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Our team

The FDA is led, first and foremost, by our members, and there are hundreds of FDA activists in government departments and agencies who act as the union’s voice in the workplace every day. The Executive Committee, made up of elected FDA members, meanwhile acts as the governing body of the union, providing oversight and ensuring that the priorities of our members are put into action.

Our members are also supported by a dedicated team of professional FDA staff - led by the General Secretary – at our head office. These include full-time National Officers, who provide expert advice and negotiate on behalf of members, and FDA support staff, who help with the day-to-day running of the union.

Dave Penman

General Secretary

Dave was elected as General Secretary of the FDA in May 2012, and took up office in July that year. He was re-elected in 2016 and 2021. 

Lynne Gravatt

Assistant General Secretary – Head of Resources

Lynne joined the FDA as Head of Resources in September 2018. Lynne is responsible for managing the operational side of the FDA including finance, HR, premises, IT and admin.

Amy Leversidge

Assistant General Secretary 

Amy started working at the FDA in January 2018. Amy is responsible for leading the organising, communications and learning functions of the FDA in addition to managing four of the National Officers.

Lucille Thirlby

Assistant General Secretary

Lucille joined the FDA as Assistant General Secretary in spring 2018, and heads up the union's work on areas including pay, pensions, equality, exits, the Senior Civil Service and other central bargaining issues. She also manages five of the union's National Officers.

Steven Littlewood

Assistant General Secretary

Steven is the FDA's Assistant General Secretary responsible for leading the organising, communications and learning functions of the FDA, in addition to managing four of the National Officers. Steven also looks after our members in the Cabinet Office and our Keystone section. 

Simon Hardcastle
National Officer


Simon joined the FDA in Spring 2011, and supports members in the crime and national security sectors. He also covers the Government Legal Department, Lawyers' Network, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Ofgem.

Alan Leighton

National Officer

Alan joined in 2022 and is the FDA's National Officer responsible for the Association for Development and Diplomacy, which represents members in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. 

Helen Kenny

National Officer

Helen is the FDA’s National Officer with responsibility for HM Treasury, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its appropriate arm’s length bodies, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Education and HM Land Registry. She is also secretary to the FDA Agenda Committee, which oversees the Annual Delegates’ Conference.

Lauren Crowley

National Officer

Lauren is the FDA National Officer covering the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Work and Pensions, the civil service Fast Stream and the Health and Safety Executive. 

Gareth Hills

National Officer for Wales

Gareth is the FDA's National Officer for Wales, covering employers both devolved and reserved there. Gareth also covers the Ministry of Defence, the Office for National Statistics, ACAS and the FDA's Analysts' Network.

Wynne Parry

National Officer

Wynne started working for the FDA in 2012 and is the National Officer covering the Home Office, the Department for Transport, the Department for International Trade, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Food Standards Agency.

Jawad Raza

National Officer

Jawad Raza is the FDA National Officer covering HM Revenue and Customs, the House of Commons, the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England.

Neil Rider

Head of FDA Learn & Keyskills
Neil has led the FDA's Learn and Keyskills professional development programmes since 2008, helping members meet their professional development goals and build their skills.

Allan Sampson

National Officer

Allan is the National Officer with responsibility for employers both devolved and reserved across Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as the Education Inspectors Network.

Victoria Jones 

National Officer (currently on maternity leave) 

Victoria is the FDA's Equality Officer and also covers the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Duncan Woodhead

National Officer

Duncan joined the FDA team in October 2018, and is the National Officer for Ofsted, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Competition and Markets Authority.

Kerry Downes

Membership Secretary

Kerry is the Membership Secretary for both the FDA and Keystone, and has responsibility for looking after and maintaining both databases and helping members with inquiries about their membership.

Esther Farnese

Office and Systems Manager

Esther started working for the FDA in November 1998, initially in the accounts and membership department, before becoming office manager.

Rachel Harris

Project Coordinator

Rachel joined the FDA in the summer of 2018 as part of the Admin Team, providing administrative support to the National Officers and FDA Learn.

Kay Hender

Head of Communications and Editor, Public Service Magazine

Kay heads up the FDA's communications with its members, including editing the union's Public Service Magazine. She also leads the FDA's external-facing press work and the union's social media.

Tommy Newell

Communications Officer and Staff Writer, Public Service Magazine

Tommy joined the FDA in 2017, working in the communications team to raise the union's external profile and keep members up-to-date. He also contributes to the FDA's Public Service Magazine.

Scott Dobson

Communications Officer and Staff Writer, Public Service Magazine

Scott started working for the FDA in early 2020, helping to keep members updated with the union's latest work and raising the FDA's profile. He also writes for Public Service Magazine.

Tom Nathan

Communications Assistant 

Tom joined the FDA in summer 2022, helping to keep members informed of the union's activity and working to enhance the FDA's public profile.

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