Children and young people mental health, learning disability and autism services

This Clinical Reference Group (CRG) covers secure and non-secure children and young people mental health, learning disability, autism and eating disorders services.


The CRG has a robust workplan for the next two years (2023 to 2025), providing expert clinical leadership to enable and support:

  • The effective delegation of children and young people mental health services, nationally, regionally and through NHS-led provider collaboratives, to integrated services within integrated care system regional areas.
  • Enabling delivery of seamless community-based care, reducing reliance in all but the most complex cases for treatment in hospital settings.
  • Ensuring inequalities are identified and addressed.
  • Increasing personalisation and technology-based approaches to care modalities.

The key delivery areas cover:

  • measuring and improving quality
  • improving value and reducing unwarranted variation
  • effective commissioning
  • transformation
  • development of the new clinical model and service specification.

The work programme of the CRG is discharged through the following working groups:

  • Quality and Data
  • Strategic Oversight Group
  • Provider Collaborative Clinical Forum
  • Children and Young People Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Services Transformation Steering Group.

Clinical Reference Group membership

  • National Clinical Director: Prathiba Chitsabesan (FRCPsych)
  • Lead Commissioner: Andrew Simpson
  • Deputy Director of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Quality: Liz Durrant
  • Senior Programme Lead: Naomi Price
  • Clinical Members: Cathy Lavelle, Emma Blake, Gillian Combe, Guy Northover, Hannah Mann, John O’Brien, Kathryn Currah, Kay Haynes, Nancy Bostock, Nicola Lawrence, Nina Champaneri, Rafik Refaat and Tina Irani
  • Patient and Public Voice Representatives: Anne Beresford, Hannah Sharp and Kirsten McLoughlin

Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Inpatient Quality Transformation Programme

The CRG are working closely with the Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Inpatient Quality Transformation Programme which was established to support cultural change and a new model of care across all NHS mental health, learning disability and autism inpatient settings. In partnership with young people and families, clinicians, systems, providers, partners and building on existing positive practice across the country, we have been exploring different therapeutic offers, including community-based alternatives to admission and a culture within inpatient care that is safe, personalised and enables patients and staff to flourish.

The CRG is currently in the process of reviewing and amending the service specifications that support these services to realise this change. These changes will be fully engaged and publicly consulted on when ready.

Getting involved with clinical reference groups

NHS England welcome the involvement of interested members of the public and health care staff in the work of the CRGs and is keen to work with all stakeholders including individual patients and carers, charities, patient groups, staff from service providers and commercial organisations.

If you are interested in offering your views on service transformation and new service specifications and receiving updates on our progress, please register as a stakeholder.

Share your views on these services

In addition to having experts by experience on our clinical reference group, we also welcome views from parents, carers and families of children and young people who access these services, as they have a vital contribution to make to the commissioning process. If you would like to share your views or give feedback, please email


A key part of the CRG’s work is the delivery of service specifications. These are the tools used by the 7 regions and 19 local provider collaboratives to deliver services.

Service Specifications

Service specifications are important in clearly defining the standards of care expected from organisations funded by NHS England to provide specialised care. The specifications have been developed by specialised clinicians, professionals, commissioners, experts by experience (patients, carers, families), and public health representatives to describe both core and developmental service standards. Core standards are those that all funded providers should be able to demonstrate, with developmental standards being those which may require further changes in practice over time to provide excellence in the field.

The following service specifications fall within the scope of this CRG:

 Get in touch

For any questions or queries relating to the work of the Children and Young People Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Services CRG, please contact