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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.

Lucille Thirlby

Assistant General Secretary

Lucille joined the FDA as Assistant General Secretary in spring 2018, and leads the union's organising, communications and learning functions of the FDA. She also holds responsibility for equalities and manages five of the union's National Officers.

Lauren Crowley

Assistant General Secretary 

Lauren joined the FDA as a National Officer in 2021 and was promoted to Assistant General Secretary in February 2024.

Steven Littlewood

National Officer

Steven joined the FDA in 2015 and is the National Officer responsible for the Department for Business and Trade, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its appropriate arm’s length bodies and Government Legal Department.

Simon Hardcastle
National Officer


Simon joined the FDA in Spring 2011, and supports members in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and 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 the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Department for Education, the Food Standards Agency and . She is also secretary to the FDA Agenda Committee, which oversees the Annual Delegates’ Conference.


Jane Runeckles

National Officer for Wales

Jane joined the FDA in May 2024 and is the FDA's National Officer for Wales, covering employers both devolved and reserved there. Jane 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, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Jawad Raza

National Officer

Jawad Raza is the FDA National Officer covering the House of Commons, HM Treasury, Ministry of Justice, Cabinet Office and Government Commercial Organisation. 

Deri Bevan

Head of Organising & Learning

Deri is the Head of Organising and Learning. He started in December 2022. This new role within the union is designed to develop and coordinate organising activity across the union and oversee the FDA Learn offer.

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.

Duncan Woodhead

National Officer

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

Matt Newman

National Officer

Matt joined the FDA in August 2023, and is the National Officer supporting the Department of Health and Social Care, Ofsted, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and Ofgem. 

Amelia Dowler

National Officer (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) 

Amelia joined the FDA in November 2023 and leads on the union's equality work.

Kerry Downes

Membership Secretary

Kerry is the Membership Secretary for the FDA, and has responsibility for looking after and maintaining our database 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.

Diana Carberry

Finance Officer

Diana joined the FDA in 2006 and became a permanent fixture in 2007, holding a number of roles. Originally joining the FDA as a receptionist, Diana learnt the ins and outs of the union before going on to provide secretarial support to National Officers and then becoming the Membership Secretary.  She is currently a Finance Officer, looking after accounts, payroll and HR Admin.

Michelle De-Kisshazy

Accounts Assistant 

Michelle joined the FDA in October 2018 as an Accounts Assistant.   She now also organises reps training and provides administrative support to the union's equalities work.

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.

Tom Nathan

Communications Officer and Staff Writer, Public Service Magazine

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.

Katherine Hutchinson 

Communications Assistant and Staff Writer, Public Service Magazine 

Katherine joined the FDA in March 2024 and supports all aspects of the unions communications work, including press, member communications and digital. 

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