IPSE Consultative Council

IPSE Consultative Council Members 2017

Matthew Searle

Deputy Chairman, Chairman of the Consultative Council

Matt has worked in IT since 1998, first as a consultant for Oracle Corporation, and then as a contractor from 2006 onwards.

Originally graduating in Management (specialising in IT solutions for business), Matt has worked in a range of roles with Oracle technology, including DBA, integration specialist, functional / hybrid / technical consultant, workflow expert and trainer. Matt has also presented at the UK Oracle User Group annual conferences. In fact, his presentation on 15 years of bad business process automation won both the Best New UK Speaker and the Best UK Speaker awards in 2014.

Based in east Lancashire, Matt lives with his wife and two daughters, and as they approach teenage years is looking forward to finding a long-term role away from home.

Louise Allen


Louise has been freelancing since 2005, working as a business process and data analyst across a number of industries in both the public and private sectors.

A keen promoter of the freelance way of working and a member of IPSE since 2006, she joined the Consultative Council in 2017 to get more involved in the issues facing the self-employed workforce.

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Andrew Daines

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Andrew Tarbert

Andrew is an original member of IPSE. He is a Freelance Business Change Manager who works on global banking in the City and Canary Wharf.

He promotes all aspects of freelance working, and also helps support old and new freelancers and small businesses on IPSE’s forums.

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Andrew Watt

Andrew is a freelance analyst specialising in technology and business change.

Since leaving the UK in 1998 to start a contracting career in The Netherlands, Andrew has worked around the world in industries as diverse as upstream oil and gas, sports apparel production and financial services.

Now based in Glasgow, Andrew has been an active member of IPSE since 2003. He first served on IPSE’s Consultative Council between 2007 and 2009, and was then re-elected for 2009-2011 and 2012-2014. He has served on a number of working parties, committees and review panels over the years, and looks forward to many more in future.

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Barry Raphael
Barry Raphael spent years working as an Accountant in South Africa. Coming to the UK in 2000, he has subsequently run his own business as an IT Consultant, with a special interest in Virtual Infrastructure and Cloud Technologies.
His focus has been within Financial & Cloud Services, Retail and Tertiary Education.
Since joining the Consultative Council, he has taken his responsibility to his fellow IPSE Members very seriously, with particular concern to Governance and Financial controls.

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Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews is a seasoned IP professional with a strong background in software engineering. He went freelance in 1997 and now provides Agile, Lean and DevOps consultancy and digital transformation to large corporate customers and key government agencies.
He joined what was PCG when it was founded to help fight about the original IR35 legislation. He was motivated to joined the CC in 2017 after losing a major piece of work with a government client when they classified all contractors as inside of IR35, despite 12 pages of due diligence suggesting the opposite.
Chris is keen to see IPSE challenge the application of the off-payroll regulations in areas where it has been applied without considering the circumstances of the worker. This is in contravention of the Finance Act. He will oppose any further measures that prevent us from operating as the genuine businesses that we are.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pwcmatthews/

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Chris Williams

An ex-police officer, Chris has founded several online companies in the course of his career and is now also a freelance photographer.  In particular, he founded Network Freelance and is now in the process of kick-starting his next business, Skwish.

With a background in data analysis and digital marketing, Chris also heads up a team of freelancers who all support the #FeeNotFree movement. Chris sponsored IPSE’s Freelancer Awards in 2015, and later went on to be elected to the Consultative Council.

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Court Guinness

Court Guinness is a former IT contractor of many years standing. He left IT in 2014 to pursue other interests and is now a freelance business broker and business consultant specialising in the SME market place. Away from work Court is avid football supporter and has a passion for modern classic cars.

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Danielle Green

Danielle has been freelancing since 2005, working across a broad range of industries. Her varied contracting career has seen her doing everything from business analysis and IT project management to TV trailer production and film marketing in the tropics.

She is now consulting for both the public and private sectors, and joined IPSE in 2013. Ultimately, her ambition is to work in all seven continents (including Antarctica).

As well as her more sober pursuits, Danielle is the proud holder of an Inland Waterways Helmsman's certificate, and a keen supporter of all things Eurovision and Lego.

