers’ advice line. She has been working in the advice sector since 1996, specialising in benefits for people with disabilities.

Dan Norris is the Head of Rights and Advice at CPAG. He has delivered welfare rights advice, representation and training for over 15 years, with a number of organisations including St Mungo’s Broadway, SHP and Thamesreach.

Simon Osborne is a welfare rights worker at CPAG. He is content consultant and an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook, editor of and contributor to the Welfare Rights Bulletin, author of Winning Your Benefit Appeal and contributor to Legal Action magazine.

Judith Paterson is head of advice and rights at CPAG in Scotland. She is an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

Steph Pike is an experienced welfare rights adviser and currently works for Harrow Law Centre. She is a freelance trainer in welfare benefits and is also the author of the 3rd edition of CPAG's Personal Independence Payment: What You Need To Know guide.

Ed Pybus is a welfare rights worker with CPAG in Scotland, and an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook. He was previously an adviser with Citizens Advice Bureaux.

Jon Shaw is a welfare rights worker at CPAG in Scotland, and an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook. He has worked in welfare rights since 2007.

Jo Silcox has over 30 years’ experience in welfare rights. She currently works at Harrow Law Centre and for the Money Advice unit of a large County Council. Jo has many years’ experience of complex case work, representation at tribunals and training. In addition, she is a freelance trainer in welfare benefits and she was the Social Security Caseworker at FRU for 7 years.

David Stickland has been a CPAG trainer since 2003. From 1998 David worked as a welfare benefits caseworker within Citizens Advice and also spent many years working for a local authority Welfare Rights Service. David now manages the advice service at the Benefits Training Co often supporting non-benefits staff and volunteers working with people for whom benefits are an issue.

Jessica Strode is a welfare rights worker and the judicial review project worker at CPAG. She provides advice and support to the advice sector on using judicial review in social security matters, authors the judicial review chapter of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and contributes to the Welfare Rights Bulletin.

Angela Toal is a welfare rights worker with CPAG in Scotland, working on the Benefits for Students project, and is author of CPAG’s Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook. She was a peer reviewer for Scottish National Standards for SLAB from 2017-2021.

Kat Turner is a digital developer at CPAG in Scotland. As a certified trainer, she has created content and delivered training for both the education and charity sector for 20 years.

Gary Vaux has been involved in welfare rights work for many years and is currently head of an advice service in a large County Council. Gary is also a freelance author, trainer, policy adviser and trustee of a number of voluntary advice services.

Rebecca Walker has worked in welfare rights since 1993 including for various citizens advice bureaux, Terrence Higgins Trust, Refugee Outreach and Advice Partnership and LASA. She is currently an advice worker with Citizens Advice Sheffield, and a freelance trainer and writer on welfare rights. For many years she has been an author of the Benefits for Migrants Handbook, the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and the Disability Rights Handbook.

Martin Williams is a welfare rights worker at CPAG. He is widely experienced in representing claimants at both levels within the tribunal system, having worked in the appeals team at Lasa from 2001 until 2008. He is currently an author of CPAG’s Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit: the legislation.

Mark Willis has worked in welfare rights since 1991 and is currently a welfare rights worker with CPAG in Scotland’s tax credits/early years project. He is an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.