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Senior Leadership

Matthew Hilton


My work with The Advocacy People
I joined The Advocacy People as CEO in October 2018.  My role is fundamentally to make sure that what we do for clients now, and all that we want to do in the future, will add up to being as effective as possible. So, I work with the Board and the senior team to set the overall strategy, and then make sure we properly deliver on that strategy. To do all that, I try to think about the people here and about what sort of organisation this is. This is a special place to work – I want us never to lose that.  And I probably also spend too much time in meetings, too…

A brief history of my career before The Advocacy People
I worked for over 25 years in the public and not for profit sectors, mainly as a senior official in Whitehall, where I worked with ministers and in policy roles. Before I came to The Advocacy People I was Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer at a London University. As a non-executive, I have chaired the National Deaf Children’s Society and been involved in other local and national charitable and educational organisations.

Sarah Deason
Chief Operating Officer

My work with The Advocacy People

After 4 years as the Team Manager in Kent, I have seen first-hand how advocacy changes the lives of people and plays such an important role.  Having moved into the Senior Leadership Team in January 2019, my role is to develop our services so we can provide more advocacy to more people. You never know when life can take an unexpected turn and I believe in the role of advocacy to support people to say what they want to say when they don’t feel confident to do it on their own.

I can honestly say I have never worked for an organisation which cares so much about the work we do and the people who do it.

A brief history of my career before The Advocacy People

I originally trained as a Careers Advisor, working mainly with young people with special educational needs and disabilities. I then worked in a special needs school for several years before moving to The Advocacy People.

Simon Hicks

Finance Director

My work with The Advocacy People

I have responsibility for all things money-related with The Advocacy People, making sure we are spending our money wisely. I also take care of our insurances, coordinate facilities management and oversee our approach to environmental issues.

A brief history of my career before The Advocacy People

I have over 20 years experience working in finance, previously as Head of Finance for Creating Futures Ltd, Sussex Oakleaf Housing Association and Knowsley Care Society. Outside work I have been on the Boards of Prospect Housing Association, Collingwood Housing Association and as Honorary Treasurer of Mid-Sussex CVS.

Graeme Clark

Human Resources Director

My work with The Advocacy People

I joined The Advocacy People in 2010 (when it was seAp) and have responsibility for our Human Resources and Learning & Development functions as well as staff Health and Wellbeing.  

The culture embedded within The Advocacy People has been built up over a number of years to provide transparency, trust and healthy challenge, with a view to developing a fully engaged workforce

I ensure we put the “Human” element into all of our strategic priorities and ensure our policies and procedures are kept up to date and support our workforce to be healthy at work.

A brief history of my career before The Advocacy People

I am a CIPD qualified HR Generalist and have worked in HR for the last 17 years, much of this time in the public sector, including at a local College.  Prior to working in the field of HR I worked in the Civil Service and for many years, in my early career, I was a Bingo Manager. It was here in the field of ‘the customer’ that I honed my early skills in ‘people management’, which have since been put to very good use in my HR career.

Louise Basso
Business Development Director

My work with The Advocacy People

I moved into the Senior Leadership team in October 2023, as interim Business Development Director, my role is to identify opportunities to grow and expand the services we offer. Before moving to Business Development, I was the Contracts Manager for over 7 years for the Kent, London & Sussex team. During this time, I heard from so many clients the positive difference advocacy makes, and how advocates have helped so many to have their voice heard, and their rights recognised.  

A brief history of my career before The Advocacy People

I originally qualified as a Nursery Nurse. Since then, I have held a range of Management and Leadership roles across the Private, Public and Charity Sector. Before joining the Advocacy People, I worked for several years in a Local Authority, developing services and opportunities for children & young people, and helping young people understand their rights. I am CIPD qualified in People Management. I have also volunteered with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

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