Director; Board Member for the Scottish Parole Board, Financial Compliance, Psychology-Based Trainer, Life Coach and Clinical Supervisor

Darren began his professional career within the welfare sector as a pensions advisor for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). He swiftly progressed through the Civil Service to conducting on-site visits to state benefit clients within their own homes checking on the authenticity of claims made, managing Child Support Agency (CSA) applications as a CSA Insepctor and managing state benefit teams. Darren progressed to a Decision Maker role, managing adjudications and appeal tribuinals until the latter part of the 1990’s. Darren was then appointed to the role of Benefit Fraud Investigator based in central London, where he gained a deeper understanding of the need to balance welfare against enforcement. Prior to his departure from DWP, Darren was appointed as a regional internal auditor to evaluate the accuracy of benefit processing claims across both the Midlands and Northern regions. Also during his DWP career, Darren worked with young people as a Youth Worker in the evenings for the West Sussex Youth Service.

Darren’s investigative work at the DWP led him on his career path into Sussex Probation Service, (now Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSSCRC) www.ksscrc.co.uk) as a Court Duty officer, providing both advice to offender clients and Magistrates/Judges regarding Probation practice and processes in both Youth Courts and Adult Magistrate Courts in Brighton & Hove. During Darren’s time there, he gained extensive experience in prosecuting and breaching Probation Community Orders before leaving the service to take an appointment within Her Majesty’s Prison Service, (HMPS) as a Substance Misuse Service Manager for the Youth Justice Board’s nationally funded Young Peoples’ Substance Misuse Service (YPSMS). This post was across 3 juvenile secure establishments, (HMP/YOI Downview: Josephine Butler Unit; HMP/YOI Eastwood Park: Mary Carpenter Unit; HMP/YOI Cookham Wood Secure Academy: Sir Evelyn House).

Within this role, Darren acquired expertise in both the direct delivery of bespoke interventions, as well as managing 3 teams of practitioners responsible for delivering specialist interventions with both female and male juvenile offender clients. This included a blend of both one-to-one support and group sessions to meet the presenting substance misuse needs and offending related risks of clients, as part of a holistic package of support.

As a qualified chef, Darren was able to offer and design an offender intervention on ‘healthy munchies/nutrition’ cooking skills which adopted an informal and engaging harm reduction approach with subsatnace users in order to effectively support young people whilst serving the custodial component of their sentence; this was instrumental in developing young peoples’ knowledge of substance misuse harm whilst also guiding them into understanding the importance of good nutrition. During this time, Darren was also required to effectively engage with community based Youth Offending Teams (YOT’s) nationally, reviewing ASSET assessments as part of sentence planning principles, and providing throughcare information to YOTs regarding young people upon release on licence back into the community.

Darren naturally progressed into taking up a post with a 16+ Children’s Services Leaving Care Team on behalf of West Sussex County Council via a private contractor. This role required Darren to manage and support a team of staff in order to implement effective independent living skills to those young people aged between 16-24 years, finding suitable accommodation along the south coast of England for each young person who was referred into the service by Social Servcies.

Darren is a passionate practitioner and a trained employee manager from his early days working at the DWP and was until recetly employed as a Sessional Worker at KSSCRC in Brighton. Here Darren delivered offender supervision support within an Approved Premises, supporting adult male offender clients subject to MAPPA Level 2 and 3 multi-agency risk management following release from custody.

In January 2012, Darren became a Director of WrightLink Ltd. where he holds primary responsibility for finance and national marketing, delivering various psychologically-informed training support e.g. Motivational Interviewing Skills following his training in this area whilst also supporting research and evaluation practices. Darren is also a board member for the Parole Board for Scotland.

Darren is now using his 10 year experience, as a part-time freelance mystery shopper for many well-known high street companies, to implement customer service skills coaching to YOT’s named, ‘Excel the Client Experience’, across England, to enhance the service that is delivered to clients, (both offenders, work colleagues and other organisations), who have contact with or work within YOTs. The coaching support is innovative, encompassing emotional intelligence (EQ Emotional Quotient) principles, awareness of diversity in building rapport and the methods used via communication channels to build rapport further to ‘Excel the Client Experience’, whilst also exploring how to de-escalate aggressive situations.

Darren is fully qualified as a practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and is a registered member of The Association for Integrative Psychology (certification number: #NP-001219). He is also fully qualified to undertake AIM2 (Assessment, Intervention, Moving on) assessments with young people who display sexually harmful behaviour. Darren is proud to bring his own charisma into the coaching that he delivers, providing an uplifting experience for participants where his stage work as an actor for the company in many live-coaching role-plays demonstrates an understanding that the coaching experience must be both entertaining and factual. Darren enjoys non-competitive running, cooking and knitting. He is re-learning French as a second language.