Mental health chief at Care UK joins CentreForum Mental Health Commission

25 September 2013

CentreForum is pleased to announce that Dr Alison Rose-Quirie has agreed to join its independent Mental Health Commission as a commissioner.

Dr Rose-Quirie currently heads the mental health services division of Care UK. She is actively involved in shaping national mental health policy and is chair of the Independent Mental Health Sector Alliance and an active member of the Mental Health Network at the NHS Confederation. She represents the Alliance on the Ministerial Advisory Group on Mental Health, the IS Reference Group and Future Forum working groups.

The Mental Health Commission is chaired by former care minister and CentreForum author Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP.

Commenting on the appointment of Dr Rose-Quirie as a commissioner, Paul Burstow said:

“We are delighted that Alison has agreed to join the important work of the commission. Her expertise in the field of mental provision will greatly enhance our analysis and findings as we progress. In particular, Alison brings significant insight to the deliberations of the commission through her representative role as chair of the Independent Mental Health Sector Alliance.”

Dr Rose-Quirie commented:

"I am absolutely delighted to accept the Commissions invitation to join them in this vital work. The independent sector shares many of the views of other mental health providers but also has a unique perspective to offer the Commission. It is gratifying that IMSHA members are finally being recognised for the contribution we are very keen to make to ensuring excellent service for all those we work for and with.

I very much look forward to working with Paul and the other eminent Commissioners to consider wide ranging evidence in the evaluation of the current strategy."

Through the Mental Health Commission, CentreForum will set out a liberal approach to mental health care, and evaluate the effectiveness of and progress made by the government's mental health strategy 'No Health Without Mental Health'.

The commission is currently seeking evidence to support its deliberations from a wide range of institutions, health professionals, service users and from the general public. For further information please visit the ‘call for evidence pages’ of the CentreForum Mental Health Commission website and follow us on twitter @CFMentalHealth.


For information about CentreForum's Mental Health Commission, including how to submit evidence, please click here.

Dr Alison Rose-Quirie spent 25 years in the custodial Sector, starting on an accelerated training scheme as a Prison Officer in HMP Holloway.  Alison was the first female Manager to work at HMP Wandsworth in 1987 paving the way for today’s multi sex staffing across the Prison Service.

She left the Public Sector Prison service in 1992 to join Group 4 in the first private sector Prison Management contract in the UK at HMP Wolds.  Leaving Wolds as the Prison Director, Alison went on to commission and open a 600 bed PFI Prison in the Midlands before moving into Business Development eventually becoming Managing Director of International Service Development for GSL Care and Justice Division.

Alison left the criminal justice sector to manage the Secure and Step Down Service Division of the Priory Group in 2007, fulfilling a long term ambition to seek to provide an appropriate and timely care pathway for forensic patients both within the Criminal Justice System and within Secure Hospital settings. She now heads the Mental Health Services division of Care UK, a large national company that provides comprehensive health and social care services, including prison healthcare, and remains committed to improving the lives of those less fortunate. Alison is actively involved in shaping national mental health policy and is Chair of the Independent Mental Health Sector Alliance and an active member of the Mental Health Network the NHS Confederation. She represents the Alliance on the Ministerial Advisory Group on Mental Health. The IS Reference Group and Future Forum Working Groups.

Alison has a Law degree from UCW, an MBA, a PhD in prison management and has completed the Cabinet Office Top Management Programme. She is also a developing triathlete.

England needs an Older People's Commissioner says former care minister

10 September 2013

- Whitehall based commissioner would challenge ageism and spearhead "future proofing" of policy
- Proposal backed by Paul Burstow MP, Baroness Bakewell, Esther Rantzen and Sarah Rochira, the Older People's Commissioner for Wales

Older people in England need an advocate to challenge ageism and encourage the government to do more to prepare for an ageing society, a new report edited by Paul Burstow MP argues.

The report 'Giving older people a voice', published by the think tank CentreForum, says that England should follow the example set by Northern Ireland and Wales in establishing an Office of an Older People's Commissioner. It recommends that the Care Bill currently moving through Parliament should be amended to enable the role to be constituted with appropriate statutory powers.

The Whitehall based commissioner would be responsible for "fighting [older people's] corner in policymaking circles, challenging discrimination, championing the contribution to society and the economy, and spearheading the future proofing of English policy development across government to prepare for the challenges posed by an ageing society".

Earlier in the year, the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change reported that the country is "woefully unprepared" for the growing pensioner population. The government responded by asking its chief scientist to conduct a further review, an outcome which prompted the chair of the Lords committee to quip that the government was "wilfully unprepared".

In the introduction to 'Giving older people a voice', former care minister Paul Burstow argues that the creation of an Older People's Commissioner for England will address the committee's concerns over government inaction on ageing and "should form part of any serious strategy to age proof the UK".

