Representative body

The Representative Body represents Learning Disability England members and acts on their behalf, making important decisions about Learning Disability England says and does.

The Representative Body is an even split of 4 self-advocate Reps, 4 families and friends Reps, and 4 organisational Reps.


There are 3 Co-Chairs, one for each membership ‘voice’.

The members of the Representative Body make sure that Learning Disability England stays true to its values and is always working towards its goals.

Any member can put themselves forward to be on the Representative Body, and all members can vote.

The Representative Body is made up of these 12 elected representatives:

Jordan Smith

Self Advocate Rep and Co Chair


Jordan Smith is a man with Cerebral Palsy who since being supported by Dimensions feels like his life has been transformed by the opportunities available to him – which he has embraced with enthusiasm. He now works for Dimensions and is lead spokesperson for #MyGPandMe.


An advocate for others through his passion in local and national politics and a spokesperson against the barriers to voting because of his own past experiences and expertise.

Lynn Jackson

Self Advocate Rep

Lynn Jackson is a self-advocate from the North West.


She is one of the Directors for self-advocacy group Together All Are Able, she enjoys the work they do in day centres to help people get their voices heard.


Lynn also works with the North West Training and Development Team and is part of their Sing and Sign group.


Lynn is passionate about challenging hate crime and helping people be less isolated and lonely.

Jack Marshall

Self Advocate Rep

Jack Marshall has Moebius Syndrome which impacts his life with a number of physical and learning disabilities.


From an early age Jack has spoken up for himself & others with regards to disability. He has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity and challenges himself to seemingly impossible tasks.


Having attended special schools and been written off as non academic due to his learning disabilities, Jack fought for the right to go to mainstream college. He worked his way from a Foundation programme with some great support, and now Jack is at Stafford University studying Law.


Jack was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s Honours List 2019 for his campaigning and fundraising.

Mary Woodhall 

Self Advocate Rep

Mary Woodall is a self advocate from south London. Mary is a campaigner with the group Campaign 4 Change, and also works part time as a receptionist for Premier Inn.


Mary enjoys campaigning on different topics that matter to people with learning disabilities, such as the recent Campaign 4 Change lockdown campaign. Mary says teamwork is very important to her. She stood for election because she is passionate about making a difference, speaking up at a local and national level and listening to other people’s views.


Mary also enjoys knitting, arts and crafts and spending time with family.

Wendy Burt

Family and Friends Rep and Co Chair

Wendy Burt has 2 adult sons who both have a learning disability, her youngest son also has autism.


Wendy graduated from Partners in Policymaking, a leadership course for families and disabled people in 2005.


This was a turning point in her life and since then she has tirelessly in a number of ways worked with disabled people and their families to find solutions for the challenges that life throws at them.


Wendy, through her work and her voluntary commitments, works hard to  ensure that everyone has an equal voice around the table.


Wendy loves the term nothing about us without us and strives to make this a reality in all she does.

Sheila Moorcroft

Family and Friends Rep

Sheila Moorcroft is the parent of two young people, one a young man with autism and learning difficulties, who lives in a supported living service.


Sheila has been active in her local community campaigning on behalf of and supporting people with autism, learning disabilities and their families ever since her son’s diagnosis.


Sheila’s career was spent in strategic research helping organisations think about the implications of long term changes in the world around them, and what they could do in response to those changes.


Her research also included looking at the post-16 education services provision needed for people with SEND in different regions of the country.


Sheila also often assessed the effectiveness of projects supporting people with disabilities as well as older people.


She has done a great deal of public speaking, including frequent appearances on the radio and TV.

Ivan Olbrechts

Family and Friends Rep

Ivan Olbrecht’s family name comes from a Flemish refugee, originally evacuated to Kent as a wounded Belgian soldier in WW1.


Ivan spent his early years growing up in a post-WW2 prefab in Kent, in the 70’s, raised on free school meals and taught in the “remedial group” in primary school.


His upbringing was punctuated by his late mother’s frequent bouts of mental illness and visits to a long-stay psychiatric hospital.


Ivan is a family carer for a relative with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (PMS).


