Meet the Acas London team
Meet the Advisory and Training team
Our senior advisers/conciliators and trainers have extensive experience and expertise in improving workplace relations and helping support organisations to implement change. They can work closely with you and your employee representatives, (where appropriate), to diagnose and find optimum solutions to your workplace issues.
Each adviser covers specific areas of London and we have three trainers who cover all of London. Find out more about our staff and who covers your area.
To get in touch with one of us call 0300 123 1150 or complete an enquiry form.
Peter Lockyer, Assistant Area Director
Peter Lockyer joined Acas in 2007 as Assistant Director at Acas London and leads a team of highly experienced Senior Advisers who resolve industrial disputes and deliver training on employment relations issues. His area of expertise is the design and delivery of learning and development programmes, change management and addressing barriers to growth in organisations.
Peter spends a significant amount of time visiting large organisations in London to learn first hand the people issues they are facing and to discuss ways in which Acas can help. He also has involvement in the production in many of Acas London's training courses. He wrote and launched Acas' popular 'Top Tips for Managers', a course which covers dealing with the basic problems managers' face that can lead to employment tribunal cases. More recently he wrote a course on 'Toxic Workplaces - how to tackle them' and is currently working on a leadership skills course.
Earlier in Peter's career he worked as a teacher, as an ordained minister in the Church of England, in the prison service and in an overseas development charity. Over the years Peter has managed large teams of both paid and voluntary workers. He holds an FCIPD qualification in HR and says of his role at Acas: "Work can be an enjoyable and a positive expression of who we are and what we want to contribute to society. I want to help to make that a reality for as many people as I can, to make a real difference to individuals and the places where they work."
James Crass, Area Director
As one of two Directors for Acas London, James takes responsibility for the delivery standards and development of the 80 staff working on our helpline, in our individual conciliation services and our admin team. In addition to this, James is also in charge of engaging with large national employers to help diagnose workplace issues and organise the delivery of the Acas services which could help resolve them.
James has been with Acas for 14 years working in training, conciliation and mediation, delivering to public, private, intermediary, voluntary sector and SMEs. Whilst at Acas James has also been both an elected lay representative and was voted in as National Branch Secretary for four years.
Prior to life at Acas, James worked at the sharp edge of industrial relations. He started out at the JobCentre working on job placing, and then went on to Manpower Service Commission focusing on the delivery of youth and adult training schemes, and later in business intelligence and planning. From there James moved to DE HQ at Whitehall where he managed a 30 place Youth Training Scheme as well as internal industrial relations including responsibility for pay negotiations, terms and conditions, non-pay cost reviews, and outsourcing.
James honed these skills at the Employment Service working as Personnel Manager responsible for 1,000 staff and their HR support needs including pay roll and staff records input, and then at the now Department for Education & Employment in the Internal Industrial Relations team on the management side.
Sarah Podro - Senior Adviser and Conciliator
Sarah brings to the team a strong background in policy and research having worked formerly as a Senior Policy Adviser in the Acas strategy unit. She is the author and editor of many of Acas' authoritative Policy discussion papers including The Future of Workplace Relations - a series looking at the impact of different future trends on employment relations.
As author of the joint Acas CIPD Mediation: An approach to resolving workplace issues [1Mb] brochure and Joint Acas TUC publication Mediation: A guide for trade union representatives [1Mb], Sarah's main area of expertise is mediation and collective conciliation. She has worked with a large number of organisations but in particular has significant experience in dealing with the transport sector.
Sarah also contributes to Acas London's extensive training schedule, delivering Acas' prestigious Certificate In Workplace Mediation (CIWM), as well as courses ranging from stress in the workplace to redundancy and restructuring.
Sarah came to Acas from Industrial Relations Services (IRS), where she worked as a journalist/researcher. Prior to this Sarah was a freelance researcher specialising in gender and employment issues and produced reports for organisations such as the ILO, the European Commission, Department of Employment and the Institute of Employment Studies.
Sarah is the designated Adviser for organisations in Camden, City EC1-4, Lewisham, Bexley and Croydon.
Dave Cook, Senior Adviser & Conciliator
Dave has been with Acas for over 20 years and spent the last ten in his current role as a Senior Adviser and collective Conciliator. Dave is a skilled negotiator and enjoys the challenge of helping parties to overcome workplace problems and reach an agreed resolution.
Dave's areas of expertise have evolved alongside changes in employment practice trends. Whilst Dave regularly deals with conflict around pay and terms and conditions of employment both unionised and non-unionised organisations, conflict between individuals within a team, are increasingly becoming a feature of Dave's work. Dave explains:
"If a team can function as a cohesive unit, this clearly benefits the productivity of the business; my role in mediating between parties helps to ensure that, which gives me great job satisfaction."
Dave also designs and delivers customised training and facilitation interventions on a range of employment related matters and holds an ITOL qualification. His particular specialist areas include consultation and the role of the employee rep, discipline and grievance, bullying, change management and negotiation skills. Dave is the designated adviser for organisations in Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Wandsworth, Bromley, Hammersmith & Fulham.
Henicka Uddin, Senior Adviser & Conciliator
Henicka joined Acas as an individual conciliator over 12 years ago from the Department of Trade and Industry and went on to manage a team. With her extensive skills and experience in advisory work and mediation, Henicka moved into a Senior Adviser role six years ago, dealing with complex industrial disputes as well as delivering bespoke training and advisory work.
