Carrie Irvine – Member

Carrie has held a number of senior leadership roles, including Executive Director of Operations for Scope, the large national disability charity and Chief Operating Officer for Ambito, an Independent provider of services for Adults and Children with complex, health and learning disabilities including pre-school, education and fostering.

She has extensive experience of leading national portfolios through organisational transformation and improvement processes and enjoys building high performing teams.

Carrie is also an Independent member of an Audit and Risk Committee for the charity, Signhealth and in her spare time she enjoys the demands of her small holding which includes 24 animals, travel and relaxing with her family.

Mark Merriam – Member

Mark qualified as a solicitor in 1982. He became a partner of the firm now known as Ashtons Legal in 1989 and has been with them for more than 30 years specialising in Dispute Resolution. He was managing partner of the firm between 2001 and 2010 and Chairman between 2011 and 2018. He became a governor at Riverwalk in 2017 before becoming a member of BEST in January 2019. He is now semi-retired and using his spare time to try and improve his golf handicap.

Stephen Watts – Member

Steve has been working with children, young people and families in the public, charitable and faith sectors since 1993. He currently leads on safeguarding and data protection for a multi-academy trust, which includes primary, secondary and special schools. He is also a governor at two of the schools within the trust. Steve has a calm approach, which couples a keen eye for detail with the ability to think strategically. In his free time, he enjoys making music; playing the clarinet, guitar and singing at the church he belongs to.


Mr Roderick Newbery – Member

Rod has recently retired from a medium sized business, headquartered in Cambridge with offices around the world. The company provides niche technology and engineering consultancy services. Rod’s background is in engineering, but he also has Open University Business School qualifications in Finance & Accounting and Marketing.

He was one of the directors of the new company formed by a management buy-out from the Company’s founder in 2001.  As the new Company’s managing director, he initiated a very successful period of expansion, which led to the Company becoming pre-eminent in its field and laid the foundations for its global expansion.

Rod’s job required him to work alongside lawyers, so it was important that he was able to explain complex issues to people possibly with a limited understanding of technical subjects, as well as being able to follow and respond to legal documents.  A key component of his work was to give evidence as an expert witness in County, High and Sherriff Courts and to an Inquest, which required a comprehensive understanding of the key issues in each case and the ability to think clearly under pressure.

Rod has a keen interest in voluntary work. For a while Rod was a volunteer community mediator, but unfortunately loss of funding for the organisation meant that this activity ceased.  Currently, Rod is looking to re-engage with voluntary work.

In his spare time Rod likes to play tennis and go for walks. He is also a classic car enthusiast, so, since he has just retired, he will be tidying the garage.