Ivan has worked as a postman, a soldier, a manager of children’s services, and now works for a national health and social care charity that provides services to people with Learning Disabilities, Mental Health and complex needs.


Ivan also attends the All Party Parliamentary Group on Complex Needs and Dual Diagnosis and has academic research interests in a number of areas, especially health inequalities.



James O’Rourke

Family and Friends Rep

James O’Rourke is older brother to Tony who was diagnosed at the age of 5 years with learning disabilities (although they didn’t call it that back then in the 1960’s!).


As you would imagine James’ life has been influenced by his brother’s learning disability.


Since leaving school James has had a wide-ranging career from residential/community social work to sales and marketing; politician to advisory roles for NHSE.


James’ passion is to ensure those with learning disabilities like his brother who have difficulties communicating are heard.

Scott Watkin

Paid Supporter Rep and Co Chair

Scott Watkin was the Co-Chair of the Learning Disability Partnership Board on the Isle of Wight and he chaired the Partnership Board for six years.


Scott took on a national role within the Department of Health in May 2009 as the Co-National Director for Learning Disabilities until June 2011.


Scott has worked for Mencap as a National Learning Disability Consultant. He joined SeeAbility eye2eye Ambassador and is now their  Head of Engagement, leading a programme of work around the people they support having a bigger voice.


Scott is also Co-Chair of the Transforming Care Assurance Board to help reduce the number of people with learning disabilities staying in hospital and to go back in the community; and is a visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire working with the learning disability nurses.


Scott won the ‘Making a Difference’ award at the National Learning Disabilities Awards in July 2017. Scott was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) on the New Year’s Honours List 30th December 2017.

David Abbey

Paid Supporter Rep

David Abbey has worked in the financial services sector since 1984 and is a fully qualified Financial Adviser.


Back in 1997, he was invited to join a ‘steering group’ to develop a process to enable people with a disability (who also rely on benefits for their income) to buy a home of their own. The result was a unique Government approved shared ownership model, known as HOLD (Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities).


David then established MySafeHome Limited to provide everyone involved in helping people with disabilities realise their dream of home ownership with the support they need and to date almost 1,300 individuals have used HOLD to buy their own home.


Passionate about the personalisation agenda David is the UK’s subject matter expert in homeownership for people with disabilities.

Rob Greig

Paid Supporter Rep

Rob Greig’s career has had a continuing focus on supporting people with disabilities to live full and equal lives in their communities.


Having worked in and managed both mental health and learning disability services in South London, he was appointed by the Government as the ‘expert external advisor’ on the development of the 2001 White Paper “Valuing People’.


From 2001 to 2008, he then led the delivery of that White Paper, and the original Valuing People Support Team, as England’s first National Director for Learning Disabilities. During this time he also contributed to various other Government initiatives, including as Vice Chair of the Independent Living Reference Group that support the development of the ‘Life Chance of Disabled People’ policy.


From 2008-2018, he was Chief Executive at the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) leading that organisations work on a range of ground breaking initiatives including research into employment supports for people with learning disabilities, the development of best practice materials around commissioning supports for people who challenge and the Preparing for Adulthood initiative as part of the SEND reforms.


From 2015 – 2017 he was a member of the Disability Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


Rob has now retired from paid employment but maintains an active interest in rights and equality. Rob was awarded a CBE for his work with people with learning disabilities and their families in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list.

Tim Keilty

Paid Supporter Rep

Tim Keilty has worked with people with a learning disability for 30 years, as a support worker in a village community, as a supporter to a People First group, an advocate, as a Person Centred Planning Co-ordinator and now as a Special Projects Manager. As the years go by the job titles get more cumbersome but the focus of work remains the same!


Tim has also worked on building sites, as a pub manager and as a cleaner – jobs which are as valuable to his experience as jobs in social care.


Tim works for New Prospects Association in North Tyneside, because he wanted to find out whether it was harder to actually make things happen than tell people how to do it. It is.


Tim is a qualified social worker, but puts more store in the fact that he was once described by Jack Pearpoint (admittedly in an off the cuff comment) as ‘a remarkably gifted leader’.


Tim writes a blog, has written a book with a colleague, is a Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform and always likes to share ideas and work together.