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Joanna Nicolas
Safeguarding Consultant

Joanna is a member of The Prince’s Trust Safeguarding Advisory Panel.

As the communist regime fell in Romania, Joanna spent several months there working with children who had suffered extreme emotional and physical deprivation and neglect.

That is what set Joanna on her path.

With over 30 years of experience of working in the fields of Safeguarding and Child Protection, Joanna has an established career as an independent consultant and trainer.

What you won’t get from Joanna is jargon and academic language. What you will get is practical advice delivered in straightforward, layman’s terms.

Working in social care since 1991, Joanna spent many years on the front line as a child protection social worker but has graduated to become a much-prized consultant and trainer. Between 1995 and 2008 Joanna worked with various Local Authorities and London Boroughs, specialising in the most complex child abuse cases and care proceedings.

In recent years Joanna has worked on a consultancy basis with a range of UK organisations including the Department for Education, Ofsted and various Local Authorities and Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships. In addition she sits on the Main Board of Cafcass as well as the Performance and Quality Committee. Joanna acts as a safeguarding advisor to a range of organisations, including, as part of the Old Vic team, Parliament, looking to ensure they have a healthy workplace culture and along with consultancy can offer training in this area.

Joanna is a recognised and sought-after deliverer of bespoke training in the fields of Safeguarding and Child Protection. The sessions are bespoke and cover a variety of relevant topics, techniques and legislation. The training can be delivered virtually, or in-person. She is also a valued speaker at various conferences around the UK. Other areas of work include; supporting theatres and other arts organisations with productions involving child actors.

As far as her media work is concerned, Joanna is the ‘go-to’ voice for Safeguarding and Child Protection, appearing regularly across the BBC, ITV and Sky whilst contributing to various professional journals and The Guardian.

Rebecca Hiley
Deputy Head of Events, Forum Training
“Joanna Nicolas is an engaging presenter who is clearly very knowledgeable in her field. Joanna’s presentations are always informative but also thought provoking and inspirational. Joanna has spoken for us on a number of occasions and always receives fantastic feedback from delegates.”
Dermot Brady
Senior Lecturer, School of Allied Health, Midwifery and Social Care, Kingston University
“Joanna delivered the first of our series of Social Work Seminars at Kingston University this year, and what a great start. We arrange these seminars for our students and employer partners, so are important for encouraging links between students and practitioners in the field and to ensure they hear from experienced practitioners and researchers. Joanna has a depth of experience and knowledge that few can match and she delivers her material in a coherent and powerful way. Her passion for advocacy for children and young people comes across really strongly and she prompted great discussion and learning. We are sure that she will have had a direct influence on how people practice and learn.”
Dave Jones
Deputy CEO and Safeguarding Lead, CCP
“Joanna was recommended to me by the LSCB Business manager when I was looking for an independent safeguarding consultant to undertake a few projects for CCP. I had previously worked with her through the Safeguarding Children Board and was pleased to be able to commission her to undertake some consultation work on behalf of the charity. Joanna has worked with CCP now on a number of projects, which has seen both my understanding, as Safeguarding Lead, and our organisation’s understanding, implementation and expertise in safeguarding children significantly increase. I would strongly recommend Joanna to any organisation that may need to consider additional safeguarding support as she is thorough, efficient and extremely knowledgeable.”
Antony Pearce
Director of Quality and Business Improvement, Prospects Services
“We asked Joanna to review our safeguarding policy, procedures and practices as part of a general health check. She undertook a comprehensive review working with staff, managers and our senior team across a variety of locations. Whilst identifying the good practice she also really challenged us as an organisation getting us to think about child and adult protection in new ways. This has enabled us to identify clear areas for improvement. Her passion for putting children first really made me think about what quality means when we look at safeguarding. I feel better equipped to support my company as a consequence”
Mrs. Sheila Brown, OBE
CEO, Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children
“The issues surrounding child protection are complex, but Joanna made it easy to absorb using her experience of working in the real world and her expertise, which helped us to implement the policy strategically. We needed to write policy, train and integrate the learning across very diverse groups of people from very different departments. Joanna genuinely cares about protecting children and you can see it in all she does, she provides clear and practical training, delivered with passion and commitment”.
Rob Parkinson
CEO, Home-Start UK
"Following Joanna's notable and well received contribution to our 2016 national convention, we invited her to carry out an independent review of our child protection activity. It was an insightful piece of work which will positively shape the future development of child protection activity at HSUK. I would recommend Joanna to other organisations looking to carry out similar pieces of work".
Dr Dawn Harper
MBBS MRCP DCH DFFP, Home-Start UK
“I first met Joanna several years ago when I attended a “Safeguarding Children” course. I am ashamed to say that my only expectation of the day was to tick some government boxes, but I left totally inspired by Joanna. She has so much expertise and experience in this field and has an unusually brilliant way of communicating that knowledge. She has since become a very respected work colleague and someone I feel privileged to have met.”
Chris Coles
MBBS MRCP DCH DFFP, Coach Hire
"Being involved in the transport of school children it is imperative that our safeguarding is at the highest level. Joanna provides clear, researched direction that is real-life based and can easily be implemented. I would recommend her services to any organisation looking to go that step further in their safeguarding."
Liz Warner
CEO, Comic Relief
"When I joined Comic Relief two years' ago, I prioritised a review of Comic Relief’s approach to safeguarding. We identified Joanna as an independent child protection/safeguarding specialist and from our very first engagements with her, we were confident we had found an expert to work with. Joanna undertook an end to end review of our existing approach to safeguarding and made excellent recommendations to tighten and improve our practices, which is now part of an ongoing process of constantly seeking to improve. She presented these improvements to management and trustees and kickstarted the work. In all, Joanna provided services to us for almost a year, and she undoubtedly left us in a better place with improved practices and a brilliant full time safeguarding expert she helped us employ. She was a pleasure to work with."
Kate Varah
Executive Director, The Old Vic
"Joanna came to us highly recommended and, having worked with her over the past year on safeguarding and wider staff wellbeing initiatives, I can see why. Joanna carried out a safeguarding audit for The Old Vic in 2017 and her report was thorough and gave clear practical advice. So insightful was her advice that when launching our new Guardians initiative to support a healthy workplace culture, Joanna became a key part of the team. She carried out cultural awareness sessions (talking about what’s ok and what’s not ok in the workplace) for all staff, and now acts as a much trusted mentor for our Guardians, who she also trained. It is rare to find someone so experienced, sensitive, practical, and personable to work with. I would recommended Joanna without hesitation."

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