The NHS has appointed former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield to help transform the care of children and young people with learning disability and autism.
As the new independent chair of the Learning Disability and Autism Children and Young People’s Steering Group, Anne will champion the rights of children and young people to ensure they get the support they need at the right time and work closely with the ministerial led ‘Building the Right Support Board’.
Claire Murdoch, national director of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism welcomed the appointment and said: ‘Anne has shown remarkable commitment and dedication to improving the lives of children and young people and is ideally placed to continue this work, ensuring the needs of this vitally important group are highlighted and prioritised so their outcomes are improved.’
Anne has more than 30 years of experience working in the children’s sector and recently ended her six-year tenure as the children’s commissioner for England where she advocated for and championed the rights, wellbeing and safeguarding of children and young people.
She has also spent time in the prime minister’s Strategy Unit at the Cabinet Office developing and shaping the agenda for children and families.
Anne Longfield said: ‘I am delighted to have been invited to chair the Learning Disability and Autism Children and Young People’s Steering Group and to work with the Building the Right Support Board.
‘This is a time of change and my role will be to ensure that priorities for children and young people are understood and addressed.
‘I hope that together we will make real progress and difference to the lives of children and young people with a learning disability and autism and their families.’
Anne will also continue to oversee the work of the task force for children and young people’s mental health, learning disability and autism inpatient services, as chair of the Independent Oversight Board.
The task force is driving forward a programme of measures to improve the quality of inpatient services.
Teresa Fenech, director of Nursing and Quality Improvement taskforce said: ‘Anne has chaired the Oversight Board for the Taskforce since its inception and we are so pleased she will also now chair the Learning Disability and Autism children and young people’s steering group.
‘The work of the two groups have strong alignments and this will only support our work as we move forward at pace to ensure young people receive the high-quality inpatient care that they deserve.’
Anne takes over from Jane Ramsey, chair for the past four years, who stepped down in December.
Photo Credit – Markus Spiske