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About the Governing Board

The Governing Board (GB) of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is made up of five practitioner directors (including the chair) and four non-practitioner directors.

The role of the GB is to ensure that the BAcC meets its responsibilities to:

  • promote the benefits of traditional acupuncture as a valid system of healthcare
  • safeguard the public
  • promote BAcC members' interests
  • uphold benchmark standards of education and practice

The wider function of the GB is to:

  • ensure that the BAcC continues to flourish and aspire to ‘a world in which traditional acupuncture is accepted as a valid healthcare choice’
  • set strategy and policy, in consultation with and advised by members, committees, the chief executive, and others, as appropriate
  • oversee implementation of strategy and effective/efficient management of the BAcC through the chief executive and committees
  • ensure compliance with the company's objects, its governing documents and all relevant legislation and regulation
  • ensure prudence in respect of managing the company's assets

All directors of the GB and all BAcC committee members agree to abide by the Nolan principles – the seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership. 

At every GB meeting, directors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Board also regularly reviews its good governance practice.

Current practitioner directors

Sarah Attwell-Griffiths (chair),

Paul Blacker

Susan Evans

Pia Huber

Sarah Matheson

Current non-practitioner directors

Joanna Brown

Joseph Ogbonna

Samantha Peters

Naresh Rao

Non-voting attendees at GB meetings

Richard Costella (treasurer)

Rob Strange OBE (company secretary)

Michael Watson (registrar)

The GB receives help and advice from several specialist subcommittees including:

  • Finance, Risk and Audit Committee (FRAC)
  • Professional Standards and Regulatory Committee (PSRC)
  • Membership Services Committee (MSC)

Appropriate non-practitioner expertise ensures that the BAcC's processes for developing policies and guidelines are fair, transparent, free from bias, and serve the public interest at all times.

Meeting dates and attendance

GB meeting dates for 2019:

  • Thursday 12 December

Meetings take place at the BAcC office, 63 Jeddo Road, London, W12 9HQ and typically run from 10.30 to 16.30, with one hour for lunch.

Observers are welcome to attend GB meetings: please note that some agenda items may be open to directors only. If you would like to sit in on a GB meeting, please email Anna de Oliveira, leadership support manager: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As well as hosting GB meetings, our London office houses a small specialist staff team who carry out the day-to-day work of the BAcC. Some members of staff are qualified acupuncturists with expertise in particular areas, the rest bring outside knowledge and experience essential to the running of a membership organisation.

Together we aim to provide a prompt and authoritative service both to support our members and the wider public.

Sarah Attwell-Griffiths

Sarah is the Chair of the Governing Board.

Sarah graduated from the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (CICM in Reading and was taught in the integrated TCM/five element style. She has a special interest in treating self-injury and, in collaboration with Mark Bovey, published an article on this subject in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine (EJOM).

Since graduating from CICM, Sarah has provided private acupuncture treatment within an NHS GP surgery and later in a multidisciplinary complementary medicine setting, set up and run a multibed clinic, and currently owns a small successful Chinese medicine clinic in Cirencester.

Sarah is a joint programme leader for Chinese medicine and a marker at CICM, and an admissions assessor for the BAcC. She has also developed and delivered acupuncture and five element theory CPD courses, and published articles in EJOM and Acu. She passionately believes that the level of training an acupuncturist has determines the main part of the quality, safety and efficacy of the treatment they provide.

Sarah is also a keen beekeeper, loves to spend time in tranquil places near rivers and lakes, and enjoys the challenge of living a zero-waste and plastic-free life at home.

Paul Blacker

Paul has been in practice for over 25 years and practises acupuncture, tuina (Chinese medical massage), sports massage, qigong and dietary therapy. He is also first aid instructor for the RFU (Rugby Football Union). He graduated in massage in 1993 and in acupuncture in 1997, and achieved his master’s in education in 2012.

For over 20 years Paul has taught acupuncture and massage. He has also taught all aspects of Chinese medicine, living anatomy, practitioner development and setting up in practice at colleges in the UK, and has published research in profession specific magazines.

He has special interests in mental health conditions such as anxiety, treating addictions like smoking and cocaine use, treating acute and chronic injuries, helping chronic pain, treating gynaecological issues such as painful periods and mood swings, and age-related conditions such as arthritis.

As well as being registered with the BAcC, he is also a fully qualified member of the (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), the Institute for Learning (IfL), and the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Joanna Brown

Joanna Brown has worked for various professional bodies and trade unions, latterly the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists where she was Chief Executive from 2003 to 2016. Joanna’s particular areas of expertise are health policy, governance, regulation and employment relations.

Joanna is a Chartered Manager, and currently holds a number of different roles. She a member of the Complaints and Investigations Committee of the Chartered Management Institute, and an Associate Lay Member on the Brent, Harrow and Hillingdon federation of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, focussing on quality and patient experience. She has served as a magistrate in North West London for over twenty years, chairing in both adult and youth courts. She is also a professional Clerk for various school governing bodies. She acts as an “Independent Person” on the London Borough of Barnet Standards Committee, and retains her links with podiatry as a member of the International Podiatry Federation Articles and By-laws Committee.

Joanna graduated from the University of Warwick with an honours degree in History.

Richard Costella

Richard qualified as a certified accountant in 1975 and has had a varied career spent mainly in the private sector, moving through a spell in charity finance to local government finances. Richard is currently a trustee for Greensleeves Care, a charity operating 24 care homes, and for the Federation of Westminster Schools Charity Fund. He is a school governor and is active in his local conservation group in Ealing, where he lives.

Susan Evans

Susan has been a practitioner of traditional acupuncture since 1987, initially studying five element acupuncture then a few years later integrating TCM into her practice. She moved back from England to her native Northern Ireland 15 years ago where she now runs a busy multidisciplinary clinic with 12 therapists. In her clinic she practises a mixture of both five element and TCM acupuncture.

