Meet the team

Sean Manning – Senior Associate

Sean ManningLeading the programme, Sean is an experienced NHS manager having held senior posts within primary care, acute, mental health, regional and national NHS organisations. Sean provided consultancy services to a range of NHS organisations, focusing on systems improvement, leadership and organisation development and was a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University (Management Development).

He has designed and delivered a range of highly rated developmental programmes for clinical directors, consultants, senior managers and clinicians. Sean holds a first degree in Psychology, an MBA from Leicester University and a PG Cert in Learning & Teaching. He joined the NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement in April 2007 as Lead for the 'Productive Ward'. This highly successful programme supported the transformation of ward based care through the empowerment of ward staff, information based decision making and process improvement. Sean is now transferring his knowledge to the Productive Community Services programme.

Nick Downham - Associate

Nick DownhamNick has been developing the Productive series since its conception in early 2006. He worked on the Productive Ward from the start to its national release; leading the creation of all of the materials and also guiding implementation at shop floor and strategic level at national and international arenas.  Nick also led the creation of the Productive Mental Health Ward and now is part of the small team working with front line community care teams to test and create concepts for the Productive Community Services programme.

Before moving into the NHS Nick worked in primary metals making, where he held a number of operational and supply chain management posts. He led large lean improvement projects and gained practical experience of organisational level lean implementation and best practice operations management. As part of his transition into the NHS, Nick worked for Barnsley District General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust before joining the NHS Institute. Nick studied lean operations at the University of Cardiff's Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC) and production engineering at the University of Birmingham. In his spare time Nick is a keen cyclist both riding road and mountain bikes competitively and for leisure.

Sally Eason - Associate

Sally EasonSally joined the  Productive Community Services (PCS) team direct from her Commissioning role at Solihul Primary Care Trust . She has been with the team since April 2008 when the work on the programme started. She undertook the initial scoping and review work which has formed the mainstay of the programme’s work. This involved liaising with the Department of Health on the programme’s progress and forging links with the Transforming Community Service teams. She has been working on site with development teams to support module development and patient perspective work, but she was also involved in the Learning Partner Days as well as many other local and SHA based events.

Sally has a diverse background in NHS, voluntary sector & social care. She worked in commissioning in health & social care for 10 years, and much of this work was based around involving service users in service redesign. She has a Masters in Social Services Management from Birmingham University.

Laura Simpson - Associate

Laura SimpsonLaura joined the team in March 2009, supporting organisations with the development of Productive Community Services. She has worked within healthcare for over 10 years.  She graduated from Lancaster University In 2005 with an MBA. Here she developed a keen interest in partnership working with organisations such as Local Council’s, Sport England, Countryside Agency and the Forestry Commission.

Laura’s first major health role was with Staffordshire Health Authority where she specialised in providing strategic and general management support to the Primary Care Groups and locality staff in the delivery of National/Local priorities. She went on to work for Cannock Chase PCT as a Health Promotion Manager. Also specialising in Service Improvement, this was the time of the first government targets for smoking cessation and Laura is proud that her team successfully managed to achieve these.

In 2006 Laura moved to New Zealand, while there she worked for a District Health Board, and was part of the team that led the hospital through the complex task of planning and implementing a major site redevelopment and various service improvement programmes. They were also one of the first hospitals to start to roll out the Productive Ward Programme in NZ.


Beverly Ballinger, Associate

Beverly BallingerBev has been on secondment to the Institute since February 2009. She hails from Warwickshire Community Health where she is an operational manager working with District Nursing teams and Community Matrons.

She is also involved with a Virtual Ward pilot based on two sites in Warwickshire. Bev has worked in the NHS since 1975 and has worked extensively in the community as an evening nurse, district nursing sister and professional lead.

Bev has been a manager in the NHS since 1999. She is currently working with one of the development team/pilot sites and thoroughly enjoys the experience and challenges that the role brings.

When she has spare time (she is married with four sons), Bev enjoys swimming, walking, cycling and holidaying in interesting places.

Katie Wardle – Project Manager

Katie WardleKatie has recently joined the Productive Community Services team as a Project Manager. Her main objectives are to assist with the day to day running of the project by maintaining the project plan, the risks and issues log and the reporting structure.

Her background is in NHS service Improvement, primarily in Cardiac and Cancer services. She also has experience working on a wide variety of healthcare projects whilst working in the private sector. These include working as a planner for an Independent Treatment Centre and assisting a Mental Healthcare Trust to develop a performance reporting tool for their Trust Board.

Simon Horrocks – Associate – Marketing & Communications

Simon HorrocksSimon leads on the marketing and communications for the programme, working closely with the business and developing a strong knowledge of the programme. He has recently joined the Institute following 10 years marcomms experience in public and private sector.

This includes nearly five years communications experience with the NHS itself, working at the Department of Health as a web manager on the 18 week programme, and more recently supporting Shropshire County PCT for their local Darzi strategy. He also worked as a consultant with the 2gether NHS Mental and Social Healthcare Trust, assisting with their corporate identity while it achieved Foundation Trust status. Simon lives with his wife and baby daughter in Malvern where he enjoys cycling and outdoor life.

Joanne Dawson - Administrator

Joanne DawsonJo joined in March 2009 to support the Productive Community Services programme.  Here she provides administration support to all team members, which includes arranging meetings, conference calls and accommodation.  Jo is the first point of contact for any general enquiries about the programme via both telephone and email.  She assists in arranging the internal Learning Partner Days and attends events on behalf of the programme.

After graduating in 2005 with a degree in Sports Management Jo started work for a Sports Marketing Company in Leamington Spa, She has also worked at Playgolf where she worked alongside its Directors in implementing sales and marketing strategies and helping build and maintain its database. In her spare time Jo likes going to the gym, running and eating out!