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