Adoptive dad playing with his daughter in a Birmingham park

Our Board

Our Board

Andrew Christie

Andrew began his career in social work in 1974. He was Chair of Birmingham Children’s Trust between 2016-2023 and was honoured with a CBE for services to children in 2017. He also chaired the Adoption & Special Guardianship Leadership Board between 2016-2020.


Anna Sharkey

Anna Sharkey was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Family Society in 2009 and is the Registered Manager of Adoption Focus. Anna grew up in a family which fostered and adopted and qualified as a social worker in 1984. Anna held senior roles in local authorities and the voluntary sector.


Benjamin James

Benjamin has chaired the board of trustees at Family Society since 2009. He is a solicitor and specialises in charity, commercial and intellectual property law. Benjamin advises a number of charities in relation to their legal and governance requirements. He has been a trustee of numerous charities over his career.


David Stringfellow

David was appointed Director of Commissioning and Corporate Parenting for Birmingham Children’s Trust in 2019. Prior to joining the Trust, David had senior roles with Dudley Children’s Services and, more recently, with Oldham Children’s Services as the Director of Children’s Social Care and Early Help.


Graham Harwood

Graham is the Vice-Chairperson of Family Society, a chartered public finance accountant and has held senior finance positions in a range of public authorities. He has lectured on MBA programmes in Europe and Australia and worked as an independent consultant to the Metropolitan Police and HM Inspector of Constabularies.


Mark Tobin

Mark began his social work career in 1996 and has 27 years’ experience of working with children and families in local authority and voluntary sector roles. He specialised in Adoption and Permanence, managed local authority adoption services, and has had significant involvement in the development of Regional Adoption Agency services.


Vel Kenny

Vel joined Birmingham Children’s Trust in 2017 and was appointed Assistant Director for Children in Care in 2020. Vel has 26 years of front line social work experience, having lead and managed a range of statutory services within the Trust and other Local Authorities.