Civil Service Pension Board member biographies

Margaret Edwards - Chair

Margaret was appointed as CSPB Chair in October 2016 and has 25 years senior management experience in the NHS and Department of Health and was the Chair of the National Oversight Group for High Secure Mental Health services until December 2019. Margaret is also a Civil Service Commissioner. Margaret’s appointment was extended for a further three years in October 2019. 

Lorna Merry - Member Nominee

Lorna works for HMRC having joined the then Inland Revenue as an AA in the Collection Service in 1991. After graduating, she moved to Investigation work in 1999 and trained as an Inspector of Taxes. Lorna was first elected to a senior PCS role in 2005 as a member of the HMRC Group Executive and has served on the PCS National Executive since 2009 and has been PCS President of the HMRC Group since 2014.

David Howdon - Member Nominee

David was appointed to the board in 2015. He is an economist in the Department of Work and Pensions currently working on welfare reform and previously worked on private pensions and automatic enrolment. He is a member of the FDA’s Executive Committee.

Karen Watts - Member Nominee

Karen has been a civil servant for 26 years. Karen works as a legal adviser based in a Magistrates’ Court having undertaken the Bar Vocational Course in 1993/94. Karen is a member of PCS’s National Executive Committee and an Assistant Group Secretary within the Ministry of Justice group. Karen’s lead areas for the group include Crime and Criminal Courts, Learning and Development and Apprenticeships.

Jayne Beeslee - Member Nominee

Jayne joined the CSPB in October 2019 as Member Nominee. Jayne has over 34 years’ HR experience and has held senior roles in several Government departments and Agencies and related Public bodies. Jayne is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, and is currently a Deputy Director working for the Welsh Government as a Strategic OD and HR Partner. Jayne is also a member of the Prospect union.

Sir Adrian Johns - Non-Executive member

Sir Adrian joined the CSPB in late 2017 following a 40-year public service career in the armed forces and, latterly, the FCO. He has numerous charitable interests and is also a member of the Senior Salaries Pay Review Body.

Lesley Davie - Non-Executive member

Lesley was appointed to the CSPB in October 2017 and has over 30 years senior pensions management experience. Lesley is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Allan Course - Non-Executive member

Allan was appointed to the CSPB in 2010. He has been a Professional Pension Trustee since 2006 and prior to that was a Partner at Watson Wyatt (now Willis Towers Watson), a worldwide firm of Actuaries and Consultants.

Jonathan Russell - Employer Nominee

Jonathan joined the CSPB as an employer nominee in March 2016. He has been Chief People Officer at the Valuations Office Agency since April 2018. Before this, he was HR Director for the Department for Work & Pensions.

Rob Woodstock - Employer Nominee

Rob joined the CSPB in June 2020, Rob is currently the Chief Commercial Officer for HMRC and is also a member of the Cabinet Office's Government Commercial Organisation, which recruits, retains and develops senior commercial professionals to operate in departments and across government. Rob was previously a Managing Director and in addition to his commercial responsibilities Rob also led Accenture UK's Inclusion and Diversity programme for four years and was a champion of the Ethnic Networks across the organisation.

Mervyn Thomas - Employer Nominee

Mervyn joined the CSPB in February 2018. His role in the Cabinet Office is the Executive Director of Employee and Trade Union Relations. He supports the Minister in his engagement with employers, the trade unions including the TUC on issues facing public sector workforces. He is also a Director of Civil Service Human Resources.

Rich Hornby - Employer Nominee

Rich Hornby was appointed Cabinet Office Chief Financial Officer in December 2019. This role directs the holder to become a member of the CSPB. He was previously Director of Finance and Estates for the UK Home Office and was an Audit Committee member for National Police Chiefs' Council.

Debra Soper - Ex Officio Member

Debra is the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Government Chief People Officer within the Cabinet Office. Debra has worked in the pensions industry for over 30 years and joined the Cabinet Office in 2016 moving from the private sector. As the delegated scheme manager, Debra's responsibilities include setting policy, strategy and ensuring robust governance frameworks are in place for the public service pension schemes within her remit.

Chris Wobschall - Ex Officio Member

Chris Joined the CSPB as an ex officio member in June 2019. Chris is the Deputy Director of the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) and reports to the Board on audits commissioned by the scheme.