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Case Study: The SPARC charity: 2013 onwards

“I have supported the SPARC charity in  its efforts to develop  user-friendly “Accessible Information” for hard-to-reach groups like people with Learning Disabilities”. My input has focussed on networking with large providers like the NHS and Public Health and local authorities to help promote SPARCs innovative Real Comics and Films media which uses “pictures and not words” for people with limited reading skills”.

Sussex (NHS)


In Sussex, I led on several workstreams all of which required me to work with a range of stakeholders including NHS provider trusts, the local authority, over ten voluntary sector organisations, with experts by experience and with twenty primary care networks (PCNs). 


I commissioned an experts by experience co-ordinator, a lead voluntary sector organisation, reprocured a crisis house and led on the dementia agenda. My main focus was to lead on the development of the Mental Health Community Transformation Programme, this included the initial establishment of an emotional wellbeing service (EWS) across eleven PCNs. I also put the structures in place to build on the current EWS ready for it to roll out across all of the remaining PCNs in West Sussex. 


I worked with a providers to reduce health inequalities, including services for those who found themselves to be homeless.


In addition to my line management responsibilities, I provided advice and support to junior and senior colleagues across the entire system; the team worked both strategically and operationally.


Wokingham (Adult Social Care)


During my time at Wokingham, I was responsible for the development of the adult and older people's mental health and wellbeing strategy. The main emphasis of the strategy was twofold, prevention and no wrong front door. I worked with experts by experience and many provider organisations, both statutory and non-statutory. I also engaged with the wider public to consult on the proposed strategy and led the consultation events and publicity.


Liverpool (Adult Social Care)


As part of the social care commissioning team with Liverpool City Council, I led on developing new joint funding policies and procedures across a range of commissioning workstreams. This involved a series of “deep dives” into service areas resulting in the development of new and more efficient processes across the local authority and the NHS.  I was also part of a team looking at developing a new strategy and processes to reduce in-patient (acute) and care home admissions. In addition to updating adult social care polices, I also led on the update of all joint funding polices and the development of a new Section 117 policy. 


I wrote the draft adult social care learning disability strategy.


As the Covid 19 communication lead for adult social care in Liverpool, I developed processes for effective internal and external two-way communications.


London (NHS and Adult Social Care)


In London, I worked for three London boroughs and three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). As the head of the joint mental health commissioning team, I was responsible for overseeing all joint commissioning activities and individual placements as well as elements of in-patient activity. I was also the senior responsible officer (SRO) for the procurement of alternatives to day centres in one of the boroughs. As the SRO, I worked closely with those who used the services to agree acceptable alternatives which then required me to go out to the market to secure a range of appropriate offers.


I set up initiatives to reduce the number of in-patient rehabilitation placements by working with an NHS trust and the supported housing market.  By working with providers, I was able to commission alternatives to in-patent services, resulting in a better service for patients as well as bringing in significant savings for the CCG.


As the chair of three placement panels, I was responsible for agreeing placements, the funding and the follow-up. I further developed the section 117 policy across three London Boroughs.


Herefordshire (Public Health)


As the public health lead on the formulation of the mental health and wellbeing strategy, which also addressed health inequalities, I worked with a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies, including local businesses, GPs, schools, faith groups and the police. I identified one town to become a mental health friendly area, acting as a pilot site for the rest of Herefordshire.  In addition to the above partners, I was also supported by the Town Council who worked closely with me to help bring about some of the changes required. I also set up and led the group that brought about significant improvements to the mental health and wellbeing of many of the citizens of the town; this work was commended by the CQC and continues to develop today.


Merseyside and Cheshire (NHS)


In my role as a consultant, I worked in two large mental health trusts. Both assignments required me to develop patient pathways using a mixture of statutory and non-statutory services, this included some work with probation and with care homes.


I led an in-depth investigation into serious and untoward incidents in a secure unit resulting in the submission of recommendations.


I also took on a specialist lead role in supporting a tender application for one of the NHS Trusts who were pursuing a prison health contract.


Regional and National (NHS)


When working in the secure and specialist mental health commissioning team, I reintroduced positive behavioural support across the whole of the North West, (not just in secure services) resulting in less admissions to secure learning disability services and shorter in-patient stays; this required me to work with international as well as regional partners.


I set up multiagency groups in Cumbria to oversee and develop services for people with mental health, learning disabilities and/or autism who came into contact with the criminal justice system and /or forensic mental health services.  I also led on forensic learning disability secure services across four counties working with local partners to help them develop alternatives to in-patient services. I also had a lead national role in secure commissioning. 


I provided the commissioning support and secured the capital, for three new build forensic in-patient units. I worked with local commissioners to ensure community alternatives were also developed.


In my role in secure services, in addition to my line management duties and the development of local, regional and national strategies, I was responsible for monitoring and improving service delivery across NHS and private sector providers. I led as the commissioner, on most of the serious and untoward incident investigations across the secure estate.


When working for the Department of Health, I had the national lead on forensic learning disabilities. In this role I worked with criminal justice agencies, the NHS, local authorities, third sector organisations, government departments and with the office of the deputy prime minister on the autism bill. I implemented screening programmes for offenders with learning disabilities in prisons and worked with several police forces helping them establish pathways for those believed to have a learning disability or those on the autistic spectrum.


I commissioned the research which, for the first time, accurately identified the number of people with learning disabilities in the UK prison system. I was also a co-author of the North West strategy document “Breaking the Cycle”.


I attended several parliamentary committees and on one occasion I was asked to make a presentation to a subcommittee on the issues facing people with learning disabilities who found themselves in contact with the criminal justice system.


As the Chair of the Prison Health Commissioners Group, I contributed to the on-going health improvements across all North West prisons; this included the roll-out of more telemedicine, especially for Cat A prisoners.


I have made several keynote speeches both in the UK and abroad on issues relating to people with learning disabilities and their interface with the criminal justice system. I have also presented on the necessity to screen people for learning disabilities so that services can make any necessary reasonable adjustments required, in order to reduce health inequalities.


Cheshire (NHS)


I led on the development of mental health, substance misuse and learning disability strategies and commissioning across Cheshire which included the development of the acute liaison service and developing synergy across primary care based mental health, local authority and health authority commissioned services; this work included several public consultations. I also led on the initial phases of decommissioning a very large old mental health hospital, to replace it with purpose-built accommodation.

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