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Donal Stewart

Donal has been an IT contractor since 1999. He has worked in a range of sectors both in the UK and abroad, and is currently based in Edinburgh.

He joined IPSE in 2006, and has been an active member ever since, involving himself closely both in the forums and in regional meetings and events.

When not working as a software engineer, Donal has had a number of forays into academia. He spends the rest of his free time running, training in martial arts and frequenting well-known coffee establishments.

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Gareth Williams

Gareth Williams is a software engineer, and has been an independent contractor since 1996. He specialises in object oriented design and development in C++, with a particular interest in open‑source solutions.

He joined IPSE in May 1999 and volunteered for its first committee. He was then elected Chairman for 2000/1, and subsequently served as Deputy Chairman and Director of External Affairs. He stood down from the IPSE board in May 2003.

Gareth is married with eight children.

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Ian Wood
Based in Glasgow, Ian has been working as a freelance IT contractor for ten years and has been a member of IPSE since 2006.
Returning for his third term on the CC, Ian is keen to support IPSE and to represent the views and concerns of members.

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Islam Mohammed
Islam Mohammed is a Chartered Manager and Chartered Engineer with over 15 years’ experience in Systems Engineering and Project Management. Since 2008 he has been the Director of an Independent Consultancy that provides Project and Programme management services to clients across industry sectors and specialises in managing complex and challenging business change projects that deliver significant value to clients.
He started his career as a Graduate Systems Engineer with BAE Systems and then progressed through various industries and roles, which included Lead or Principal Systems Engineer on multinational Aerospace and Defence projects, and more recently Project Manager on organisational business change projects that delivered strategic business capabilities and financial benefits.
In his spare time, he enjoys keeping fit, photography and scuba diving. Islam has been a member of IPSE since 2008 and was elected to the Consultative Council in May 2015; he looks forward to promoting the interests of members and supporting the growth and development of IPSE.

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Kelly Gilmour-Grassam
Kelly Gilmour-Grassam began as a freelance copywriter at university, balancing the work alongside her studies and two waitressing jobs. On graduation, she continued freelancing to fund her way around South America, before going full time on her return. Today, she runs an award-winning copywriting agency in Manchester, having grown her client base to pave a future as a self-employed professional.
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/makingyoucontentcopywriting)
Twitter (https://twitter.com/KellyGGrassam)

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Marc Roberts

Since graduating in Engineering, Marc has been working in IT for the last 17 years, implementing a range of SAP Supply Chain projects. In his long and successful career, he has worked on projects across Europe, North America and Australia and for companies in the automotive, FMCG and oil and gas industries.

He took his first contract role as a project manager in 2005 and joined IPSE soon after. He was elected onto the Consultative Council in 2015.

Marc lives with his wife in South Wales.

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Toby Anscombe

With over 20 years’ experience delivering digital and IT projects, Toby has enjoyed a successful career in both the public and private sectors. He has worked in a wide range of technology, consulting and strategy roles, and gained experience of numerous delivery methodologies including digital and agile.

In the course of his career, Toby has led the design and development of enterprise business solutions across many sectors such as finance, intelligence, law-enforcement and defence. It’s allowed him to develop the skills and relationships to stand him in good stead for his tenure as Secretary of the CC.

Keen to promote the benefits of becoming an independent professional or freelancer, Toby has successfully convinced many others to take the leap into self-employment and hopes to represent the many and varied views of IPSE’s members as best he can.

Outside work, Toby is a qualified oenophile and has organised many successful wine tasting (and drinking!) events in and around London.

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Mark Ramsdale

Mark is a public affairs and government relations practitioner with over seventeen years' experience in Whitehall and Westminster, including positions in Parliament, the Royal Societies, and government bodies. He has held roles at the heart of the public affairs industry as well as in advocacy communications for the sports and technology sectors.

He is now the Managing Director of a group including MR Sport, MR Tech, MR Strategy and the Cambridge Policy Network, through which he delivers a range of stakeholder engagement services.

Mark has degrees in mechanical engineering and technology policy from Imperial College and Cambridge University, as well as a diploma in public relations. He is a Freeman of the Public Relations Guild and Vice-Chairman of Cambridge Business School's alumni Council, where he also chairs the nominations committee.

