Appointment of 10 members of the Youth Justice Board

The Secretary of State has announced the appointment of 10 members to the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales

Ben Byrne, Gillian Fairfield, Keith Fraser, Sharon Gray, Neal Hazel, Mairead Healy, Neil Rhodes, Bryan Tytherleigh and Alan Wood have been appointed as members, and Keith Towler who has been appointed as member with experience of the youth justice system in Wales, of the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to England and Wales. The appointments are from 1 January 2018 for tenures of 3 and 4 years.

Appointments to the YJB are made under the Act by the Secretary of State for Justice and are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments (CPA).

Charlie Taylor, Chair of the Youth Justice Board said:

"I am delighted at the appointment of such a talented group of people to the YJB’s board, who bring with them a wealth of experience of working with children across a range of organisations.

"I would like to thank the outgoing board members for their hard work and dedication. I look forward to working closely with my new colleagues on reform which has a positive and meaningful impact on children in the youth justice system."


Brian Tytherleigh

Brian was appointed as a YJB member in September for a period of four months. Brian has been a member of the Audit Risk Committee at the Children’s Commissioner for England since 2016. Between 2006-16, he has held positions as Director of Operations at the National College of Teaching and Leadership and as Director of Business Development & Performance at the Children’s Workforce Development Council.

Professor Neal Hazel

Professor Hazel is Chair of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Salford, following posts as Director of the Salford Institute for Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Social Research at the University. Neal is also former HM Deputy Chief Inspector of Probation for England and Wales.

Ben Byrne

Since 2016 Ben has been the Head of Early Help and Family Services at Surrey County Council, previously having been Head of Youth Justice and Youth Support in Surrey. He is a qualified social worker who has been a youth justice practitioner. Ben is recognised nationally for pioneering work in the youth justice sector and is a trustee of the National Association for Youth Justice.

Sharon Gray

Sharon is an Education Consultant at Wholehearted Learning, an active member of the SEND London Leadership Strategy and ‘engage in their future’ representing special schools (young people experiencing severe SEMH - social, emotional and mental health difficulties) across the country. She has been a member of the MOJ Medway Improvement Board, a Head Teacher of special (SEMH) and mainstream schools, primary and secondary for 18 years.

Dr Gillian Fairfield

Gillian has retired from the NHS after 36 years and was first appointed as a YJB Board Member in 2012. She has held posts as a medical practitioner, Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Health and Medical Director and Operational Director of a mental health Trust. She has also held the posts of CEO of two mental health and two acute NHS Trusts.

Keith Fraser

Keith is a retired Police Officer, who spent 14 years at Senior level, starting with the Metropolitan Police Service and from 2005 he was based in the West Midlands. He produced the 2016 to 2019 Preventing Gang Involvement and Youth Violence strategy and business plan for the City of Wolverhampton, and is the Chair of Wolverhampton City’s Statutory Youth Offending Management Board. He led an innovative preventative project, targeting over 7000 young people, working with Sport England and he was the strategic Police lead for the Princes Trust across the West Midlands. He is currently a trustee and patron of three children focused charities.

Keith Towler

Keith was the Children’s Commissioner for Wales from 2008-15, and, since then, acts as an independent consultant for children and young people’s rights. Keith is Vice Chair of the National Independent Safeguarding Board for Wales and Chairs CWVYS, the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services. He was a member of the International Play Association Working Group which assisted the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Family Justice Review.

Neil Rhodes

Neil is former Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police and is currently a YJB Board member as well as the Finance and Performance Committee Chair for the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital Trust.

Mairead Healy

Mairead is the Chief Executive of the Isle of Wight Youth Trust and previously was the Chief Executive of a leading Irish youth charity. She is an appointee of the Expert Reference Group on Children’s mental health tasked with developing a national framework on suicide and self-harming.

Alan Wood

Alan was appointed as a YJB member in April last year for a period of 8 months, and received a Knighthood in the 2018 honours for his work as Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Hackney Council. Alan was the Chief Executive of The Learning Trust and President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services. In 2013 he was appointed as Commissioner for Children Social Care in Doncaster.