About Us

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In September 2015 we launched our new organisation, Novus, as a response to feedback from colleagues, partners and stakeholders.

The introduction of our not-for-profit social enterprise followed 20 years of operating as The Manchester College, during which time we became the market leader in offender education, training and employability services.

As a standalone organisation within the LTE group, we will build on our proud history whilst strengthening our position as experts in the sector. In this video, Managing Director Peter Cox and Chief Executive John Thornhill guide you through Our Story.

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Mission, Vision & Values

The UK market leader in offender education, training and employability services.

It is our mission to improve lives and economic success through learning and skills. We are of the firm and passionate belief that education can change lives, so we take great pride in raising the aspirations of learners to increase employability and reduce re-offending.

We are dedicated to transforming the lives and economic potential of offenders by providing them with the pinnacle of offender education, training and employability services, regardless of their background. Delivering learning and skills in more than 60 sites in the UK, we give offenders the knowledge, self-esteem and confidence to thrive in the world of work. Working with key partner organisations we will continue to strive to make a difference.

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Some of Our Senior Team

Managing Director
Peter Cox

Peter joined us in 1994 and has held several senior positions within the organisation during this time, prior to beginning his current role of Managing Director. With a background in business development, Peter held the position of Vice Principal of offender learning. He was promoted to Director of Commercial Development in 2013.

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Chief Operating Officer
Barbara McDonough

Barbara is Director of Justice Services. She joined the organisation in 1993 at HMP Liverpool. In 2003 she moved to a regional role in offender learning. Barbara has considerable experience in quality and shaping curriculum, and has recently led the mobilisation of the London OLASS contract.

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Director of Justice Development
Mark Oldfield

Mark joined us in December 2014 to head up our new Business Development Team. Prior to joining us, Mark was a Bid Director with Serco for six years where he and his team were very successful in winning a number of Prison and Through the Gate bids. Before moving to the UK, Mark helped to mobilise and run Serco’s first prison in Australia.

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Director of Performance
Pat Walker

Pat joined the team in 2009. Before taking up his current post as Director of Performance, leading on quality and performance, he held a number of roles including Operations Manager, Regional Director and Director of Quality and Curriculum. Pat has worked in prison education for more than a decade.

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Our Governors

Cllr Sue Murphy CBE

Sue has been an elected member of Manchester City Council since 1995. She is a Labour and Co-operative Party Councillor, representing Brooklands Ward in Wythenshawe. She is also Deputy Leader of the Council, and has held that position since 2010.

Sue brings extensive experience across key areas: the regional skills sector, public sector reform and the devolution agenda. Sue was made a CBE in the New Year’s Honours 2016 for her political and public service.

Sue is also a member of the Local Government Association's Resources Board and leads on European Funding for the LGA, as well as Employment and Skills. She is also chair of trustees of MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health).

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External member
Monica Brij

Monica is a partner at Nabarro LLP. She specialises in commercial property and has some 15 years of experience in this field: more particularly in complex real estate and development projects.

Monica began her legal career in London, working at Linklaters and Macfarlanes before relocating to Manchester in 2007. Monica studied at The Queen’s School Chester, The University of Cambridge and York Law School.

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External member
Frances Done CBE

Between 1991 and 1998 Frances Done served as a Director of Finance and later Chief Executive of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council.

From 2003 to 2006 Frances was Managing Director for Local Government, Housing and Criminal Justice at the Audit Commission with responsibility for the Commission’s audit and inspection work in relation to local government in England.

Frances is a Chartered Accountant whose career has spanned public, private and third sectors. Frances served as Chair of the Youth Justice Board between 2008 and 2014.

Frances was also Chief Executive of Manchester 2002 - the Organising Committee of the successful XVII Commonwealth Games.


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External member
Philip Johnson

Philip was previously a senior partner in the Deloitte UK firm. He was also an elected member of the Deloitte UK Board of Partners.

Philip was the President of the Federation of European Accountants. He was also a member of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board Consultative Advisory Group and the International Ethics Standards Board Consultative Advisory Group. Philip is currently a member of the Standing Advisory Group of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in the US.

Philip was a non-executive director of Yorkshire Building Society, where he also chaired the Audit Committee. He is a seconded member of the Audit Committee of Wellcome Trust and is a non-executive director of Lakeland Limited. He also chairs the board of governors of Cheadle Hulme School.


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External member
Barry Lynch

Barry retired as Chairman and CEO of The Sutton Group after spending 38 years building up the group and employing more than 800 people.

Until retirement, Barry was a Fellow of both The Chartered Institute of Secretaries and The Institute of Directors. After his retirement he retained the Chair of The Riverside Charitable Trust Ltd.

Barry is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Companies of Pattenmakers in The City of London and is also a Freeman of the City of London.

Barry is also a governor of Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School where he Chairs the Buildings and Health and Safety Committees.

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External member
Kate Macdonald

Kate has a degree in English language and literature. In 1986, Kate returned to university to train as a probation officer and qualified with a CQSW in 1988. In 1989 she was awarded an MA (econ).

Kate’s career was in the Greater Manchester Probation Service for the next fifteen years where she held a variety of roles before becoming District Manager responsible for Stockport and Trafford.

In 2003, Kate moved to Stockport Council as Head of Youth Offending Services she then later held the post of Head of Youth Offending in Manchester.

In May 2011, Kate moved to the voluntary sector where she was Chief Executive of the Young People’s Support Foundation.

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Equality and Diversity

Novus is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation, where all members of our community are treated with respect and dignity.

We aim to create a culture of diversity within our community, providing a dynamic working and learning environment, where all members are valued for their contribution and individuality.

Novus is committed to working in an inclusive way with all the communities in which we are geographically located and to developing a workforce and learner community that reflects the UK’s rich diversity and vibrancy.

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Get in Touch

Please submit your enquiry using the form below and a Novus representative will respond to you.

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Partner with us

Novus is proud to have built successful and effective partnerships that work to the benefit of over 65,000 learners annually.

From the long-standing working relationships to the more recent partnerships we have forged, we are delighted to join forces in transforming the lives of children, young people and adults through the provision of high quality learning and employability skills.

Working with the Ministry of Justice, the Youth Justice Board and the National Offender Management Service as well as a wide range of visionary charities and organisations, we strive to raise our learners’ aspirations, support them back into purposeful activity, prepare them for the world of work and consequently reduce the risk of reoffending.

Our partners offer crucial strategic input into the delivery of our services and provide an insight into their sector, ensuring Novus evolves and our work remains of the highest quality.

We are always open to new and innovative ways to extend our reach and put even more people on the path to a crime-free future, so if you are interested in partnering with us please get in touch.

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