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Michael Baycroft

Michael is a freelance consultant specialising in change management, business analysis and project management. He has experience in global banking, financial services, retail FMCGs and technology start-ups.  

Originally a software developer, Michael went freelance in 1997 and hasn’t looked back since. As well as a holding degree from Portsmouth and an MBA from Warwick Business School, Michael is also a Chartered IT Professional (CITP).

Having experienced many different ‘schemes’ and worked directly with both clients and agencies, Michael understands most of the challenges freelancers face, and hopes he can use his knowledge to help others.  

Michael joined IPSE around its inception and was elected onto the Consultative Council in May 2015.

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Michael White

Michael is a Chartered Electrical Engineer who has led the design of numerous major projects across the retail, commercial and pharmaceutical sectors.

Since becoming a freelancer 15 years ago, he has come to specialise in designing data centres and has built up a wealth of expertise in the area. He is now working on ways to both improve the energy efficiency and reduce the capital cost of future data centres.

Michael joined IPSE in 2000 and was elected onto the Consultative Council in May 2014.

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Paul Allington

Paul "The Code Guy" is an award winning Freelancer and software engineer, specialising in problem solving through technology.  A passion for freelancing, tea and a collaborative approach to business led to Paul founding Skwish, currently his main focus and bringing freelancers together.  

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Phil Ross

Philip was one of IPSE’s founding members in 1999, and served as External Affairs Director on its first board. He worked to both lobby the government and help deal with the media. He also personally met with government ministers including Dawn Primarolo and helped IPSE successfully change the original IR35 proposals.

Later, on IPSE's behalf, he joined the Home Office’s skills panel and helped to persuade them to effectively close down their damaging fast-track visa scheme. He has documented much of this in his book - 'Freedom to Freelance - beginning the fight against IR35'.

In 2016, after a break of some 10 years, he returned to IPSE and was re-elected onto the Consultative Council.

Outside IPSE, he is a well known activist and campaigner on self-employment. He has written many articles for sites as diverse as ContractorUK, Shout99, LabourList, Progress and Compass. He is also a member of the CRSE think tank and has contributed to work done by the Social Market Foundation.  

As a result of his campaigning and policy work, he has strong national and international links with co-ops, networks of the self-employed and unions, such as the Freelancers' Union in the USA.

Working for his own limited company, the Great Digital Company, Philip sells his services as a freelance agile business analyst in financial services and the media. In particular, he specialises in digital transformation projects.

Philip is married with three children and lives in Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire.

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Rajiv Dhir

Rajiv has been in IT for around 30 years. In that time, he’s worked on most different areas of the industry, from investment banking to technology and the legal sector. More recently, he’s been doing a mix of consulting and training, staying about as far away from support and responsibility as he can.

Rajiv consults on most aspects of the IT industry, but is particularly focused on helping small to medium-sized companies make the most of their people, systems and investment. Generally, he works with business owners, boards and their heads of IT to create more harmonious and effective relationships.

He previously served a term on the the CC from 2011 to 2013,but didn’t learn his lesson so is back for more.

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Rebecca Shipman

Rebecca has been working as a self-employed exhibition designer since 2010. Having started out as a freelancer herself, she now runs the busy design studio Ships & Pigs Ltd, employing her own freelancers either remotely or in-house.

She is also director of a community interest company, which uses design both to inspire young people and give them valuable life skills.  Some of her older students have even gone on to freelance in Rebecca’s studio.

Rebecca has been an IPSE member since 2014. She is passionate about encouraging and helping young people and giving them a chance in a very competitive and demanding industry.

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Richard Foster
I have been working in Software Development for 16 years and freelancing for half that time. I have worked in Energy, Media and Financial industries in a consulting and hands-on capacity. Currently I work for a major British bank in London on a greenfield project to revolutionise their online offering.
I joined IPSE in 2010 and would like to help IPSE promote, protect and empower freelancers in the UK. I will strive to increase the visibility of IPSE on social media and increase its membership.
I am a high-achiever with a keen sense of fairness and justice and hopes to serve IPSE’s 21000 strong membership as well as the 1.6 million strong freelance community in the UK. I would like to ensure that we keep our members at the heart of our strategic plans and decision-making.