Further down the report, Labour peer Baroness Bakewell draws on her experience as older persons' 'tzar' under the previous government. She complains that the informal nature of this position, and its lack of resonance along Whitehall corridors, made it impossible to tackle the many complaints that passed before her. "I could write sympathetic letters... But I felt totally inadequate to answer what is clearly a desperate public need [for an Older People's Commissioner]", she says.

Joining the call for an Older People's Commissioner in England, Esther Rantzen warns that ministerial responsibility for issues affecting older people is too diffuse. In her foreword to the report, the ChildLine founder urges a more "holistic" approach to policy, highlighting the creation of the Children's Commissioner as a workable precedent.

Finally, Sarah Rochira, the Older People's Commissioner for Wales, explains the positive difference she believes her role has made to older people in Wales. The report concludes that the advocacy elements of the Welsh role, which include promoting the rights and interests of older people and challenging discrimination, can "clearly be translated into the English context".

Paul Burstow MP said:

"Older people need a powerful voice, someone who listens to and acts on their concerns. Too often our ageing population is presented as a looming crisis. Successive governments have overlooked the huge contribution of older people and failed to prepare for the rapid ageing of the population. It is time that changed."

"Older People's Commissioners in Wales and Northern Ireland are already making a difference. Older people in England deserve their own champion and should not be treated as second class citizens. The Care Bill currently going through Parliament is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss to legislate for an Older People's Commissioner for England."

Baroness Bakewell said:

"Plenty of people have ideas about caring for the old. But who is representing what the old themselves think and want? That's the job of an Older People's Commissioner; that's why we need one now."

Esther Rantzen said:

"Every survey of older people reflects the fact that they are not consulted even when decisions are made that vitally affect them. They are not valued and treated with respect. And yet our nation, our families, charities, cities and villages could not function without their contribution. It is time they are appropriately, adequately represented with an Older People's Commissioner. They deserve no less."

Sarah Rochira, the Older People's Commissioner for Wales, said:

"We are a nation of older people, which is to be celebrated. Older people bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as real economic value, to our nation. However, many older people feel they have been marginalised, feel that they don't have a voice that is listened to and that the issues that matter to them are not being dealt with effectively."

"My job as Older People's Commissioner for Wales is to stand up and speak out for older people and to make sure that those who run our services, as well as our national and local government, understand and act upon the issues that matter to them. Getting it right for older people is not just a moral issue; it goes to the heart of public service. When we get it right for older people, we get it right for everybody."


The report 'Giving older people a voice: the case for an Older People's Commissioner for England' edited by Paul Burstow MP can be accessed by clicking on this link.


GCSE results day: time to overhaul school league tables

22 August 2013

- Proposed GCSE 'threshold measure' retains incentives to 'game system'
- Need for new measure that captures the achievement of all pupils, not some

CentreForum on GCSE results day is pushing for a revolution in the way secondary school performance is measured.

In a report supported by the education company Pearson and championed by Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, the think tank says that schools should be ranked in league tables according to the progress they enable their pupils to make.

Current league tables rank schools in England on how many of their pupils achieve five GCSE grades at A*-C. But this measure has been widely condemned on the grounds that it encourages schools to focus on pupils at the C/D borderline at the expense of everybody else. The measure is particularly damaging for pupils in the bottom 20% or 'tail of underachievement', who leave secondary school with literacy and numeracy skills below the level expected of an 11 year old.

Earlier in the year, the government announced plans to replace the headline 'five A*-C' measure with two new measures: an eight subject progress measure, reflecting pupils' development over time, and a new threshold measure. The latter is intended to capture the proportion of pupils who get C grades or better in the core subjects of English and maths. The report models and tests both measures against real 2012 school data.

CentreForum welcomes the new progress measure, having worked with the Department for Education to develop it, but warns that the new threshold measure will create the same perverse incentives and 'gaming' behaviours as the existing 'five A*-C' measure.

The report urges government to drop the proposed threshold measure and instead enhance the progress measure by giving double weighting to the grades pupils achieve in English and maths.

The report argues that league tables based on this new measure will:

  • allow parents to judge a school not on what some of its pupils achieve but on how much all of its pupils learn;
  • encourage teachers to do what comes naturally - help every child;
  • shine a light on those "poor, unseen children" recently identified by Ofsted and hidden by the existing and proposed threshold measures;
  • allow government to hold schools to account using a measure that works with rather than against its two main objectives: raising outcomes for all and closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils and the rest.

Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, said:

"I am very supportive of these proposals developed by CentreForum. If you create a system with incentives, you can't blame people and institutions for responding to them. League tables are a real driver of school behaviour and we must make sure we get them right."

