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Former Children’s Commissioner to chair NHS learning disability and autism steering group

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By Jess Hacker
10 June 2021

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NHS England has appointed former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE as the independent chair of the learning disability and autism children and young people’s steering group.

The group works with national partners to ensure the NHS is fully supporting children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both.

As chair, Ms Longfield will work closely with the Building the Right Support Board – a body involved in developing more community services for people with learning disabilities, autism or both who also display challenging behaviour.

She will also continue to oversee the work of the taskforce for children and young people’s mental health, learning disability and autism inpatient services, NHSE said.

Ms Longfield recently ended her six-year tenure as commissioner, and has more than 30 years’ experience working in the children’s sector. During that time, she also worked in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit on shaping the agenda for children and families.

She said: ‘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.’

Claire Murdoch, national director of mental health, learning disability and autism, 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.’

Ms Longfield will take over from Jane Ramsey, who stepped down from the role in December.

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