PET appoints new Chair

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06 December 2018

Elisabeth Davies has been named as the new Chair of Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), taking over the position from Alexandra Marks CBE.

A specialist in public policy, Davies has held a number of high-profile advice and leadership roles in the sector, including current appointments at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and General Pharmaceutical Council, and previously positions at Arthritis Care and VSO.

Davies says:

“It is a great privilege to be appointed to Chair PET, and to be joining an organisation that does so much. I sat at last week’s Carol Concert listening to the speakers and I was really struck by how life-changing and transformative prison education can be.”

While the focus of Davies’ work has been in the healthcare sector, she has also supported financial literacy work in HMP Wandsworth, and has looked at patient safety reporting in prisons.

In an interview with PET she says, “I was drawn to PET’s focus on the importance of the lived experience. It’s ever so important that you use the insight and evidence from people using your services to go back and improve them, and that you empower service users to influence those who have a say in commissioning.”

Davies takes up the position from Alexandra Marks, a judge and legal consultant who in 2017 received a CBE for her contribution to justice. Marks has made a significant impact on PET since she took on the role in 2012; from overseeing a large increase in the number of courses funded, to helping to grow the profile of the charity’s policy work. These achievements were marked last year when the PET’s Board were recognised in The Charity Governance Awards.

Marks says:

“What I’ve found most rewarding is being directly involved in the work of the organisation: meeting learners, policy makers, partners, and visiting prisons. That has been fascinating and life-enriching. I’ve got a lot out of it personally and I hope that I’ve been able to contribute in that way too.”

As part of her role, Marks also became the first Chair of the Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA), bringing 23 disparate organisations together to improve prison education. The PLA has since appointed an independent chair and counts over 100 members.

Davies says:

“Alexandra is a tough act to follow. Her commitment, understanding, diligence and knowledge – these were always unquestionable. But from meeting Alexandra, it’s her passion and absolute dedication that shines through. She has created a legacy that will last – I only hope I can replicate that.”

Rod Clark, Chief Executive at Prisoners’ Education Trust, says:

“On behalf of staff, trustees and patrons, we would like to pass on our immense gratitude to Alexandra, whose commitment, judiciousness and forward-thinking approach have helped the charity progress in huge strides, while providing a resolute foundation during changing times.

“In Elisabeth, we are incredibly lucky to have found a successor whose professional experience and personal warmth will help PET continue to grow and innovate, while staying committed to our cause – and to the people whose lives we to help transform through education.”

Click here to read the full interview with Alexandra Marks and Elisabeth Davies.


  • For interviews or further information please call Katy Oglethorpe, Communications Manager, on 020 3752 5677.
  • Since 1989, PET has supported prisoners to engage in rehabilitation through learning. The charity does this by providing advice and funding for around 3,000 people per year for courses in subjects and levels not generally available in prisons. PET also carries out research, informed by prison learners, to improve prison education policies.
  • For more information please visit:

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