The National Secular Society is a democratic organisation, governed by an elected Council of Management. The day-to-day running of the organisation is delegated to the chief executive officer, who is supported by staff and volunteers.
Council of management
Keith Porteous Wood
Keith Porteous Wood was executive director of the NSS from 1996 - 2017. After retiring he was elected president.
Previously a finance director of several major companies, his professional background in finance and law also equipped him to build the NSS's financial security and parliamentary work.
He has promoted the NSS's agenda in Whitehall, the Westminster parliament and the Scottish and European Parliaments as well as extensively in the media. As well as remaining close to current campaigning, strategy and governance, he is active at the UN, promoting human rights, including those of victims of clerical abuse.
Josephine Macintosh works as a lawyer in London. She has represented the National Secular Society, as well as Humanists International and Center for Inquiry, at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva since 2012. Recently, her work at the UN has involved collaborating with Keith Porteous Wood on submissions focused on clerical child abuse to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Josephine also sits on the jury of the Fondation Veillon European Essay Prize awarded from Lausanne, Switzerland.
Richard Scorer works as a lawyer, specialising in representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse. In his work over the last 25 years he has represented hundreds of victims of clerical sex abuse and has also written extensively about abuse in religious settings - his book Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis was published by Biteback Books in 2014. He has been heavily involved in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA). Based in Manchester, he works nationwide. He has also been politically active in the past, serving as a local councillor and board member of various campaigning organisations.
Mike was born, raised and educated in Scotland, and now lives near the beautiful city of Bath. An economics graduate of the University of Dundee, he became a management accountant and plied that trade for almost 40 years in industry and the public sector. Latterly, he ran a small consultancy practice specialising in schools' funding issues in the maintained sector.
When he retired, he 'ran away' to join the theatre – attended an adult theatre school and has since operated, sporadically, as a professional actor and voice artist.
He has long been interested in the secularist agenda and looks to bring his professional expertise to assist the continued success of the Society.
Originally from Edinburgh, Eoin Carter is a doctoral researcher in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge, where he is completing a PhD on Richard Carlile and other pioneers of the British freethought movement. Alongside promoting awareness of secularism's long history, his work provides historical context to debates of secular interest in our own time, from freedom of speech and the right to offend to the ethical implications of emerging technologies.
Bob Forder is a very long term NSS member and retired teacher with a lifelong interest in secularist, radical and freethought history. He now acts as NSS historian and in that capacity, it is his aim to ensure future generations are aware of the courage, foresight and commitment of those who went before us and the great causes they espoused.
Sadikur is a local authority solicitor. He has a particular interest in how the law and secularism interact. He is keen to ensure that equality laws are applied in a way which treat all beliefs equally but does not give religious ideas extra protection. He is co-chair of the Secular Legal Forum and also sits on the scholarship committee.
He believes the most important upcoming campaigns will surround issues of free speech and blasphemy and will campaign to ensure that legal protections for free speech are not diluted in favour of speech deemed blasphemous or simply offensive.
Daniel James Sharp is Assistant Editor at The Freethinker and an independent writer who has published in Areo Magazine, Quillette, the Washington Examiner, Free Inquiry, and many other outlets. He also writes on Substack and is currently working on a book about Christopher Hitchens for Pitchstone Publishing. He has been interested in issues of religion and secularism for as long as he can remember and he is particularly passionate about resisting religious encroachments on the fundamental right of free speech.
Richard trained as a lawyer in the City. For most of his career he worked in multinational companies, where he had executive responsibility for legal affairs, governance, compliance, enterprise risk management, and sustainability. He is an accredited mediator and certified coach, and currently works with senior managers and executives in a variety of sectors.
He sees secularism as potentially offering a way for the individual, religion, and the state to flourish without detriment to any interest.
Dorothy Smith is a physics graduate. She subsequently worked for the Inland Revenue /HMRC for most of her career in Manchester, Cheshire, Hertfordshire and London. In the latter locations she ran tax offices as district inspector. For the final 15 years she concentrated on international matters and for some time ran a transfer pricing team, investigating multi nationals. Her experience has proved useful when addressing the wide range of issues that come before the NSS Council.
Dorothy has been on Council since 2015 and would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in a truly fair society. Within the NSS she is also on the staff sub-committee, acting as a bridge between the office team and Council.
Julius trained in Medicine specialising in Infectious Disease and Public Health. He worked in Zimbabwe and for WHO in Bosnia during the war. He moved into Higher Education becoming Vice-Chancellor at Kingston University. Julius was Deputy Chair of Ofqual and Chair of Ofsted. He now Chairs a large Multi Academy Chain, the Public Interest News Foundation and CoChairs Buckinghamshire Culture.
Julius has a long interest in issues around freedom of speech and was active in debates around Prevent and ensuring that a wide spectrum of views was heard. He believes that freedom to speak carries with it a duty to listen. As a believer in education and lifelong learning Julius has degrees in Medicine, Public Health, Psychology, Education and History of Art.
Chief Executive Officer
Stephen is our chief executive, responsible for day-to-day management of the organisation, and management of the staff team.
Stephen assumed the role of CEO in 2018 after spending ten years at the NSS in which oversaw much of the NSS's campaigning and public affairs work. Prior to joining the NSS Stephen held managerial roles in the retail and charitable sector. Stephen is a regular media commentator on the role of religion in politics and public life. He is also a keen ultramarathon runner.
Head of Campaigns
Megan Manson is head of campaigns at the NSS. She previously worked for the Japanese government promoting cultural exchange and language learning. She has long been active in local interfaith initiatives.
Head of Operations
Helen Nicholls is a law graduate. Whilst studying for her law degree she gained an interest in law and religion. She has previously worked for a human rights organisation and in business. She was an NSS member and volunteer before she joined the staff in 2017. In her spare time, she runs a monthly group for fans of the author Terry Pratchett.
Membership and Engagement Officer
Fódhla graduated from UCL in 2022 with a BSc in Social Sciences with Quantitative Methods. She lives in the Medway Towns in Kent.
Jack Rivington joined the NSS in 2022 and works as a Campaigns Officer. He graduated from The University of Manchester with a Masters degree in Philosophy and has a particular interest in linguistics and epistemology. He is a keen sailor and spends most of his spare time writing and producing music.
Alejandro worked as an NHS doctor before moving to Shanghai to tutor local students and study Mandarin. He has an MA in Medical Ethics and Law and special interests in abortion legislation and male circumcision. His recent application to Guinness World Records for fastest solve of a cryptic crossword while riding a unicycle was rejected due to a lack of 'existing competition'.