Meet your judges

Our 2024 Judging panel have been chosen on the basis of their knowledge and skill-set and will be allocated categories according to their specific expertise and judged using a scoring matrix based on the criteria for each category. Any conflicts of interests will be asked to be declared.

John Shields MBE, CEO

John leads a dedicated team of 200 members of staff, who deliver football coaching, educational programmes and personal development, providing young people with opportunities to change their lives for the better. Over the last 15 years, John has led the growth of Manchester United Foundation to become one of the largest sports education charities in the UK and a leading organisation for youth impact across the North West. Each season, the Foundation directly engages upwards of 25,000 young people across the boroughs of Greater Manchester.

John is also recognised for public speaking having conducted countless leadership workshops with Manchester United icons Sir Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson.

Dave Thornton

Managing Director, Thornton & Lowe – Public Sector Supply Chain Specialists 

With a background in procurement, managing and evaluating housing bids, Dave started working with public sector suppliers in 2009, which led to the formation of Thornton & Lowe. Over the years both the team and services offered by Thornton & Lowe have grown significantly, but the focus is still driving innovation, quality and social value across the supply chain. Dave has a particular interest in data analysis and performance management. 


Peter Kane

Head of Estates and Facilities Management – Belfast Metropolitan College

Peter possesses over 23 years’ experience in Project and Assets Management across both the social housing and education sectors. His responsibilities include delivery of the college asset management strategy, plus contract management of the college’s PFI/PPP contracts and overall estate operations, including health and safety/sustainability. Peter is the Board sponsor for health, safety and wellbeing and Sustainability.

Lydia Sparrow

Leadership and Development Coach and non-profit Consultant

Lydia has spent 18 years in the international development and humanitarian sector,  leading operational teams, projects and funding both in the UK and across the world.  Through this work she has developed a passion in working for social purpose, and using her experience to help both organisations and individuals explore their challenges. 

Julie‑Ann Garton

Managing Director, NWUPC

Julie-Ann’s procurement career spans more than 30 years, she has had key roles in the police service, a university, as well as both FE and HE purchasing consortia. She progressed into corporate governance and compliance roles, utilising the broad range of skills acquired from her procurement leadership experience. She is now the Managing Director of the North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium, she is also the chair of UKUPC and sits on the HEPA Board. She is committed to delivering a first class, value for money service to her key stakeholder groups. She excels in leadership, corporate governance, change management, strategy development, risk management,  and of course procurement!

Matt McDermott

Founder & Chair of Advisory Board MATA

Matt is the Founder and Chair of Advisory Board of ‘The Multi Academy Trust Association’ (MATA), founded in 2021, now a community of over 600 MATs. Having worked with Trusts and Organisations for close to 6 years he has seen the movement, influence and importance of good practice within the Education Space. Matt works with leading organisations daily, so understands the impact on the wider outcomes in Schools

Nathan Liptrot

Director | Clarity Procurement Solutions

Director and Owner of Clarity Procurement Solutions. A MCIPS qualified procurement consultant with over 20 years’ experience delivering procurement transformation, best practice procurement capability, process improvements and cost reduction programmes to public, private and third sector organisations.

www.clarity procurement.co.uk

Sarah Clemson

Director at Latitude Marketing and Longitude Art Gallery

Creative, entrepreneurial spirit, networker, focused on delivering marketing excellence and client ROI. Guiding small businesses through SHERPA.

Louisa Clarke

Director One Feather Coaching

Louisa Clarke’s career seamlessly transitions from a commendable decade in the Royal Air Force, recognised by a 2004 commendation, to a pivotal role in Facilities Management (FM). As a former executive at a leading UK FM provider, she earned accolades such as the Ex-Forces Business Leader of the Year 2022 and a spot among the Top 50 Workplace Leaders. Today, Louisa applies her extensive skills in executive coaching, and leadership training. Her ongoing commitment extends to serving on the Government’s Veterans Advisory Board and various volunteer roles, illustrating her dedication to impactful leadership and advocacy.

Ian Gregg

Riverside Group,Executive Director, Asset Services

Ian joined the Riverside Group in May 2014. He is responsible for all of the Group’s homes and buildings, ensuring that they are all safe and well maintained. Ian is also responsible for the Group’s wholly owned subsidiary contractor, Evolve.

He is the nominated Health and Safety Lead for the Group. He leads the Group Procurement Function which manages the Grouus supply chain of over 2,000 partners and delivers savings over £5m annually.

After initially beginning his career as a student surveyor with Manchester City Council, Ian has subsequently worked for Midland Heart, Parkway Green, Regenda Group, Guinness Northern Counties and Harvest Housing Group.

Claire Ebrey

On The Level Consultancy

Claire runs On The Level Consultancy, which develops and empowers effective leaders, and helps business to embrace diversity and inclusion.

Formerly Institute of Directors and Co-op Group, for 20 years Claire has been helping a diverse range of organisations elevate their people and purpose – from multi-billion turnover businesses to change-making social enterprises and charities.

