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The Skill Mill: Previous Board Members


Paul Brownlee CQSW, Dip HE Social Work, DMS

A former Sapper in the Royal Engineers, Paul qualified as a Social Worker in 1993. Paul has worked in a number of Social Work Departments in the North East of England. He has spent many years delivering, managing and leading services for young people involved in the Criminal Justice System. Paul has worked as an advisor and Performance Improvement Consultant to the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales developing best practice models at both local and national levels. He has focused on implementing innovative partnership responses to youth justice and social work services for vulnerable young people and has spoken on the subjects at international events. During his career Paul has been responsible for Youth Justice Services, Young People’s Substance Misuse Services, Multi-Systemic Therapy, Youth Work Services, Young Carers, Social Work services for 16+, Looked After Children, Care Leavers and Vulnerable Young People. Paul is now the Head of Performance and Quality for Hull Children’s Services and is a founding Director of The Skill Mill Limited. Paul was a Director of The Skill Mill until 2022.

In Loving Memory of Hannah Brandon

In March 2022 our beloved colleague Hannah Brandon sadly passed away. She was 53 years old. Hannah qualified as a social worker in 1998 when she began her career in youth justice. She worked in Manchester, Salford and Grimsby Youth Offending Teams as a practitioner and as a manager in Lincoln and Liverpool before becoming Head of Targeted Services for Liverpool City Council in 2014. This was an integrated Service which included the Youth Offending Service, Targeted Youth Service and teams working with missing children and children at risk of exploitation. During this period Hannah was seconded to HMI Probation for 18 months as a practice assessor inspecting Probation and Youth Offending Services in England and Wales. Hannah was involved in various youth offending initiatives including peer reviews, sitting on the joint Youth Justice Board (YJB) and Association of YOT Managers (AYM) boards. She was the north west executive member for the AYM and chaired the core cities youth justice group. In 2017 Hannah moved to London and began working in the London Borough of Croydon as Head of Adolescent Services where she had responsibility for the Youth Offending Service, missing children and the strategy for vulnerable adolescents. She set up social work teams that specialised in working with 13 - 18 year olds where there was risk outside of the home. Hannah had a specific interest in adolescent risk, child criminal exploitation and in securing positive long term outcomes for children. In 2020 Hannah moved roles within the borough to become Head of Social Work with Children Looked After and Care Leavers. She became a Director of The Skill Mill in 2021, having set up two successful teams in Liverpool and Croydon. Hannah passed away in March 2022, after a long courageous battle with bowel cancer.

The Hannah Brandon Awards

The Hannah Brandon Awards have been set up in Hannah’s name to promote the fantastic effort of young people in Croydon who are improving their lives. The awards recognise those children involved with the Youth Justice System and celebrates their achievements. Hannah was a passionate advocate for young people and fighting for their better futures. This award recognises those young people who are making the most of the opportunities available in Croydon. The first Hannah Brandon Awards were made on Monday 15th May 2023 by Croydon Youth Justice Service.

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