Message from the Chair: Changes at Validity (MDAC)

Phillippa Kaufmann QC, Chair, Validity (MDAC)Phillippa Kaufmann QC, Chair, Validity (MDAC) We, the Board and staff of Validity (MDAC), have important news about our organisation to share with you. After 15 years with the charity, the last ten as Executive Director, Oliver Lewis is moving on to pursue new opportunities.

Under Oliver’s leadership, the organisation has grown and matured into one with a truly global reach. We have:

  • Developed the world’s largest multi-country disability rights docket, including in Africa;
  • Helped put guardianship on the human rights map;
  • Won thirteen cases at the European Court of Human Rights;
  • Revealed child abuse and gender-based violence;
  • Initiated a multi-country project on inclusive education; and
  • Expanded the way in which courts and politicians deal with the rights of people with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities.

Oliver's decision to take on new challenges was reached following detailed discussion with the Board and both the Board and Oliver are united that this is a good moment for him to pass on the reins.  We look forward to tracking his successes wherever his career takes him. Equally, we are excited about the next chapter of Validity’s journey.

Our partnerships with numerous NGOs and lawyers have continued to grow.  In recent years, we have enhanced the capabilities of our small staff team through collaboration with several international law firms who regularly provide their services on a pro bono basis.

Just a note on the name change.  You have all known us as MDAC.  But in the weeks and months to come, as our rebrand is rolled out, you will come to know us as “Validity”.  The intention of the rebrand is to inspire and capture the charity’s intended outcome for its beneficiaries: to reverse the law’s labelling of people as incompetent and invalid.  We are incredibly grateful to Brand Union and their dedicated staff who have delivered the rebranding project on a pro bono basis.

Along with the transition in staff leadership and the rebrand, the Board is taking stock of the organisation’s structure and governance to ensure that it is best equipped to flourish in the years ahead.  While the Board completes its review, our extraordinarily able Operations Director, Steven Allen, will become our interim Executive Director to lead the transition at the staff level. Following the review process, the Board will appoint a permanent Executive Director.  

We are grateful for Oliver's leadership in helping the organisation to obtain a superlative record of achievement in using the power of law to protect the human rights of those most vulnerable to abuse, and we are confident that these changes will underpin an even stronger foundation for Validity to build on into the future.

We will keep you updated on our progress, but in the meantime, we would welcome any feedback, questions, and input you might have for Validity. 

MDAC, Validity
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