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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 Graham Forbes

The Very Revd Dr Graham Forbes CBE retired as provost of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh in 2017. After degrees in Russian and theology, Dr Forbes was ordained in 1977 and since then he has combined his ecclesiastical duties with various public appointments, mostly in the areas of health or criminal justice. He served on the General Medical Council for 12 years, chaired the Scottish Executive Expert Group on MMR, and was a non-executive board member of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland. He is a former HM lay inspector of constabulary for Scotland, a member of the parole board, and chair of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which referred the case of Mr Al-Megrahi back to the Appeal Court. Dr Forbes also chaired the UK body during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, which advised the UK government on ethical issues. A member of the Cabinet Office's Security Vetting Appeals Panel, he also served on the Armed Forces Pay Review Body for five years. He chairs the Court of Edinburgh Napier University, is chair of the Committee of Scottish [University] Chairs, and chairs OSCR, the Scottish charity regulator. He was awarded the CBE in 2004 for public service in Scotland.

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.

Paul Dumbleton


Paul Dumbleton has lived in Stirling for 35 years and has three grown-up children, one of whom has a learning disability. The first 20 years or so of his working life was spent teaching in special education in schools and further education colleges. He then worked in higher education and educational development before moving to the voluntary sector. Since retiring from full-time work he has worked on a part-time basis in a number of roles, including public appointments to the Council of the Scottish Social Services Council and as a member of social security tribunals. In 2014 he was awarded an honorary degree by Stirling University in recognition of his work in the voluntary sector.


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.


Sandy RiddellSandy Riddell originally trained in social work and has spent over 40 years in public service. He has held director level posts in social work, education, housing, and in health and social care in a variety of settings and retired from the post of director of health and social care in Fife 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 brings to the Commission a wide range of experience and knowledge of public services, with particular skills in transformational change and the integration of frontline services. He is passionate about the need to develop a rights-based approach for services and to fully involve the public in service design and delivery.


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.