January 14th 2015 | Royal College of Surgeons, King Khalid Building

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Keynote speakers

Michael Matheson MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, The Scottish Government

Michael Matheson was born in Glasgow in 1970 and educated at St John Bosco Secondary School. He went on to study at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh where he obtained a BSc in Occupational Therapy. He also holds a BA and a Diploma in Applied Social Sciences from the Open University.

Prior to becoming an MSP Michael practised as a Community Occupational Therapist with Stirling Council, Central Regional Council, and Highland Regional Council.

Michael was elected as the MSP for Falkirk West following the May 2007 elections. Previous to that he was a Regional MSP for Central Scotland from 1999-2007. Before being appointed Minister for Public Health and Sport Michael was Vice Convenor of the European and External Relations Committee. He also sat on the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, and previously served on the Justice and Enterprise and Culture Committees.

He was re-elected at the May 5, 2011 election and thereafter appointed as Minister for Public Health.  He was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Justice in November 2014 (subject to parliamentary approval at the earliest opportunity).


Rt. Hon. Henry McLeish

Former First Minister of Scotland

The Right Honourable Henry McLeish was a member of the Broadcasting Commission and was Chair of the Scottish Prisons Commission. During the last few years he has been visiting professor and lecturer at a number of universities in the US, teaching European Union studies and UK Government and Politics. He has advised the LEED programme of the OECD in Paris, the European foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions in Dublin and is a Fellow of Edinburgh University. 

After 30 years in elected office, Mr McLeish retired from public office in 2003 having been elected First Minister of Scotland in 2000, taking responsibility for Scotland’s emerging role on the European and World stage, leading official government missions internationally and implementing Scotland’s social and economic policies. He became a member of the Privy Council – an honour bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen - in the same year. As Minister for Devolution and Home Affairs at the Scottish Office from 1997 to 1999 he was instrumental in shaping Scotland’s first Parliament in almost 300 years.


Kate Donegan OBE

Project Executive, Women Offenders Project, Scottish Prison Service

Kate joined the Scottish Prison Service in 1977 as an Assistant Governor. Since then she has worked in the England & Wales Prison Service and in a variety of project, policy and operational roles in the SPS. She is a former Governor of HM prisons Cornton Vale, Polmont, Glenochil and Perth and has also undertaken two secondments to HM Inspectorate of Prisons – latterly as Deputy Chief Inspector. Kate is currently leading the SPS Women Offenders Project team which was set up by the Chief Executive, Colin McConnell in the wake of the Women’s Commission report prepared under the leadership of Dame Elish Angiolini. The project team has been charged with the design and commissioning of the new national and regional prison for women to be located in Inverclyde and the review and development of the SPS women offenders strategy.

Allister Purdie

Governor, Cornton Vale Prison

Allister joined the Scottish Prison Service in November 1988 starting at Shotts Prison in Lanarkshire, having worked ten years in a family business.

Following successive promotions he moved to Perth Prison in April 1999 as a Unit Manager. He then transferred to HM Prison Edinburgh in October 2001 and then to HM Prison Barlinnie in November 2004 as the Head of Operations and Residential and then to the Deputy Governor role.

Allister was assigned to Scottish Prison Service Headquarters in November 2009 as a Senior Operational Advisor leading in the design and build of the new prisons at HM Prison Low Moss and HM Prison Grampian.

In April 2011 Allister was assigned to the role of Deputy Governor at HM Prison and Young Offenders Cornton Vale Stirling and then to the Governor role in April 2013 where he is currently operating.


Dr Oliver Aldridge

Dr Oliver Aldridge, Medical Lead, Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian DTTO I&II Services

Dr Oliver Aldridge has been working in Addiction Medicine for 9 years. He is currently the Medical Lead for the Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian Drug Treatment and Testing Order Services (DTTO) which also include the pilot DTTO II service allowing access from the Justice of the Peace Courts. In addition to holding the Certificates in the Management of both Drug Misuse and Alcohol from the Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr Aldridge is a Certificant of the International Society of Addiction Medicine. He has served on the Board of the Scottish Drugs Forum since 2006 and is a Committee Member of the Howard League Society for Penal Reform (Scotland) as well as being a member of International Doctors for Healthy Drug Policies. A key area of interest for Dr Aldridge is the promotion of sustained recovery incorporating the range of biological, psychological, social and policy issues that underpin addiction.

Ali Walls

Leader of Social Work Team and co-leader of Mother & Baby Unit, Cornton Vale Prison

Ali has a wide ranging experience in working in the field of offender management. In 1992, she joined the Scottish Prison Service as a prison officer before moving on to pursue other career interests including work with Apex Scotland. In 2001, she joined Stirling Criminal Justice Service as a Bail and Diversion Officer, moving into a social work post upon gaining her social work degree.

Ali worked in both the court and community teams before moving into the Cornton Vale social work team in 2007. She has been part of Cornton Vale Mother and Baby Team since 2007, enabling her to develop her skills and knowledge of the policy, practice and operation of Mother and Child Units. For the past four years she has been the Team Manager of the Social Work Team and co-chair of the Mother and Baby Team alongside her colleague Darline Reekie, Head of Care.


Georgina Lyttle

Project Manager, Families Affected by Imprisonment (FABI), Circle Scotland

Georgina has worked with Circle since September 2012 and was the Young Person’s Worker providing support to young people aged 12 – 18, who are misusing or at risk of misusing alcohol, and their families. In April 2014, Georgina took up the position of Project Manager of the Families Affected By (Parental) Imprisonment Team (FABI) which supports mothers and fathers pre and post release from prison and their families in the community.