"Retaining a threshold measure based on the percentage of pupils achieving a C grade in English and maths would be a serious mistake."

"CentreForum recommends that the threshold measure should be abolished and replaced by an accountability system which would give double weighting to pupils' grades in English and maths within a progress measure. This has the potential to offer the best of both worlds. It will mean schools are judged on the how much help they offer each and every pupil whilst still emphasising the importance of these core subjects."

Report author Chris Paterson said:

"Getting the measure that drives league tables right could be the single most important education reform of the coalition government. A progress measure allows a fair comparison between schools with very different intakes. It also drives an equal focus on every pupil. Retaining a threshold measure, however, will continue to hurt those at the bottom, diverting attention away from those who need it most - the underperforming 'tail'."

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of ASCL, said:

"It is crucial that the incentives created by any new headline measures are thoroughly tested if we are to avoid simply repeating the problems of the past. This report is important because it begins to do just that. I points towards something ASCL has long argued."

"Firstly, the fairest way to judge schools is on the progress pupils make. Secondly, the 'cliff edge' nature of any threshold measure will continue to have damaging unintended consequences."

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson, said:

"Many observers agree that the current accountability system wrongly encourages participants to focus on the achievements of the few rather than the many."

"We should be ambitious enough to create an accountability system that reflects, as closely as possible, all the ingredients that we know make a good school. CentreForum's proposals value how far a learner has come, not just where they end up."


The CentreForum report 'Measuring what matters: secondary school accountability indicators that benefit all' by Chris Paterson can be accessed via this link.

'Teach First' inspires new approach to Further Education

25 July 2013

Industry professionals should be seconded to Further Education (FE) colleges to train and support vocational learners, a new report by CentreForum suggests.

Launched at a high profile event tomorrow (Thursday), the report examines the case for one day a week teaching secondments, drawing on the experience of Teach First and findings of the Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning earlier in the year.*

The report says that a national secondment scheme dubbed 'Train Too' will deepen relationships between colleges, employers and employees, while offering a low risk opportunity to explore the practice of dual professionalism - or teaching and working at the same time.

It warns that at present only around 11% of teaching staff at FE colleges work in their chosen profession. There is also a "dangerous" gap between how industry, the FE sector and learners perceive the employment market, it says.

The report praises the coalition government's drive to increase the availability of apprenticeships but points out that many vocational learners still rely entirely on FE colleges for their tuition. It argues that 'Train Too' will help narrow the gap in quality between college based learning and the best apprenticeships.

Professor Alison Wolf CBE, who led the Wolf Review on vocational education, said:

"This report offers practical and excellent ideas for improving the quality of vocational education in this country. As Frank McLoughlin emphasised in his Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning report to the government, excellent provision requires close links between industry professionals and students."

"Creating and expanding these links is a priority but also a major challenge for colleges and governments. 'Train Too' offers a route forward and will, I hope, be welcomed across the political spectrum and translated into official policy with alacrity."

Report co-author James Kempton said:

"We all know we don't do enough to prepare people for work properly. Putting more industry experts in Further Education classrooms will transform vocational learning, offering up to date knowledge and inspiring real life experience. Colleges are desperate to work with industry in this way."

Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Executive Director at the 157 Group of Further Education Colleges, said:

"I am pleased to support this excellent piece from CentreForum. Based, as it is, on many very intelligent conversations with both providers of vocational education and employers, it sets out the case for an organised scheme of teaching secondments for the best in industry, and details a set of values which must be at the heart of any such programme."


*The Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (CAVTL), led by Frank McLoughlin CBE, published its final report in March 2013.

The CentreForum report 'Train Too: industry secondments into Further Education' by James Kempton and Sam Tomlin can be downloaded.

Key recommendations from report

  • FE colleges should be supported in their efforts to improve the quality of vocational education.
  • While there are examples of excellent relationships between some employers and some FE colleges, more opportunities should be created for industy professionals to share their skills and expertise with the next generation of the workforce by teaching in FE alongside their own jobs.
  • A national secondment scheme should be established to enable industry professionals to teach in FE colleges based on the concept of a one a day week secondment for a minimum of one term or up to one academic year. This national scheme should sit alongside other initiatives to bring industry skills into FE.
  • The key stakeholders to participate in a national scheme of FE teaching secondments by industry professionals should comprise: FE colleges, learners, individual professionals (secondees), and businesses (corporate partners). The role, commitment and expectations of each need to be clearly established and communicated.
  • The national secondment scheme should be created around six design principles: a multiple engagement secondment model: flexibility; quality of secondees; strong 'championing'; a strong business case for all key stakeholders; and pilot testing.
  • The detailed model for the scheme should be developed through an iterative process of further primary research, piloting, review and refinement, prior to national roll out.