Susan was a CPD facilitator and a professional development lead with the BAcC and really enjoyed working closely with members and their CPD for over 14 years. She now works as a mentor/supervisor, supporting practitioners in their work and regularly attends supervision herself. She has also been a regional group coordinator in Northern Ireland.

In 2007 Susan was the main acupuncture lead in a very successful year-long pilot study initiated by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, integrating complementary therapies into the NHS. Susan is also passionate about meditation and her role as a meditation teacher.

Pia Huber

Pia qualified as acupuncturist and naturopath in 2007 from the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in London and became a BAcC member in 2008, through the interview process. In her clinic she practises TCM acupuncture. Pia has recently completed the mentoring/supervision course with Isobel Cosgrove and Sally Blades. She is a member of the steering committee of the Acupuncture Childbirth Team London. Pia reviews articles submitted to academic journals including the European Journal of Integrated Medicine, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, and she is an editor of complementary therapy books for Kiener Press.

Pia was leader and lecturer of the research skills module at CNM London, for students of nutrition, homeopathy, herbal medicine and acupuncture, from 2008 to 2010. Before her acupuncture training Pia was a biomedical researcher in cardiovascular and genetic diseases at Imperial College, King's College and University College (1990-2007). From 2007 to 2015 Pia worked part time as guidelines officer for the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI), responsible for coordinating the guideline writing on allergy by UK allergists.

Sarah Matheson

Sarah completed her Lic Ac in five element acupuncture training at the College of Traditional Acupuncture (CTA) in 1995 and continued her postgraduate training with Professor JR Worsley. She was a tutor for ten years at the School of Five Element Acupuncture (SOFEA) in London and was also a guest lecturer at CTA for over ten years. She is now a regular lecturer at the Academy of Five Elements in Norway and runs postgraduate workshops on the five elements in the UK.

Sarah has been a member of the BAcC since it started, and of the Traditional Acupuncture Society (TAS) before that. She has seen many changes within the acupuncture profession and the BAcC as an organisation. She is passionate about valuing the experience of older members of the acupuncture community – the pioneers of acupuncture in the UK – and would like to work on projects that will enable their voices to be heard and ensure that their experience and wisdom is retained within the profession.

Sarah is also on the BAcC’s Membership Services Committee (MSC) and on the BAcC register of mentors. She runs mentoring groups and one-to-one sessions.

Joseph Ogbonna FRSA

Joseph is an independent coach, trainer and facilitator, and director of Ruuvand Ltd, a learning and development provider to education, private and third-sector organisations. A natural strategic thinker, he has a substantial track record in coaching, advising and training executives, entrepreneurs, and senior managers, consultancy and mentoring.

Joseph understands behaviours, customer service, strategy and scenario planning. As a strategist, he helps business owners, managers and individuals who want to be their best. Joseph has 17 years’ experience as a non-executive director in the not-for-profit sector with active roles. He is proficient with scenarios of the future as a strategic planning tool.

Approaching life with a view of ‘it is possible’, Joseph is a lifelong learner. He holds an MBA (strategy), CUG (coaching), BSc (psychology) and is currently learning to meditate through practice in a group set up with friends. Joseph has a keen interest in wellbeing with long distance running and martial arts.

Samantha Peters

Samantha has some 20 years’ experience in the health sector, most recently at the General Optical Council, the UK’s regulator for optical professionals and businesses, where she was chief executive and registrar from 2011 to 2017. Her areas of interest include health policy, professional regulation, compassionate care and wellbeing at work.

Samantha has considerable experience in the voluntary sector where she has held roles representing both professional and patient interests. She is currently a lay director of the British Dietetics Association. She is also a trustee of the British Safety Council, which exists to ensure that no-one is injured or made ill through their work, and Mates in Mind, which promotes positive wellbeing in the workplace. Previously, she was treasurer at Arthritis Care and deputy treasurer of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance.

Samantha holds an MBA from Cass Business School, where she received a Tallow Chandlers Award for her research on the subject trust and its role in organisational failure. She is currently studying the role that organisations play in promoting or inhibiting kindness, compassion and altruism at work.

Naresh Rao

Naresh Rao was recently appointed as a non-practitioner member of the BAcC Governing Board. Naresh has many years’ experience in a wide rage of senior management roles, primarily in central government and most recently with the Environment Agency as head of strategic financial planning and risk. He has held a number of Board positions bringing particular expertise in strategic planning, corporate governance, risk and financial management, as well as environmental and health regulation. Naresh is married to a very experienced practitioner of traditional acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and has a long-standing interest in and supports holistic and complementary approaches to managing health and the environment. Naresh has an MBA and currently runs a small business providing strategic and financial planning advice to sole operators and small businesses.

Rob Strange OBE

Rob Strange OBE is an experienced Trustee, NED and Chief Executive, a Chartered Director and Chartered Banker, with considerable experience within the financial and not-for-profit sectors. He was, until 30 April 2013, the CEO of IOSH and has held other Trustee and Non-Executive Director roles as well as serving on five Finance & Audit Committees. He is currently a Trustee of the charities Greensleeves Homes Trust (Vice Chairman from 1 October 2014) and Education for Health (Vice Chairman since 1 March 2017). He is currently the Company Secretary of the British Acupuncture Council but has previously been the organisation’s Lay Treasurer and the interim Chief Executive (twice).

He is now an independent consultant to Boards of Directors, including at present Southalls (Safety Cloud), and an interim CEO, having fulfilled this role recently for both the Association for Project Safety and also the British Acupuncture Council (twice). He was awarded the OBE in 2008 for his services to occupational safety and health advocacy.

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