National Quality Improvement Taskforce for children and young people’s mental health inpatient services

The NHS Long Term Plan set out an ambitious programme to transform mental health services, autism and learning disability; with a particular focus on boosting community services and reducing the over reliance on inpatient care.

In autumn 2019, a National Quality Improvement Taskforce was established to improve current specialist children and young people’s inpatient mental health, autism and learning disability services in England.

The Taskforce seeks to make a rapid set of improvements in care over the next 18 months (through to mid-2021). The charter of the Taskforce further describes its aims, what it will look at, it’s working principles and how it relates to the wider context.

The Taskforce’s Independent Oversight Board is chaired by Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England. This will provide independent, expert advice and scrutiny on the work of the Taskforce.

The Delivery Group is chaired by John Lawlor OBE, the Chief Executive of NHS Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and senior responsible officer for the Taskforce.  This Delivery Group, made up of leaders from across the NHS and other key partners, will implement the Taskforce objectives.

How stakeholders can work with the Taskforce

The Taskforce will work closely with children, young people, and their families, who must be at the centre of our work to drive rapid improvements in inpatient services.

Several national stakeholders and experts by experience are represented on the Oversight Group and Delivery Group, and the Taskforce will draw on national and local organisations’ expertise and advice which will be essential to the Taskforce’s mission.

The Taskforce will be holding listening events and meeting patients, families and other organisations throughout the timeline of its work. If you have any questions about the Taskforce please contact

Membership of the Independent Oversight Group

The current membership of the Independent Oversight Group is detailed below, but this may change as the Taskforce draws on different expertise at different stages of its work.

  • Chair: Anne Longfield OBE, Children’s Commissioner for England
  • Robert Arnott, Director of Strategy, Social Mobility and Disadvantage, Department for Education
  • Sue Bailey, former President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
  • Dr Judy Eaton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director, Help for Psychology
  • Isabelle Garnett, expert by experience
  • Christine Lenehan, Director, Council for Disabled Children
  • Alice Miles, Director of Strategy and Policy, Children’s Commissioner’s office
  • Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive, National Autistic Society
  • Emma Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Young Minds