In her spare time, she co-founded and runs Pride in Leadership, the UK-wide network for LGBT Directors and Leaders, she is a trustee of Forever Manchester, the community foundation for Greater Manchester, and she volunteers for Stockport Race Equality Partnership (SREP), which gives a voice to some of the most disenfranchised people in the borough.

Robert​​​​ Nieri

Legal Director, Shoosmiths LLP Solicitors

Robert is a specialist charities and social enterprise lawyer who advises charities of all sizes nationally, as well as purposeful businesses on their interaction with the VCSE sector, whether that is to set up their own charitable foundations or to work with charities to enhance their service offering or to advance their ESG and CSR aspirations.

Mike Haslin

Chief Executive of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) 

Mike is the Chief Executive of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) who are catering procurement and professional development experts.  TUCO has a buying power in excess of £150 million annually, and have regularly achieved savings of over £10 million per year.

Mike describes his main goals at TUCO as developing and implementing the company’s strategic plan to offer a high standard of professional services to TUCO members and contract participants.   Mike is accountable for the overall performance of the Company and for the day-to-day running and management of the Company’s business.  During the time he has been in post he has overseen the rapid expansion of the company in terms of spend, savings, turnover, membership numbers, contract take-up and learning and development opportunities.  

Mike gained his MCIPS in 1995 and completed his MBA in Strategy and Procurement Management from the University of Birmingham in 2011, culminating in being awarded a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (FCIPS) in 2013 –  an honour awarded by his peers.  More recently he achieved Chartered Director status from the Institute of Directors and was subsequently made a Fellow.


Aimee Williams

Director of School Improvement Three Spires Trust

With more than 12 years’ experience in education, Aimee has developed a robust knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning, supporting a number of schools both within the Trust and across the county to transform their educational experiences. She holds SLE status for both English and Teaching and Learning and over the years, has supported many schools in different contexts.

As teaching and learning lead for 6 years, Aimee vehemently believes schools are the engine of social mobility; providing transformational educational opportunities which will prepare students for future endeavours. In previous roles, Aimee has served as Vice Principal at a secondary school; strategically leading on teaching and learning, professional growth and head of sixth form as well as holding the Executive Lead post for a primary school.

Alongside her role with the trust, Aimee also works as a Delivery Partner for The Church of England Foundation for Education Leadership supporting with the development and delivery of the NPQ qualifications. Utilizing this collaboration, she has fostered the expansion and enhancement of The Institute of Education within her organization, Three Spires Trust. This initiative has led to the establishment of a comprehensive professional development program aimed at nurturing the advancement and progress of staff members across various levels.

Aimee, serving as a trustee for both CPC and a multi-academy trust in Cheshire, demonstrates a fervent commitment to ensuring high-quality educational experiences for young individuals. She actively engages in initiatives aimed at entirely re-envisioning educational provisions for present and future students.

Lisa Davenport

CEO of Moss side Millennium Powerhouse.

Lisa Davenport is the CEO of Moss side Millennium Powerhouse. A youth charity based in Moss side, Manchester. 

She has 23 years of experience working in the VCSE. Lisa is energetic, passionate and strives to make a difference in communities. Her spare time is spent raising 5 children, volunteering as a school governor and supporting campaigns close to her heart. Lisa enjoys life to the max and still finds time to sing in a choir, ride a motorbike and visit new places. 

Last year Lisa met Prince William when he visited the Powerhouse and was blown away by his involvement with the young people. She is driven, ambitious and loves people. 

Linbert Spencer 

Director | Linbert Spencer Consultancy

Linbert specialises in inclusion, diversity, and equality. These imperatives have permeated his work for more than 50 years. An inspirational keynote speaker, he has also designed leadership development programmes for a number of organisations and facilitated learning and development seminars and workshops in more than 20 countries as well as all across the UK. 

A former CEO of a charity, actor, international athlete, and television presenter, he has appeared in many TV and radio documentaries, including BBC Television’s Question Time. He has also authored of a number of books.


Dave Liggins

Essential Sourcing Consultancy

Dave Liggins is a dedicated procurement professional with a fervent passion for revolutionising the field. With a keen eye for efficiency and a drive to streamline procurement processes, Dave is committed to making procurement simple and effective for businesses of all sizes.

As the founder of Essential Sourcing, a successful consultancy, Dave leverages extensive industry experience to provide bespoke solutions that enhance procurement strategies and drive value for clients. Recognising the importance of continuous learning and development, Dave also offers comprehensive training programs designed to equip procurement teams with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in today’s dynamic market.

A true innovator at heart, Dave is the mastermind behind the Pro Club, an exclusive buyers network group that fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing among procurement professionals. The Pro Club serves as a vibrant community where members can exchange ideas, access cutting-edge insights, and stay ahead of industry trends.

Through these initiatives, Dave is dedicated to transforming procurement into a seamless, impactful function that contributes significantly to organisational success. With a relentless focus on innovation and a commitment to excellence, Dave Liggins is leading the charge towards a brighter future for procurement.