Georgina graduated from Edinburgh University with a Masters in Social Work in 2003 and worked for 9 years in an organisation supporting young people within a residential environment aged 15 ½ - 17 years. Georgina has continued with her professional development by successfully completing the Certificate in Child Protection Studies in May 2006 and The Managing Care Award in 2013. Georgina is currently undertaking the Practice Development Award in Practice Learning.


Anne Gallacher

Team Leader, Tomorrow's Women, The Adelphi Centre

Anne is a qualified social worker and therapeutic counsellor; she was also a part time counselling tutor at Strathclyde University for 7 years.   Anne has a wealth of experience within the statutory and voluntary sectors and has worked within children and families, people with disabilities, addictions, adult support and protection and criminal justice.  Anne’s passion lies in supporting women to be all they can be; before embarking on her social work career she was an unpaid then a paid worker with Glasgow Women’s Aid.

Anne has over 10 years management experience including the setting up of new social work and community projects.  She was manager of Routes out of Prostitution for four years; she then moved to Glasgow Addiction Service where she was team leader for seven years before managing Tomorrow’s Women Glasgow.  Anne is completely committed to ensuring that Tomorrow’s Women is a safe place where women involved in the Criminal Justice system are willing and able to address the issues underpinning their lifestyle and offending behaviour.      


Darline Reekie

Head of Care and co-leader of Mother & Baby Unit, Cornton Vale Prison

Darline Reekie has worked within Prison Healthcare for the past 14 years and in her current role as Healthcare Manager in HMP & YOI Cornton Vale and HMYOI Polmont is responsible for leading, developing and delivering healthcare services at local and national level. She has been part of Cornton Vale Mother and Baby Team since 2008 and has for the past four years been co-chair of this group.

Helen Jones

Service Manager, Barnardo's Scotland

Helen Jones is a Service Manager for Barnardo’s where she has worked since 2001. Services include Youth Work, in Polmont and Cornton Vale, Shine Women’s Mentoring in Tayside and Thrive, which works with Children under 5 affected by parental imprisonment and their families. Previously, Helen worked as a Criminal Justice Social Worker and has a Masters in Advanced Social Work Studies in Criminal Justice.

Paul Noyes

Social Work Officer, The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland

Paul Noyes is a social work officer with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. He led the Commission’s recent themed visit which looked at the mental health of women detained by the criminal courts in Scotland. Paul has worked in Scotland as a social worker for over 30 years, mainly in management roles involving service delivery, strategic planning and service development. He has worked mainly in the fields of mental health and criminal justice. Paul has been a mental health officer since 1987 and has always maintained an interest in forensic mental health.

Fiona Bennett

Assistant Director Children's Services, Barnardo's Scotland

Fiona Bennett is currently an Assistant Director with Barnardo’s, covering Services in the South West of Scotland including the Shine Women’s Mentoring Service. She has an Honours Degree in Psychology from Edinburgh University and is a qualified Social Worker and Family Therapist with post-graduate qualifications in Child Protection and Social Services Management. Fiona has worked for over 25 years in Services for vulnerable children and their families including Local Authority, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Early Years, Youth Justice and Fostering. She has contributed to the development of related policy areas, research and professional practice including early year’s workforce development; GIRFEC; social work and child mental health. Fiona remains passionate and committed to improving the lives of others through the provision of quality, effective, locally-based Services and the work of Barnardo’s Scotland.

Yvonne Robson

Project Manager, Shine Women's Mentoring Service, Sacro

Yvonne qualified as a Probation Officer in 1982 and worked with Durham Probation Service till 1998.  She held a range of posts including managing teams in prisons and establishing the county wide Throughcare team.  She moved to local authority Criminal Justice Social Work Services in Scotland in 1998 where she held the Service Manager post in Clackmannanshire before being appointed as the Ayrshire Criminal Justice Partnership Manager in 2006.  In 2008, she took up a professional advisor post for Criminal Justice with the then Association of Directors of Social Work.  In that post she worked extensively with Scottish Government, Scottish Prison Service and the Voluntary Sector.

She is a member of the Scottish Advisory Panel for Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR) responsible for advising Scottish Government and SPS and accrediting programmes of intervention.  She retired in 2013, undertaking consultancy work prior to becoming Project Manager for the Shine WMS in November 2014.


Prof Mike Nellis

Emeritus Professor of Criminal  and Community Justice, University of Strathclyde

Mike Nellis is Emeritus Professor of Criminal and Community Justice in the Centre for Law, Crime & Justice, Law School of University of Strathclyde.  He was formerly a social worker with young offenders in London, has a PhD from the Institute of Criminology in Cambridge, and was involved in the training of probation officers at the University of Birmingham. He has written widely on the fortunes of the probation service, alternatives to imprisonment and particularly the electronic monitoring of offenders, on which he is an acknowledged expert.  

He has been actively involved since 2005 in the planning of a series of European conferences on electronic monitoring (EM). Between 2011 and 2013, he acted as one of two advisers to a Council of Europe Committee on Penal Affairs which drew up an ethical recommendation on EM, for circulation in the Council’s member countries. He teaches a Master’s degree course on “Surveillance, technology and criminal justice” studies in the Strathclyde Law School. He has recently co-edited “Electronically Monitored Punishment: international and critical perspectives” (2013) with Belgian colleagues Kristel Beyens and Dan Kaminski.


Margaret Mowat

Programme Action Convenor Scotland South Region, Soroptimist International

Margaret worked as a Senior HR Specialist in NHS Lothian.  As a Soroptimist, she is president of her club - SI Hamilton, Regional Programme Action Chairperson and a member of UKPAC . She will be attending the 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York in April this year as part of the Soroptimist Delegation.  Margaret is also helping to manage a £800,000 building project in her church. She enjoys travelling and is a keen gardener.

Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls. Our network of around 80,000 club members in 130 countries and territories works at a local, national and international level to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls.