Independent Oversight and Assurance Group on Tayside's Mental Health Services: terms of reference

Terms of reference of the Independent Oversight and Assurance Group on Tayside’s Mental Health Services and the Tayside Executive Partnership.

Name of the group

Independent Oversight and Assurance Group on Tayside’s Mental Health Services (The Group).

Purpose of the group

The purpose of the group is to provide independent assurance on the progress made by the Tayside Executive Partnership in implementing the recommendations of Trust and Respect, the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services, and to improve outcomes for the people of Tayside in relation to mental health.

In doing so, the group will act independently of, and provide advice and support, to the Tayside Executive Partnership as they lead the change that is required.

The group will report on progress on a quarterly basis to the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care.


The Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside was initiated in May 2018 by NHS Tayside, following ongoing concerns about mental health services raised by people experiencing mental ill health, families and carers. The Health Board’s decision to commission the Independent Inquiry recognised that an in-depth examination of mental health services across Tayside would provide an opportunity for an external reviewer to consider evidence from a wide range of sources and make recommendations for improvement.

NHS Tayside, its local authority partners and Police Scotland, formed a Tayside Executive Partnership and agreed to formally accept the final Trust and Respect report and its findings published in February 2020. The Tayside Executive Partnership made a commitment to work with key agencies and stakeholders to address all recommendations in partnership. The Listen Learn Change (LLC) Action Plan was developed over time with key stakeholders and approved by the Tayside Executive Partnership in June 2020, on behalf of their respective organisations, to implement the recommendations of the Trust and Respect Report. The Listen Learn Change Scrutiny Panel was established in August 2020 to provide oversight against the ongoing implementation of this Action Plan.

Following an invitation from the Scottish Government, Dr David Strang led a review of progress since the publication of Trust and Respect. The Progress Report was published in July 2021 and while it recognises progress in some areas, it still identifies areas of concern for Tayside’s mental health services.

Dr David Strang recommended that the response to all recommendations should be subject to some form of independent scrutiny to more accurately assess the progress that has been made. This would result in a more realistic assessment of the rate of progress and how much remains to be implemented.

The Progress Report was published around the same time as NHS Tayside was de-escalated within the NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework, but recognised that key concerns still exist with regards to the delivery of mental health services. 

The creation of this group to exercise this independent function, will therefore provide additional oversight and assurance for NHS Tayside and its partners, relevant to the delivery of mental health services. This will include direct support to ensure the delivery of the Independent Inquiry’s original recommendations, in the context of Tayside’s Listen Learn Change Action Plan and Living Life Well Strategy. The group will also be able to comment on any other issues that impact upon the successful delivery of mental health services in Tayside.

Role and remit of the group

The group will provide independent oversight and assurance in relation to the implementation of the recommendations contained in the original report of the Independent Inquiry, and the subsequent progress report published in July 2021. Progress on implementing the recommendations will be considered in the context of the Living Life Well Strategy. The group will also take into consideration any wider issues that affect the delivery of mental health services in Tayside.

This is a time-limited group for an initial period of 12 months - the timescales for the operation of group will be kept under review. As such, it will not become an established part of the governance landscape in Tayside.

The role of this group is separate from that of the Tayside Executive Partnership which is expected to have its own collective assurance processes and remains accountable to the NHS Board and relevant Councils. To ensure its independent oversight and assurance is undertaken effectively, the group will regularly liaise with the Tayside Executive Partnership and other stakeholders in Tayside, including those with lived experience, and will listen to all relevant parties to establish a pattern of engagement.


The membership of the group is:

  • Fiona Lees, Chair
  • Fraser McKinlay, Member
  • David Williams, Member

The roles and responsibilities of the Members will be set by the Chair.

Scottish Government: Representatives of the Scottish Government may sit on this group as official observers.

Ways of working

  • the group will operate in an open and transparent way. Minutes of meetings will be published online (NHS Tayside’s website - to be confirmed)
  • in the interests of openness and transparency, any correspondence issued to the Tayside Executive Partnership by the group will also be published online
  • the group will provide quarterly updates to the Minister for Wellbeing and Social Care (see outputs below)


The group will meet sufficiently regularly to ensure that its remit is delivered effectively. The groups meeting schedule will be confirmed by the Chair.


  • the group will provide a written update to the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care on a quarterly basis, including a summary of the meetings that have taken place with Tayside Executive Partners and a summary of the progress being made by the Tayside Executive Partners in implementing the recommendations from Trust and Respect
  • all outputs related to Listen Learn Change Action Plans are for the Tayside Executive Partnership to take forward


The Terms of Reference will be reviewed on in April 2022 to ensure, amongst other things, they remain relevant and deliverable.



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