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Board Membership

NHS Digital board members biographies

Noel Gordon, Chair

Formerly an economist and a banker, Noel spent most of his career in consultancy until his retirement in 2012 including, for the last 16 years, with Accenture where he was global managing director of the Banking Industry Practice. He has extensive practical experience of driving fundamental innovations in transforming industries, and of big data, analytics, mobile and digital technologies.

Noel is Chairman of NHS Digital, Chairman of Healthcare UK Advisory Board, a non-executive director of NHS England and Chair of its Specialised Commissioning Committee. He is a member of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Board of the Department of Health, a non-executive director of the Payments Systems Regulator, a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the University of Warwick , a member of the Development Board of Age UK, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of


Dr Sarah Blackburn, Vice Chair

Dr Sarah Blackburn has been the chief executive of the Wayside Network, a group of consultants specialising in governance, since 2002. She has worked as a director of assurance and risk management for Argos, Kingfisher, RAC and Exel and for a public service property company.

Sarah was a founder member of the Healthcare Commission Board and a member of the editorial board of the first NHS Integrated Governance Handbook. Since 2005, she has been a director of a private company supplying primary care and addiction services to secure environments in the NHS. In 2014, she became a non-executive partner in The Green Practice, a primary care provider in Bristol.

Sarah's other non-executive director roles have included the Identity and Passport Service, the Open University and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a past president and chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors. She serves on the board of the Institute of Internal Auditors Global (IIA Global).

Sir Ian Andrews, Senior Independent Director

Sir Ian is a former second permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence. He retired from the civil service in 2009 and was the non-executive chairman of the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) from 2009 to 2013.

Sir Ian has been managing director of the Defence Research and Evaluation Agency (DERA), chief executive of the Defence Estates Agency and a member of the Defence Board, where his responsibilities included information assurance and security.

He is interested in raising public and private sector awareness of cyber security threats and contributing to public sector and academic leadership programmes.

Dr Marko Balabanovic, Non-executive director

Dr Marko Balabanovic has over 20 years' experience developing innovations in academia, corporations and start-ups in both the UK and US. As Chief Technology Officer at Digital Catapult his role is to drive innovation by bringing together expertise from the creative, research and development fields and to ensure the organisation remains at the forefront of key trends and emerging technologies.

Marko has been instrumental in bringing several new technologies to market. Most recently he worked at a startup, State, to launch a digital global opinion network.

On the Board of NHS Digital, he leads for innovation, emerging technologies, partnerships and technology transfer.

Formerly, Marko was head of innovation at, where his team launched an array of award winning mobile apps. Marko studied Computer Science at Cambridge University, and has a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from Stanford, where he led foundational work on recommender systems.

Daniel Benton,  Non-executive director

Daniel spent most of his career at Accenture where he was global head of the Technology Strategy and Digital Strategy practices. He has extensive experience both of setting and implementing the technology agendas for large organisations through periods of transformational change, including the implementation of advanced consumer facing technologies. He led much of Accenture's thinking around the impact of technology on business and on transforming IT organisations. He was also seconded twice as CIO, both for an international bank and a large global insurer.

On the Board of NHS Digital, Daniel leads for IT delivery excellence, operational transformation and technology strategy.

Daniel is a trustee of The Grange Festival and a member of the Fundraising and Finance Committees of the NSPCC.

Professor Soraya Dhillon, MBE, Non-executive director

Soraya Dhillon is a former Clinical Academic with over 35 years' experience in academia and clinical practice, and retired as Dean of School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire in November 2016.  

On the Board for NHS Digital, Soraya leads for clinical safety and governance, e-channels and diversity and inclusion.

Soraya has held several non-executive posts in the NHS since 1991. She is the former Chair of Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (1999-2010), former member of the General Pharmaceutical Council and former Board Director for Eastern Academic Health Science Network.

Soraya is a Non-Executive Director at The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Academic Manager University of Hertfordshire and Senior Independent Director, Improvement Steering Group for Eastern Academic Health Science Network. Soraya is a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), was awarded an MBE for her contribution to Health Services in Bedfordshire and a Charter Gold Medal for Science and Practice. 

Professor Sudhesh Kumar, Non-executive director

Professor Sudhesh Kumar is Dean of the Warwick Medical School and Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare at University of Warwick. He is also a Non-Executive Director on the University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust Board.

He is a clinical endocrinologist by background with 22 years experience as a Consultant Physician in the NHS. His research interests include developing novel approaches, including medical technology to managing obesity and diabetes that has helped to transform and improve patient care and treatment.  He has published over 240 papers and six books on these subjects.

On the NHS Digital Board, Sudhesh leads for big data, the research sector, clinical informatics/medtech and life sciences strategy.

Rob Tinlin, Non-executive director

Rob was Chief Executive of Southend-on-Sea Council from March 2005 to March 2017. Before that he was Chief Executive of South Northamptonshire Council for seven years.

Southend Council under Rob's leadership, was awarded LGC Council of the Year in 2012 and was commended for the excellence and innovation of their services.

On the Board of NHS Digital, he leads for integrated care, digitising social care, change management and organisational development.

