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Our Board

The Chair and members of the board are appointed by Scottish Ministers in line with the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland's Code of Practice.

They bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Commission, in using and managing mental health and learning disability services.

The Board sets the strategic direction for the Commission and ensures efficient, effective, and accountable governance.

Our Chair

Sandy RiddellSandy Riddell originally trained in social work and, during a public service career of over 40 years, has held director level posts in social work, housing, education, and health and social care. He retired from the post of Fife's director of health and social care  in 2016. Sandy has substantial experience at a national level in shaping policy and legislation in adult health and social care, children's services, substance misuse, and justice services. He was president of the former Association of Directors of Social Work and founded Social Work Scotland. Sandy has been a member of the Mental Welface Commission for Scotland since 2017 before his appointment as chair in April 2019. He is currently a member of Grampian NHS Board and also has experience as a management consultant specialising in collaborative leadership and service integration. Sandy is passionate about the need to develop a rights-based approach for services and to fully involve the public in service design and delivery.

Our Board members
Safaa Baxter

Safaa Baxter was born and educated in Alexandria, Egypt, where she obtained a BA degree in social work and community development in 1975. She worked as a volunteer in Clydebank and as a social worker with Strathclyde Regional Council. As a local authority employee for over 36 years, Safaa has worked at various level of seniority in social work across a number of local authorities. Until her retirement in April 2014, she was East Renfrewshire Council's chief social work officer, and head of the community health and care partnership children's, criminal justice, and addictions services.  Safaa was also chair of the child protection committee, children's services plan, and alcohol and drugs partnership. Safaa also works with a number of local authorities as a consultant on the provision of children's services.




Gordon Johnson Gordon Johnston has a background in community development, urban regeneration, project development and management, and managing major funding streams. He is currently an independent consultant in mental health, specialising in peer research, user/patient involvement, and organisational development. Gordon is involved in many organisations and is currently chair of Bipolar Scotland. He was a director of Voices of Experience (VOX) for six years. He has also been a member of the delivery group of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme Mental Health since its inception.




Mary TwaddleMary Twaddle has lived experience of mental ill health and recovery, and has been treated and supported by general adult mental health services for over 10 years. She currently works for NHS Lothian at the medium secure forensic unit, The Orchard Clinic, as a peer support worker using her own lived experience to help others in their recovery journey from life-changing mental ill health. She joined the newly created Peer Support Service 15 months ago, helping build the first peer service within a medium secure forensic unit in the UK. In her role she works with patients directly (both individually and as part of recovery focussed groups), and also works alongside all the other disciplines as part of the multi-disciplinary team, using her experience to contribute to team meetings and discussions on maintaining the recovery focused ethos of the clinic within the complexities of working in a forensic setting.


Cindy MackieCindy Mackie is an independent consultant with occupational experience in the public, private, and voluntary sectors and she currently performs a number of Associate roles within the area of regulation. She is a tribunal member with the Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service, where she is engaged in Fitness to Practise proceedings, serving in this capacity and also with the Nursing and Midwifery Council for eight years. She is a lay examiner in membership examinations for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and acts as a chairperson/quality assurance inspector in dental education programme inspections across the UK. She holds a position of independent assessor in Public Appointments NI and is also involved in school governance in a voluntary capacity. Cindy brings knowledge of health regulation, public protection, safeguarding, and human rights. Cindy is educated to graduate level with additional qualifications in human resource management and learning and development. 


David Hall

David Hall has been a consultant psychiatrist and medical manager in Dumfries and Galloway for the last 23 years. For the last 10 years, he has been clinical lead for National Health Improvement Programmes and is currently national clinical lead of the Scottish Patient Saftey Programme in mental health. David's skills are in clinical leadership and the application of improvement science to mental health systems.