Our Team

Senior Team

Liz Newbronner (Director) has a particular interest in the organisation and delivery of services and the ways in which service users, carers and staff can shape the services they use or work within.  She has a Masters degree in health and social services management and over ten years experience in NHS senior management.  Liz has held a number of NHS management positions in mental health, community and older people’s services, including general manager of community and priority Services for a large NHS Trust.  She worked for five years as a senior research fellow at the University of York, and was a co-director of Acton Shapiro Consultancy and Research for twelve years. She continues to work with colleagues from the University as a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences and on a number of joint projects with the Social Policy Research Unit.  She is also studying part time for a PhD in Health Sciences at the University of York.

Martin Baxter (Senior Information Analyst) has extensive experience of quantitative data analysis, using Excel, Access and SPSS, and specialises in analysing healthcare data and the use of national data sets.  He has a degree in mechanical engineering, a postgraduate certificate in education (with 10 years’ experience teaching in secondary schools), and a Masters Degree in Information Processing from the University of York.  Before becoming part of the Firefly team, Martin worked for ten years as a Senior Information Analyst and Consultant with Acton Shapiro. Martin is also Chair of the Sight Support Ryedale Board of Trustees, a local charity for sight impaired people.

Rachel Borthwick (Senior Researcher) is a qualified nurse and midwife, with degrees in architecture and midwifery from London University and a Master of Research degree in health and social care from the University of Hull. She has extensive experience working in clinical settings, first as a staff nurse in London and then as a midwife in London and Hull. Rachel has worked as a Research Assistant in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Hull where, most recently, she was involved in research looking at pharmacists’ involvement in shared decision making. She worked for nearly seven years as a Senior Researcher with Acton Shapiro, before moving to Firefly in 2011. She is a highly experienced qualitative researcher and has been involved in a wide range of research and evaluation projects for a number of public, academic, voluntary and private sector organisations.

Ruth Chamberlain (Senior Researcher) has a special interest in disability and carers’ work and a particular knowledge of diversity and equality issues, including the requirements of equalities impact assessments. She has a Masters degree in applied social studies, a Masters degree in women’s studies, a PGCE, a diploma in social work and is a registered social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council. She has more than 15 years of experience in social services and the voluntary sector. She has worked in the voluntary sector at a local and regional level, within organisations supporting disabled people and people with dementia. In local government Ruth has worked as an equalities adviser, and operated in social services policy and planning, with particular focus on older people, disabled people and carers. More recently she has undertaken work with North Yorkshire County Council to support the development of their multi-agency dementia strategy. She was a Senior Researcher with Acton Shapiro before becoming part of the Firefly team.


Jane Maddison is a freelance researcher and evaluator. Her interests lie in improving service experiences and outcomes for people of all ages affected by chronic illness or disability, through helping organisations to understand ‘what works’ and how to improve practice.  She has also facilitated service improvement work and supported service user participation in several projects.  She draws on over 30 years’ experience of working in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors: in research, teaching, senior management and finance. She has a BA in Sociology and Social Administration and a Cert Ed. in Further Education. She spent eleven years as a Research Fellow in the Social Policy Research Unit and four years with Acton Shapiro (the forerunner of Firefly) as a Senior Researcher.  She has worked on national and local projects for a diverse client group, including the Department of Health, Local Authorities, NHS bodies and organisations in the third sector (eg Social Care Institute for Excellence; The Stroke Association). Jane is an Associate with Firefly and a Visiting Research Fellow with SPRU.

Diana Sanderson has worked as a health economist for almost eighteen years, initially at York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) at the University of York and latterly working on a freelance basis.  She has a strong interest in services for older people and housing provision and she has recently undertaken the economic analysis for a project on retirement communities funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation with colleagues at the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York.