Rob was the Chief Executive lead on health and social care for the East of England, a board member of the Department of Health National Information Board (NIB), a board member of the Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus, a member of the Advisory Board for the Queen Mary University of London Business School, and a founding member of the Southend Health & Well Being Board.

Executive Directors

Rob Shaw, Interim Chief Executive Officer

Rob was appointed as Director of Operations and Assurance Services in April 2014. He managed the insourcing of major infrastructure services from BT, including the core NHS Spine, the Care Identity Service (CIS) and the Secondary Uses Service (SUS). In this role, Rob was also responsible for overseeing the provision of more than 60 essential live services to NHS and social care organisations.

He was appointed as the NHS Digital's Chief Operating Officer in April 2016 and took up the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer in February 2017. Rob is also the Senior Responsible Officer for the Cyber Security Programme. 

Earlier in his career, Rob worked for the Department of Work and Pensions, where, latterly, he led intervention teams to assist complex programmes with governance and delivery. He joined the National Programme for IT in late 2005, working in the National Integration Centre as head of assurance services. In 2009, he became director of the then Technical Assurance Group and in 2012 he also took over management of Technical Architecture and Infrastructure.

Rachael Allsop, Director of Workforce

Rachael joined the NHS Information Centre, a predecessor of NHS Digital, in 2009 and oversaw a successful staffing merger with NHS Connecting for Health. She was appointed to the NHS Digital Board as Director of Human Resources and has recently been promoted to become Director of Workforce.

She has occupied board roles in health organisations for the past 25 years and has extensive experience as both a general manager and a human resource practitioner in all aspects of the health service. She worked as the human resources director of Leeds Teaching Hospitals' Trust, then the largest trust in the country. Rachael is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has a master's degree in employment law. She is a past president of the Yorkshire Healthcare People Management Association and has been a visiting lecturer at Leeds and Keele universities.

Professor David Hughes, Director of Information and Analytics

David joined NHS Digital as Director of Information and Analytics in August 2016 and has more than 25 years' experience working within the healthcare field.

He has a PhD in Economics, a Masters in Health Economics from the University of York and spent more than a decade in academia where he had a number of senior academic positions and published widely in leading journals.

Outside of academia he was an economic advisor for the Hong Kong Hospital Authority and for the UK Department of Health before moving to HM Treasury as Senior Health Policy Advisor where he sat on a number of national boards including Financial Flows and Value for Money.

David has occupied board level positions in the private sector where he led the development of tools and support for commissioners of primary and secondary healthcare, as well as designing methods and practical tools for evaluating the impact of healthcare interventions.

In addition he has advised and worked with the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, national and international charities and public bodies including the Care Quality Commission and has held honorary and visiting professorial posts at leading UK Universities.

Beverley Bryant, Director of Digital Transformation

Beverley was Director of Digital Technology at NHS England before joining NHS Digital in 2016. She was responsible for setting the national direction for NHS technology and informatics and stimulating technology leadership and innovation across the NHS in England. She also led the delivery of a number of NHS England commitments including Integrated Digital Care Records, NHS E-referrals, Patient Online and Electronic Prescriptions.

Before joining NHS England, Beverley was Managing Director of Health at Capita. She has undertaken various change, performance improvement and operational roles in 'big-five' consulting companies, as well as leadership roles in the Department of Health and the NHS. A graduate of the University of Sheffield with a degree in Japanese, Beverley's expertise includes over 15 years of IT-enabled change in roles that include business and systems analysis and technical design authority.

Carl Vincent, Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Carl joined NHS Digital in June 2013 on secondment from the Department of Health and was appointed on a permanent basis in June 2015.

He worked as an economist with the Department of Health from 1996 and worked across a number of policy areas, including long term health funding, Payment by Results, and the Public Finance Initiative. After moving over to finance roles, he was head of the NHS Financial Performance team between 2004 and 2006 and led the Comprehensive Spending Review that reported in 2007. He has worked on secondment with a large consultancy provider and has experience of leading commercial teams.

Tamara Finkelstein, Ex Officio member

The Director General of Community Care at the Department of Health, Tamara Finkelstein, is responsible for social care, ageing and disability; community, mental health and delivering 7 day services; medicines and pharmacy; digital and data policy; technology transformation and the office of the Chief Social Worker.

Tamara has spent most of her career working at HM Treasury where previously she was the Chief Operating Officer of the Department and Director of Public Services, responsible for oversight of major public services expenditure.

Professor Keith McNeil, Ex Officio member

NHS Chief Clinical Information Officer, Professor Keith McNeil is a former transplant specialist who has also held many senior roles in healthcare management around the world.

His previous roles include Chief Executive Officer at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Chief Executive Officer at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in Australia.

Professor Martin Severs, Ex Officio member

Medical Director and Caldicott Guardian, Professor Martin Severs was a consultant geriatrician for 30 years, a professor of health care for older people at the University of Portsmouth for 25 years and has extensive experience of management at service, medical director, and non-executive board roles in health and research.

Martin has had a number of national and international roles in health informatics, including chairman of the management board of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation, chairman of the Information Standards Board and clinical lead for the Caldicott Information Governance Review. 

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