Meet the Team

 V. Cannon

Valerie Cannon

Principal Children and Families Social Worker


Valerie has worked in social care for 25 years, qualifying as a Social Worker in 1997 and gaining the Post Qualifying Award in Child Care in 2003. Her experience includes working with adults with a range of difficulties and, primarily, working with children and families. She worked for North Yorkshire and Cornwall County Councils as a social worker and manager and for CAFCASS for 12 years as a practitioner, trainer, enhanced practitioner and manager. In that post, she developed and delivered training on a range of issues including report writing, case planning, court skills, analysis and assessment and domestic abuse. Valerie is a member of the Law Society’s Children’s Law Sub-committee. Valerie has been Principal Children and Families Social Worker for Devon County Council since October 2015. In this role, she has overall leadership responsibility for the Children’s Social Care Academy and for ensuring social care staff have opportunities for continuous professional development.



Camilla Lawson

Senior Workforce Development Administrator


Camilla started working within Learning & Development for Devon County Council in 2004. She has been involved in many areas of training and coordinated conferences and events over the years.
She works part-time and now supports Verity Sutcliffe with the L&D Programme for Children’s Social Care staff and links closely with External Facilitators.
She is the coordinator for;
• All Children’s Social Care courses and link to the DEL on-line booking system
• Front Line Managers Development Programme
• Area/Operations Managers Development Programme
• ABE training with Devon & Cornwall Police
• ILM Qualification with City&Guilds in Leadership & Management for Children’s Front Line Managers
She loves family time with her husband and two young children. She loves to bake and entertain, and is most happy when her home is filled with friends and family! 
 S. Rogers

Sarah Rogers

Social Work Development Officer


Sarah has worked for Devon County Council in social care since 1989. Her first post being in admin as a district clerk shortly followed by an Occupational Therapy Assistant for both adults and children services. Following changes in the organisation, Sarah’s post was changed to that of a community care worker in adults until she undertook her social work degree at Plymouth University, qualifying in 2007 and from this point moved to children’s social work. Sarah has since worked in different areas of the service that include the safeguarding team (as it was known at the time), children with disabilities and additional needs and permanence and transition. On-going professional development has been high on Sarah’s agenda and she has completed the children and families specialist award and the practice educator’s award along with a range of available facilitated training. Sarah joined the team in February 2013 on a secondment with the main focus of her role as a mentor for NQSW’s on the ASYE program but undertakes a range of roles including practice educator and assessor for social work students.  




Penn Hadfield-Bennett 

Social Work Development Officer

Information to follow.





 N. Stopard

Nigel Stopard

Head of the Academy


Nigel has worked in children’s social care since qualifying as a social worker in 1987. His work experience includes residential work with young people and statutory child care social work in Surrey and Devon. Nigel qualified as a practice teacher in 1993 and has worked with social work students and other learners in a variety of settings. He currently delivers the practice educator award locally in partnership with Plymouth City Council. Nigel maintains an on going commitment to professional development and has recently completed a PG Dip in leadership and management studies.



Verity Sutcliffe

Workforce Development Advisor


Verity has been working to develop the Children’s workforce in Devon for the past 10 years, initially for the Children’s Trust and since 2010 for children’s social care. Prior to this she worked for the NHS in both Devon and London on developing the health of the population with a specific focus on children, sexual and mental health. She has worked in South America as a teacher and for the Ministry of Education in Belize on the establishment of their Healthy Schools Programme. Verity gained an MSc in Health, Education and Training in 2001. She has a strong interest in research and evidence informed practice, her Masters dissertation examined the impact of the HIV virus on education systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Verity lives on Dartmoor with her partner and three children.






Lorraine Williams

Senior Workforce Development Administrator

Lorraine joined the Social Work Academy Team in July 2016.  She has worked within social care in both Adults and Childrens Services continually for the last fourteen years and has a broad understanding of social care structure and function.  She coordinates the delivery of Social Work training and workforce development and is the point of contact for partner organisations and students.  In her spare time she enjoys furniture restoration with help from husband Shaun who is a cabinet maker, playing guitar, camping and travel.
 H. Williams

Herbi Williams

Social Work Development Officer


Herbi has been a Social Work Development Officer in the team since 2014. She is a Practice Educator and is responsible for the Student Faculty along with Nick Unstead. Working predominantly across Southern Devon she mentors NQSW’s, Social Workers undertaking the Practice Educator award and staff supporting students. Herbi has a background in both children’s and adults Social Work in Torbay and Bristol as a practitioner and manager. As a practitioner and Social Work educator Herbi is particularly interested in mental capacity issues, the autistic spectrum, personality disorder, ethical Social Work practice and critical reflection on the impact of our practice.