Barbara studied social work and psychology at the University of Cape Town, and also holds an MSc in Leadership and Organisation of the Public Services (distinction) from Bristol Business School.
She started her working life as a social worker in London with Scope, the UK disability charity, and since then her career has been dedicated to the development and delivery of high quality services for children, young people and their families.
She worked in children’s social care in the local authority in Bristol for several years before taking up a senior role in children’s social services in Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Barbara became Chief Executive of Children’s Hospices UK in 2001. She was appointed to the role of Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives in 2012, following the merger of Children’s Hospices UK and ACT.
Barbara has also been active in children’s palliative care internationally. Working with others, she was a driving force in the establishment in 2006 of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN).
Barbara was appointed as a Trustee of National Voices in June 2016.
Barbara was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2015, in recognition of her services to improving care services for children.