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 benefits adviser and trainer with over 20 years' experience. She currently works for the welfare rights team of a large county council and as a freelance trainer and adviser for a number of organisations including Refuge, Shelter and Gingerbread.

Sarah Batty has been working in the welfare rights field for nearly 20 years, covering advice, training, tribunal representation and policy. She has worked previously in social housing in the North East, and for local authorities and third sector advice providers.

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 adviser for charities including Citizens Advice and Advice UK. 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 welfare rights officer in a community-based housing association. He previously worked as a welfare rights worker with CPAG and in a local authority.

Henri Krishna is a welfare rights worker with CPAG in Scotland’s Advising Black and Minority Ethnic Communities project. He is an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and has worked in the advice and support sector in various capacities for over 20 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.

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 25 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.

Jane Smith has worked in welfare rights for over 20 years, in Derbyshire, the west of Scotland and currently for Angus Council. She has extensive experience of training, campaigning and appeals.

David Stickland is an experienced trainer who has been an advice worker since 1998. He continues to give frontline benefits advice on behalf of the disability charity Scope and acts as a consultant/trainer for several large housing associations and disability organisations.

Jim Thompson has been a welfare rights worker for 25 years and has wide experience of claims, appeals and training. He is currently a housing association welfare rights officer.

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 previously advice team manager at The Action Group in Edinburgh.

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 the Sheffield Project for Refugee Integration and Growth (SPRING), an advice worker with Maternity Action, 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.