ECL Board

The Board of Directors of the team at ECL.

Peter Fairley - Managing Director

Peter Fairley - Managing Director

Peter joined ECL as managing director in April 2023, a part-time role alongside his position as Director of Strategy Policy and Integration (Adult Social Care) with Essex County Council (ECC).​

Since 2017, Peter has led the Council’s work with NHS partners and integrated care systems, as well as managing the strategic planning for adult social care and leading its data, digital and technology agenda. He directed the nationally award-winning programmes for care technology transformation in adult social care in Essex, and the Connect transformation programme for improving outcomes for older people by improving hospital discharge outcomes and improving the effectiveness of intermediate care services. He has also overseen the £173m per year Better Care Fund plan with NHS partners to support improved outcomes for Essex residents via access to post-hospital discharge services and access to homecare services.​

Peter is the Essex County Council local authority partner member of the Mid and South Essex NHS integrated care board (ICB). He has also served as a member of the Suffolk and North East Essex integrated care partnership.​In previous roles at ECC, Peter has been Head of Corporate Policy and Strategy, leading Essex County Council’s corporate strategy work and policy work on the Care Act and health and social care integration, child poverty strategy and the Essex voluntary and community sector framework.

Peter has also previously been Head of the Leader’s and Cabinet Office, providing strategic advice and support to the then Leader of Essex County Council and their Cabinet. ​

Prior to joining ECC in 2008, Peter worked in a variety of public affairs consultancy roles advising both private and public organisations on their business strategies and has also worked in the House of Commons as a parliamentary researcher. He has excellent knowledge of both local and national political processes.​

Peter has a First Class degree in History from Cambridge University and in his spare time enjoys cooking, reading widely, doing artwork, and playing guitar. He is also a big fan of football.


Joe Coogan - Director of Operations

Joe Coogan - Director of Operations at ECL Board of Directors

Joe Coogan joined ECL as Director of Operations in August 2016. Joe has 20 years’ experience working in social care in a variety of roles as a provider, commissioner and leading social work teams. Joe has held senior leadership roles in the public, private and voluntary sector and is committed to providing excellent outcomes for people with social care needs.

Joe joined ECL from PwC where he was the lead consultant for social care, supporting transformation, integration and efficiency projects for councils and the NHS. Prior to that he was the Director of Operations for a charity called Kisharon that operated supported living services, wellbeing hubs, social enterprises, special needs schools/colleges, supported employment and integrated early years provision and was able to improve financial stability, whilst ensuring all services were rated outstanding or good by both the CQC and Ofsted.

Joe fulfilled the role as Assistant Director Transformation (Commissioning) at the London Borough of Havering for five years from 2008-2013 driving significant performance improvements and achieving savings through investments in prevention. For two years prior to joining Havering, Joe held the Head of Adults role at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham leading all social work teams and commissioning budgets.

In his spare time Joe is a keen sports person, playing football in the Essex veterans league, tennis and golf. His family supports guide dogs for the blind and act as puppy walkers, taking the young dogs in for a year to give them basic training and socialisation before they go to the main training centre at Woodford Green. Joe says ‘It’s always hard waving the dogs off when they leave but it is so rewarding when they qualify as fully trained guide dogs and help visually impaired people maintain their independence’.


Jenni Aylen, Director of People and Change

Jenni Aylen, Director of People and Change

Jenni joined ECL in March 2024 as Director of People and Change. She has 20 years’ experience working within HR in the health and social care sector.

She joined ECL from Saint Francis Hospice in Romford, where she was Director of People and Culture for two years. Prior to this she held a number of positions with Provide (formerly Mid Essex PCT). In her 11 years with Provide Jenni worked her way from HR Business Partner through to Head of HR, Assistant Director of HR and then as Assistant Director of Organisational Development and Talent.

She began her career in HR within the NHS, joining their management graduate programme in 2004 where she was based at Ipswich Hospital as an HR Advisor. While with the NHS she completed her diploma and master’s degree in human resource management.

Jenni believes organisations should ensure employees can deliver their best by providing a great work environment. She is passionate about inclusion and wellbeing.

She is a Mental Health First Aider and a Schwartz Rounds facilitator trained by The Point of Care Foundation. This training means she is an advocate for ensuring staff have safe spaces for connecting with colleagues to share experiences and discuss the emotional and social aspects of working in health and social care.

In addition to being passionate about health and wellbeing, Jenni is fascinated by what makes people tick, in addition to her HR degrees she also has a degree in Criminology and Forensic Science.

A mother of two, Jenni is a keen runner and ran the 2024 London Marathon in April which was her fourth marathon.


Michael McDonagh - Chairman

New Chairman

Michael joined ECL as Chairman of the Board in September 2019. He is a Fellow of Chartered Certified Accountants and has an extensive career with KPMG and more recently with Deloitte. At KPMG Michael held a number of senior positions including Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Executive Committee. Following this he held the position of Managing Director of Anchor Trust; the UK’s largest not-for-profit care provider and is currently a Non-Executive Director of Housing 21; a leading, not-for-profit provider of Retirement Housing. Michael is also a Trustee of Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.


Steve Bennett - Non Executive Director

Steve Bennett

Steve joined ECL in April 2021. He has 30 years’ senior human resources management experience in market leading organisations, including Duracell Inc, EMI Music plc, Esselte AB, and Laird Group plc. Between 2002 and 2016 Steve held Group Human Resources Director posts in large multi-site health & social care provider companies, including Care UK plc and The Lifeways Group.

Steve now operates his own HR interim, project, and consultancy services company. He is also a director of an international R&D infrastructure company, a trustee of a regional charity supporting disadvantaged children and families, and a trustee of a multi-academy trust of schools for children with social, emotional, and mental health needs.

Steve has an Honours degree in Business Studies, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.


Cllr Ian Grundy – Essex County Council Director

Cllr Ian Grundy