Jonathan Rees

Chair of Board (Lay)

Jonathan is an experienced Non-Executive Director focusing on public policy, regulatory issues and promoting the consumer interest. He is currently a Director of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (resolving student complaints) and Chair of the Royal institute of British Architects Standards Committee. Previous Non-Executive Director roles include terms as a Trustee/Director of the Employers Network on Equality and Inclusion, Trustee of Citizens Advice, a Director of Ombudsman Services, Independent Director of the Personal Finance Society and Independent Chair of the National Association of Funeral Directors. Prior to this he worked in the Civil Service for 35 years with a strong focus on strategy, regulation, change management and partnership working. His last role was as Director-General of the Government Equalities Office for five years, and previous posts included three years in the No.10 Policy Unit advising successive Prime Ministers on strategy, seven years in Brussels dealing with European negotiations and spells in the Home Office, Cabinet Office, BEIS (dealing with consumer and competition policy) and the Health and Safety Executive.

Helen Astle

(Professional) Board Member

Helen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, a solicitor and a Chartered Governance Professional. She holds an MBA and Master of Laws in Corporate Governance and Law. Since 2009, Helen has fulfilled executive roles and has advised boards of regulated organisations on legal, governance and regulatory compliance matters. Helen has worked across various sectors, namely, pensions, financial services, healthcare, housing, IT and rail safety. In recent years, Helen has worked in pensions and investments and from 2020 to 2022 held the role of Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at the London Pensions Fund Authority, a large defined benefit pension fund. Helen is also currently a Member Nominated Director of the Trustee Board of TPT Retirement Solutions Ltd. Helen early on in her career practised as a dual qualified registered nurse with 11 years clinical experience before moving into financial management, corporate finance, and banking. Helen then returned to health care working as a senior manager before developing her career as an executive level director in health care, financial services and other regulated sectors.

Patricia White

(Professional) Board Member

Patricia entered the legal profession in 2000 as secretary to Coroner/Partner becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives in 2008. She has always been an ambassador for Legal Executives due to her own passion and drive to get into the legal profession and appear in Court. She set up the first CILEx members branch for York and North Yorkshire in 2010. She set up her first employment practice in 2011 and through her Pro Bono work was presented with an award by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge in 2013. Patricia was elected by the CILEx Northern Constituency to sit on CILEx Council in 2015 until 2017, during her office she was elected to Deputy Vice President. During her work on CILEx Council Patricia was involved in the CILEx Internal Governance Review; sitting on the Finance & Remuneration and Governance Standing Committees, as well as working with CILEx Regulation on the application for ABS regulation. As a CILEx Advocate, Patricia practices Civil and Employment Litigation. She conducts various litigious cases working with other Solicitor and CILEx law firms and Barristers Chambers in Courts & Tribunals across England and Wales.

Douglas Blackstock

(Lay) Board Member

Douglas is the elected President of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). He is the former Chief Executive of the UK’s independent Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Douglas held Executive roles there for 20 years and now acts as an international consultant for QAA. He also provides independent consultancy related to higher education and regulation for other clients. He is well known to many Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN) members having addressed a number of its meetings, through QAA’s MOU partnerships, QAA international accreditation and participation in international conferences. He holds non-executive director roles in education and regulation. These include as a member of the Boards of the University of Law, the British University in Egypt, Qualifications Wales, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Stroud and Cotswold Alternative Provision School and Waldorf Learning Foundation.

Alice Belcher

(Lay) Board Member

On leaving school, Alice qualified as a chartered accountant with the firm that is now KPMG. She then took a degree in Law and Economics at Keele, followed by an MPhil in Economics at Cambridge and a PhD in Accounting at Manchester. At the time of her retirement from a full-time multi-disciplinary academic career in 2022 she held a personal chair in Law at the University of Dundee. In parallel, Alice has held a series of NED roles starting in 2006 on the board of NHS Education for Scotland. She went on to sit on the boards of a Housing Association in Scotland and an apprentice-training social enterprise based in her home city of Stoke-on-Trent. Alice has written about corporate governance issues and is author of Directors’ Decisions and the Law: Promoting Success (2014). She has also researched sex discrimination issues and has written a company law judgment and accompanying reflection for Scottish Feminist Judgments (2019).