Throughout her career Henicka has helped improve working life for a large variety of people and organisations, ranging from very small businesses to large international corporate companies, public sector organisations and the voluntary sector. She has become particularly specialised in working with managers to develop and enhance the skills involved in 'every day' management challenges; conducting informal capability/conduct meetings; having difficult conversations at work; giving effective and productive feedback and developing active listening skills. Henicka explains:
"Every conversation, every manager, every employee is different. The unique issues and challenges faced by organisations and their staff need to be understood before realistic and achievable improvements can be adopted. Our approach is one of practical measures and management techniques that should make a difference to a difficult workplace situation dispute from day one."
Henicka holds a BA Honours degree in Law with Educational Studies, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution. She is the designated Adviser for organisations in Merton, Kingston, Lambeth, Sutton and Brent.
Simon Long, Senior Adviser & Conciliator
Having worked in Acas for over 15 years Simon has developed particular expertise in helping Trade Unions and Managers achieve the best mutual outcomes from their working relationship. He explains:
"I believe successful employment relations do not happen by chance. I regularly work with employers, employees and their representatives to ensure they get the best out of working together. This can often involve helping parties jointly identify an "ideal" employment relations model for their organisation, comparing it to current practice and, where there are gaps, develop an action plan for closing those gaps."
In addition, Simon also carries out mediations, conciliations and plays an integral role in London's training program, delivering courses in our London offices or in-company. Simon has a wealth of experience in tailoring training and business solutions to meet the unique requirements of individual organisations. This comes in part from previously working as an Individual Conciliator in Acas, dealing with a huge variety of scenarios arising from employer - employee disputes.
Simon holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution and is the designated Adviser for organisations in Islington, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and Waltham Forest.
Kanta Hirji, Senior Adviser and Conciliator
Kanta's main role is working with organisations where an employer/trade union/employee rep group has raised an employment relations issue and needs expert guidance on finding a way forward. Kanta facilitates a pathway to resolution of these issues, which may involve delivering collective conciliation, advisory services or in-house bespoke training for staff.
Kanta has enjoyed varied experience in the different roles she has held at Acas since joining from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills in 2001. She originally worked as Helpline Manager before spending several years as Equality Adviser providing strategic advice to employers on all aspects of equality and diversity policy and best practice. Kanta also worked in the Certification Office as Operations Manager dealing with various aspects of Trade Unions operations such as member complaints, political fund enquiries, processing merger applications, and applications for Certificates of Independence.
Kanta certainly enjoys to keep busy! Outside of Acas she is a Justice of Peace, and runs a supplementary school with around 150 students from the ages of 6 - 18. If there's any spare time after that Kanta fills it with family and friends, and being the youngest of 9 children there are always plenty of people to see!
Kanta has qualifications in business information systems, management and trainer training as well as being a member of CIPD. She is a certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Time Line Therapy and Hypnotherapy. She currently works with businesses in Havering, Newham, Barking & Dagenham and Redbridge.
Chris Bechervaise, Trainer
Chris is a highly experienced trainer drawing on over 20 years' management experience ranging from managing 70 staff at the Catford Jobcentre in South London, to working at the Health and Safety Executive's Railway Inspectorate as Parliamentary Liaison Manager, and being the Inquiry Manager at the Public Inquiry into the railway accident at Southall in 1997.
Prior to working as a trainer Chris' first role in Acas was as an Individual Conciliator speaking to the claimants and organisations involved in Employment Tribunal claims and trying to encourage them to reach an agreement.
More recently Chris has also undertaken work as an Acas Senior Advisor, diagnosing and assisting organisations with problems in the workplace. He has therefore witnessed first-hand how workplace scenarios can become hugely problematic if handled poorly by organisations or their managers. Weaving all this experience into his training courses means Chris is able to contextualise learning with both good and bad examples of best practise for delegates to learn from.
Chris covers all areas of London delivering training in-company as well as many of our public courses held in our central London offices.
Follow Chris on twitter @cbechervaise1.
Janette Crisp - Trainer
Janette is Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning, and has more than 25 years experience in employment relations and conciliation. As one of 3 London trainers she travels all over the capital to deliver a variety of bespoke courses in-company, as well as delivering several of our public training courses at our offices on Euston Road.
Janette started her career with the Royal Navy, and after finishing her stint on the high seas she worked briefly with Acas before being promoted to the Department for Work and Pensions working in job centres. From here she then spent time working for the Health and Safety Executive before returning to Acas where she has been ever since.
Janette has worked in various Acas departments from conciliation, through management to training. In these positions, and those in her previous jobs, Janette has worked with employers and employees from a variety of industries including care provision, hospitality, restaurants, printing, education, law and property management to name just a few.
From this experience Janette has gained an extensive insight into how people interact in a working environment and how employment law fits into HR best practise. She uses this vast experience to pepper her training sessions with real life examples and case studies to contextualise course content and bring it to life.
Testimonials for Janette
"Excellent trainer - good knowledge and fun to listen to
I would just like to take the opportunity to express my thanks for such an enlightening session yesterday. The content was clear and to the point and Janette delivered it in such a way as to engage all the team and at the right pace."