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. 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. Although originally scheduled to complete in March 2022, the Taskforce has been extended for an additional year through to March 2023.

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

The Delivery Group is chaired by Teresa Fenech, Executive Director of Nursing at Humber & North Yorkshire Partnership, 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 Independent 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.

If you have any questions about the Taskforce please contact


Membership of the Independent Strategic Oversight Group

The current membership of the Independent Strategic 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, (previously the Children’s Commissioner for England)
  • Sue Bailey, former President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Nicola Bartzis, expert by experience
  • Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
  • Andy Dempsey, Director of Partnerships and Strategy, Gloucestershire County Council
  • Laura Bond/Kate Yeung, Assistant Director, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Department of Education
  • Dr Judy Eaton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director, Help for Psychology
  • Emily Frith, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Children’s Commissioner’s Office
  • Christine Lenehan, Director, Council for Disabled Children
  • Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive, National Autistic Society
  • Emma Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Young Minds

Membership of the Taskforce Delivery Group

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

  • Teresa Fenech, Senior Responsible Officer (Interim), Humber & North Yorkshire Partnership
  • Jane Cannon, Expert by Experience
  • Isabelle Garnett, Expert by Experience
  • Wendy Minihinett, Expert by Experience
  • Michelle Eleftheriades, Professional Lead – Mental Health, Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • Andrew Lovegrove, Senior Consultant – Workforce Development and Transformation Expert, Skills for Health
  • Jemima Burnage, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals and Lead for Mental Health, Care Quality Commission
  • Ken Courtenay, Consultant Psychiatrist Intellectual Disability Chair, Faculty Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCoPsych)
  • Dr James Cusack, Director of Science, Autistica
  • Dr John Devapriam,  Medical Director, Worcestershire Health and Care, NHS Trust
  • Cathy Edwards, Clinical Programmes Director Specialised Commissioning, NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Professor Euan Halls, Consultant Nurse and Visiting Professor, Hails Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • Claire Lesko, Senior Associate – Compliance team, Convention are authentic. European Court of Human Rights
  • Flora Wilkie, Adviser – Policy at the Local Government Association, Local Government Association (LGA)
  • Sue Gale, Assistant Director Transforming Care
  • Ben Higgins, Chief Executive, BILD
  • Tina Irani, Consultant Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatrist; Clinical Lead – In patient General Adolescent; Co-Chair CAMHS CRG, Low Secure and Medium Secure CAMHS – Southern Health, NHS England
  • James McClean, Deputy Chief Nurse, Health Education England (HEE)
  • Phil Brayshaw, Deputy Head of Children and Young People, Learning Disability and Autism Team, NHS England
  • Sarah Nardone, Head of Service (North & South Kesteven Locality), ADCS
  • Tony Romero, CEO, Cygnet
  • Dan Scorer, Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Mencap,
  • Ailsa Swarbrick, Head of Perinatal and Children and Young People Mental Health, NHS England
  • Meredith Teasdale, Strategic Director – Together for Families, ADCS
  • Jim Thomas, Programme Head for Workforce Innovation, Skills for Care
  • Emma Wadey, Deputy Director  Mental Health Nursing, NHS England
  • Moira Wilson, Care and Health Improvement Adviser, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)
  • Julie Godfrey, Head of Programme Management Office, NHS England
  • Kate Bedford, Senior Project Manager, NHS England
  • Michael Moruzzi, Communication & Engagement lead, NHS England

Parent Council Members

The Parent Council was established to ensure families can inform and contribute to the work of Taskforce.  The Council meets monthly and all the members have direct experience of caring for children and young people with learning disabilities who have experienced NHS mental health in patient services.

Michelle Dennison-Hall: Michelle is the parent of a daughter with autism and complex mental health difficulties. She is passionate about being part of the drive to provide good community and locally driven initiatives to support young people to prevent hospital admission. Her experience in healthcare and education has given her a desire to empower young people and their families to access services and education at all stages of their journey. She believes that collaboration and transparency between services for young people and their families is crucial to successful outcomes for all.

Hashim Duale MBE: Hashim is the father of an autistic son with learning disabilities who has experienced inpatient services. His extensive work in community health development in Leicester has enabled him to utilise his passion for ensuring minority communities have access to high quality services and are not disadvantaged by language, cultural and other barriers. Hashim is bringing this experience to the Taskforce to help improve inpatient services for all. He was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to the community.

Nina Ni: Nina is the mother of an autistic person. She is a campaigner for better care for autistic people and has met many parents in similar situations to herself. Nina wants to work together with NHS professionals to shape the policy for autistic peoples’ care in inpatient units in the future. She is also part of a Mencap group for family members being consulted around the care of vulnerable people.

Claire Page-Jones: Claire is the mum of a daughter with complex mental health difficulties. Her experiences of inpatient care have given her a passion and desire to be a part of helping shape, change and improve these services, so that others do not have to go through similar experiences. She also runs parent/carer support groups in partnership with Liverpool & Sefton CAMHS, and is involved in participation work within these services.

Kirsten Peebles: Kirsten is the parent of an autistic son and is Co-Chair of the NHS England Working Policy Group for Seclusion and Long-Term Segregation. She also works with the Care Quality Commission to improve regulation of closed cultures and restrictive practices, and works part time with the National Autistic Society in their new Inpatient Mental Health Casework Service supporting autistic people (and their families) who are detained or at risk of detention to hospital.

Jemma Perkins: Jemma is the mother of a daughter with Anorexia Nervosa and OCD. She is passionate about using her experiences of in-patient care to improve these services for children and young people. She also has a role with the Royal College of Psychiatrists on an Expert Reference Group and is driven by a desire to help prevent mental health issues in children and young people from an early stage.