Trustees

Beverley Burke, Chair

Beverley is a Senior Lecturer in social work at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. She has practiced as a social worker with children and families and has published widely in the areas of anti-oppressive practice, values and ethics. Beverley is co-editor of the practice section of the international peer-reviewed academic journal ‘Ethics and Social Welfare‘.


Stephen Bunford, Vice Chair

Having qualified in 1986 Stephen has worked for 30 years in a local authority as a social work practioner and in a variety of management positions in adult services. He was instrumental in establishing a HIV/AIDS service and an adult safeguarding team as well as working closely with a number of government, academic and voluntary organisations. Throughout his career Stephen has promoted anti-discriminatory practice and a person-centred approach to social work. Stephen is currently an independent social worker specialising in adult safeguarding.


David Pitcher, Applications Secretary

Dave has been a trustee of SWET since 2011, having earlier received both a grant and a scholarship for his doctoral research on the relationship between adopted children and their grandparents. Dave’s field of practice is children and families, and he is currently working as a Family Court Adviser/ Children’s Guardian for Cafcass. He continues to do practice based research, and has just completed a study of the experience of Muslim young people in the care system.

Dave says: “Being part of SWET helps me to feel part of the wider social work profession. Just reading the applications is a masterclass in how many different situations social workers are involved in”.

Dave is the Applications Secretary, which means he is the one who sends out the cheques for the grants and scholarships.


Catherine Poulter, Honorary Treasurer


Jon Bolton, Trustee

Jon is a consultant and trainer. He was previously a senior social work manager, a Workforce Development Adviser for the SSSC (the social service regulator and workforce development agency in Scotland), and a lecturer at the University of Dundee.


Ian Ford, Trustee


Arlene Garland, Trustee

Arlene started working in Social Services in 1981 on qualifying from Queens University Belfast with an honours degree in Psychology.

Committed to ongoing learning and development, she obtained her social work qualification in 1994, subsequently achieving Post Qualifying, Practice Teaching and Advanced awards in Social Work. She was awarded a Master’s in Public Administration in 2005.

Arlene’s career path started in social care, expanding into Social Work and Care Management with Older people. Leading community services and managing multi-disciplinary teams for Older People until 2007, she worked on a number of regional inspections with RQIA. Within the newly created South Eastern Trust Arlene took responsibility to lead corporate risk and governance, then accepted the role of social work lead and head of service for Children with a Disability in 2008.

In 2014 as acting Assistant Director for Social Work and Social Care Governance across the South Eastern Trust, Arlene led in ensuring safe delivery of delegated Statutory functions. This passion in relation to professional development, innovation and quality improvement led to her secondment to the Department of Health to drive the regional implementation of the NI Social work strategy in February 2015.

Arlene joined the NIASW committee in 2016 and was elected to BASW Council in 2017. She joined the Social Workers Educational Trust in 2018.

Passionate about building networks across the health and social services family to best promote and deliver high quality and innovation within social work she proactively seeks opportunities across these networks to ensure that Social Work is recognized as an equal partner within the health and social care family.