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Simon McCartney

Simon is an experienced service design and transition freelance consultant with over 15 years’ experience working with clients both on-site and remotely, across borders and even time zones.  

Simon started out in the public sector, working in a range of technology and strategy roles with West Yorkshire Police – including technical lead for two crucial Blackberry mobile pilot programmes.  

Since then he has worked with high profile clients on a wide range of projects, including Critical National Infrastructure. He has also led the design and development of enterprise service management solutions across many sectors: from telecommunications and utilities to defence and central government departments.

Simon joined the Consultative Council in 2016 and since then has been particularly focused on expanding IPSE beyond London and the South East. He has also been closely involved with many of IPSE’s campaigns, including National Freelancers Day and #UnfairIR35.

He is also a qualified scuba diver and a keen photographer, and is kept busy most of the time by his large family and countless pets.

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Steve Strain

Steve has enjoyed a long and successful career in organisational design, change project management and consultancy – primarily for IT organisations. And, after working on a range of IT transformation programmes for the Civil Service over the last six years, his company SLS Transition has built up considerable expertise in public sector change solutions.

In fact, it was through his work with the Ministry of Justice in 2012 that Steve came across IPSE. Having helped the Ministry implement its review of contractor taxes in the public sector, he worked closely with IPSE to guide contractors through the review process. He has also worked with the Home Office and Crown Commercial Services to help redesign the contractual elements of the CL-One Framework across government.

Elected to the Consultative Council in 2014, Steve is passionate about freelancing and has been working hard to help IPSE develop from an IR35-focused group to an organisation that is seen as the voice of freelancing across the UK.

Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas is a talented and adaptable business professional with experience delivering Business Transformation implementations in Europe, China, Mexico, US, Middle East and Canada. Her knowledge and skills span the full Business Strategy and Design functions including determining strategic principles and delivering transformational programmes to achieve the required strategic outcome. With extensive Change Management experience on large transformation programmes, Sue has the full range of skills in Project, Programme and Portfolio Management including creating project plans, budget management, project portfolio management and project / programme governance. She is a strategic thinker with the ability to challenge the status quo to improve existing service delivery.

Sue has delivered large-scale programmes in public and private sectors including:

  • Reduced costs by 20% and improved productivity by 30% for private sector company by introducing standard operating procedures for solution development and delivery, quality assurance, document production, and business support
  • Business Transformation of local authorities enabling a path to closing the funding gap; initiating an enterprise portfolio approach to manage future change; preparing executives to become leaders of change
  • Rollout of 11 Contact Centres in virtual network, rationalising over 300 front office telephone based operations for a public sector organisation
  • Designed Business Architecture and strategy for 3yr plan to save 35% of operational cost for public sector organisation in front and back office

Delivered $20M+ in savings for national network of contact centres, directing team in developing channel strategy and optimising existing installation following market trends and best practices in channel solutions

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Tim Bradburn
Tim Bradburn has been his own boss since 2002. He worked for five years as a freelance video director before founding a strategy and marketing consultancy, helping mid-sized businesses across Europe to grow their profiles and revenues.
Tim has been an IPSE member since 2007 and was elected to the CC in 2017. He has worked on many projects with IPSE, including the design and launch of National Freelancers Day to showcase how freelancers are shaping the future of work.
He is particularly interested in exploring how IPSE can combine technology, knowledge and innovation to help members build thriving businesses.

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Tracey Davies

Tracey has been in IT for 24 years and a freelancer for 15 of those. Based in Glasgow, Tracey is newly elected to the CC and is keen to support the organisation moving forward.

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Vishal Gupta

Vishal has been working as a freelancer since graduating university as a qualified Software Engineer. Now he specialises in IT and business change across the public and private sectors. 

After eight years working for a charity, Vishal returned to his freelancing roots and joined PCG, now IPSE, to support and champion everyone from the newest self-employed starter to the most experienced freelancer.

He was elected onto the CC in 2016 and onto the Nominations Committee in early 2017.

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