Meet our Senior Leadership Team

Our team take a hands-on approach, working collaboratively with operational and development teams across the business and challenging fresh ways of doing things. They listen to the individuals we support, their families, and the needs of commissioners. Then they work together to develop forward thinking services that satisfy individuals’ needs while delivering excellent value.


“Consensus has a sector-leading reputation as the provider that delivers the best support to people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, including Prader-Willi Syndrome.” 

Paula Keys

Chief Executive Officer

Consensus is an organisation with strong values and a mission to ensure opportunity, choice and success for every individual we support. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with such a talented and committed team, who make a difference every day.

This is an exciting time for Consensus – we have ambitious growth plans that will enable us to provide more services and continue to deliver outstanding outcomes to people that need them. As we grow our focus will be on:

  • Our People: ensuring we have the best and most talented people, who are supported to deliver the outstanding care that Consensus is known for
  • Our Supported Individuals: ensuring we support every person that lives with us to have the best quality of life and be included in the decisions that affect them
  • Our Customers: understanding their needs and working with them to deliver services for people in their local communities

These three priorities will always be top of my agenda and through supporting our Colleagues to deliver the best quality of care and support, we will ensure that every day, every person supported by us can achieve their goals and lead fulfilled and meaningful lives. I am excited about the future for Consensus, our services, and our supported individuals and I am looking forward to working with Eddie and the Senior Leadership Team, and all of our Colleagues to be part of making a difference to people’s lives.

Outside of work I… swim as often as I can, read lots, and enjoy weekend walks in the Yorkshire Wolds with my husband and teenage daughter. I also play the saxophone – badly, and only ever in private!

“My role is to continue to build on the good practice already in place & support colleagues to provide services that are recognised as the best by the people we support, their families, stakeholders and regulators.”

Deborah Cotton-Soares

Quality and Compliance Director

I have been working in health and social care for 35 years and have held senior roles in a number of national organisations providing housing, care and support for people with learning disabilities as well as mental health challenges. As well as leading culture and quality improvement programmes, I have worked for the Care Quality Commission as Head of Registration.

I am driven by a passion for human rights and the right of individuals to make choices about their lives. I love being instrumental in shaping and implementing improvements that lead to positive outcomes for the people we support.

Here at Consensus, I’m proud to be part of an organisation that puts supported individuals at the heart of decision-making and is truly focused on quality and enabling positive outcomes for people. Consensus is known to provide good, safe, person-centred services; my job is to help make sure that we continue to improve as Consensus grows.

Outside of work I…  try to keep fit by running and swimming. I love reading novels and catching up with my two daughters and their lives: one is a teacher and the other an actor.

“I enjoy bringing my experience to benefit my colleagues at Consensus, whether I’m helping to manage change, handle complex HR issues or develop company culture.”

Anja Carter

HR Director

I’ve worked for the Consensus since 2008. I joined as an HR Advisor before becoming Senior HR Business Partner, then Head of HR. During my career, I have worked across the private and public sectors, including an NHS Primary Care Trust, so I’ve provided strategic support to colleagues at all levels, from operational managers to members of senior management teams.

In my role it’s vital to be able to handle sensitive information and sensitive issues in line with policies and regulations. A calm, professional approach is also important in situations that can be emotionally fraught. I’m proud to have been a member of the Senior Management team since 2014, representing the areas of Human Resources, Learning and Development and Recruitment.

Outside of work I… love spending time with my husband and young son, planning holidays and enjoying days out. We recently moved back to Colchester from Bristol so we’re enjoying rediscovering Essex and Suffolk again.

“I think it’s important to be adaptable in social care as there’s constant change and movement. Regulations change, as have the needs of the people we support over the last decade and more.”

James Austin

Director of Referrals, Marketing and Partnerships

I’ve spent the last 20 years working in social care and a long time in business development and sales and marketing. My experience in health and social care covers a variety of fields: learning disabilities, mental health, drug and alcohol addictions, and public health.

Consensus is very focused on quality, and it was this that attracted me. It has a fantastic reputation for this and that’s very evident when I’m speaking to colleagues within the organisation. There’s a single-minded focus on providing person-centred support to people, and to be the best provider in our sector.

What commissioners are asking for has changed as a result. Consensus has adapted to the needs of the business and our stakeholders by creating my role and joining up the Referrals, Marketing and Partnership teams. It’s been a very positive experience.

Outside of work I… spend a lot of my time ferrying my son and daughter around to their different commitments. I’m a Stevenage FC fan and I also play various musical instruments. Playing music is my way of relaxing.

“Across the business everyone makes a difference, using knowledge and expertise to provide tailored, caring support for each individual, whatever their needs.”

Kieran Nott

Merger and Acquisitions Director

I’ve worked in healthcare for 20 years for organisations like Specsavers and Bupa Dental Care, and always in business development and acquisitions. In my role with Consensus, I look at how we can grow the business by providing our services in new places. By joining us, smaller providers benefit from the support and experience offered by our central support functions.

I am very driven to grow the business with quality acquisitions. Success will be when the new acquisitions integrate successfully into Consensus, meaning that the fantastic support we provide can be accessed more widely by individuals with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs.

I’m enjoying developing an in-depth knowledge of Consensus and the care sector itself. That includes visiting our services to see the outstanding level of support our teams provide. I’m very privileged to have joined an organisation that does such amazing work and supports people with complex needs to live full and fulfilling lives.

Outside of work I… try to keep pace with my children and our dog by going on regular runs! Weekends are mainly spent driving my children from one sporting activity to another, but I enjoy travelling when I get the opportunity.


“Working at Consensus enables me to have a positive impact on the lives of the individuals we support by developing robust local environments where they can be part of their community and maintain regular contact with friends and family.”

 Natalie Kennedy

Business Development Director

I’ve worked in the social care sector for 15 years and have always worked in development for various large private organisations, mainly ones supporting individuals with a learning disability, complex needs and/or mental health problems.

I work with operational colleagues and local authorities and CCGs, as well as the people we support, to define and deliver local service provision, particularly where there is an unmet need. I gain a huge sense of pride in my work helping to develop new community services which support individuals to lead a life they choose. In a previous role I saw people move into new, tailor-made services after they’d been living in a hospital setting for over 20 years and Consensus are continuing this drive with the new services they develop.

I’m passionate about developing services that are fit for purpose and fit for the future. Every person should be able to receive quality support and accommodation in their local area so that they enjoy the same opportunities as anyone else.

 Outside of work I… love taking part in different sports, including long distance running.