Making Families Count is made up of people who are recognised experts in their respective fields. Some have suffered the loss of a family member through traumatic and complex bereavement. Others are highly experienced, senior NHS investigators.
Our combined experience gives us a unique perspective and understanding of the transformative power of positive family engagement.
Beverley Dawkins OBE has been the Chief Executive of Generate since June 2014. Alongside this part-time role, Beverley also undertakes short term work, most recently at the Challenging Behaviour Foundation to assist them in carrying out complex case work with families of people with severe learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges. She is currently appointed by NHSE as the Independent Chair of complex LeDeR review.
Beverley has been working with children and adults with a learning disability in a variety of roles since she qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 1979. Joining the Campaigns and Policy Team at the Royal Mencap Society in 2000, her focus was on those with the most profound and complex needs. She helped to develop many of Mencap’s best-known campaigns, working closely with families to share their stories and speak out about their experiences. Beverley continues to work with families who have tragically experienced the premature loss of a loved one due to failures in NHS and Social Care settings, providing them with support and advice to navigate health and social care complaints and investigation processes, inquests and legal challenges.
- Author of the award-winning Mencap reports ‘Death by indifference’ (Mencap 2007) and the follow-up report ‘74 deaths and counting’ (Mencap 2012)
- Awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2010.
- Co-author of the Mencap and Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) report ‘Out of Sight-stopping the neglect and abuse of people with a learning disability’ (Mencap and CBF 2012)
- Steering Group member for the Confidential Inquiry into Premature Death of People with a Learning Disability (CIPOLD), Bristol University, 2012.
- Expert adviser to the Mazars ‘Independent review of deaths of people with a Learning Disability or Mental Health problem in contact with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust April 2011 to March 2015’.
- Member of the advisory group for the CQC Learning, Candour and Accountability Review (Dec 2016).
- Member of the Challenging Behaviour National Strategy Group and representative at the Department of Health Transforming Care Roundtable (current).
- Expert advisor to the Respond LeDeR project, supporting families to create resources to support LeDeR Reviewers and families through the review process after the death of a child or adult with a learning disability (current).
Jan Fowler is a Director of Making Families Count. She was an early advocate of MFC and put the organisation forward for the Kate Granger Compassionate Care award.
A retired NHS Executive Director with over 25 years experience, Jan won the NHS Leadership Award in the category of Inspirational Leader while working at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust where she was combined Chief Executive and Chief Nurse for 6 years. In 2011 she became Chief Nurse and Director of Clinical Standards at NHS South Central SHA and in 2013 became Director of Nursing for NHS England, South West, North.
Jan combined this role with being Director of Commissioning for Health and Justice for the South and Director lead for Mental Health Homicide Investigations.
She also sat on the National Nursing Informatics Strategic Taskforce and chaired the Care Records System for the south of England. Jan was on the programme board for National SPfiT, is a member of the NHS Employer Policy Board and is a Registered Panellist for the Nursing Midwifery Council.
For 9 years Stephen was Chairman of PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide following the death by suicide of his only child Christopher in 2009. He stepped down from this role in 2019.
Before this, Stephen spent almost 30 years in the Prison Service as a prison governor working in many prisons and has spent two periods in the Home Office as an advisor. For some years he was Head of Prisoner Escort and Custody Service, responsible for all prisoner movement in England and Wales, and responsible for the care of prisoner’s whilst at court. His final role with the Prison Service was to lead a project to close prisons that were no longer fit for purpose and this led to the closure of seven prisons.
He is engaged in several additional roles, including:
- As an Expert Adviser to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). He has been involved with NICE in the development of a Guideline for Nurse Staffing levels in in-patient Health Care, The Mental Health Care of those in the Criminal Justice System and a Guideline on Suicide Prevention in the Community and Custody Settings. He is currently a lay member of the Medical Technologies Advisory Committee, which approves the introduction of new technologies to the health and care services.
- A reviewer for the National Institute for Health Research and reviews and provides comments on health research proposals.
- A lay member of the West Midlands Therapeutics Review and Advisory Committee to recommend medications to commissioners in the region.
- An Advisor to the Board of the charity ‘Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide’.
- Also, he regularly delivers training input to mental health staff, nurses and GPs on suicide prevention and regularly speaks to parents who have lost young people to suicide.
- He currently works for Making Families Count and as an ordained assistant Anglican Priest in the Diocese of Lichfield.
He is passionate about improving mental health services to young people, increasing awareness of young suicide, reducing stigma, and reducing the number of young people who take their own life each year.
Julian Hendy is an award-winning investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. In 2007, Julian’s father, Philip, was murdered by a mental health patient with a psychotic illness cared for by Avon and Wiltshire Partnership NHS Trust.
In 2010 Julian made a film for BBC2, which explored what had happened to his father (and others) and questioned why many mental health services appear unable to learn effective lessons from such homicides.
He went on to establish the Hundred Families charity which supports and advocates for families after Mental Health Homicides and works with the NHS and others to embed effective learning and prevent further avoidable deaths. Julian is a lay member of NHS Independent Investigations Governance Committee, NHS South’s Independent Investigations Review Group, and sits on the ministerial advisory panel for victims at the Ministry of Justice. He’s also an advisor to the Welsh and Scottish Governments on victim engagement following mental health homicides.
In 2014, while working with Julie Kerry (who was then Assistant Director of Nursing and Regional Mental Health Homicide Lead for NHS England), she and Julian together set up the Making Families Count group.
Len Hodkin is a criminal defence solicitor based in South London and a Trustee for the Hundred Families charity.
Len’s mother Sally Hodkin was attacked and killed on her way to work by a mental health service user with a history of extreme violence and drug abuse.
An independent investigation commissioned by NHS England in 2017 found that NHS and police failings had contributed to Mr Hodkin’s murder. In 2018 Len acted as a legal representative for the family at his mother’s inquest, where the coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing at the conclusion of the two-week inquest.
Len and his family have campaigned strongly to raise awareness of failings in care regarding this case, issues with the wider system of investigation of mental health homicides and how families are so often failed by the NHS investigation procedure.
Len is a compelling and engaging speaker on the family experience of the NHS investigation process.
Frank is the CEO of Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA), a centre of excellence for reviews after domestic homicide and for specialist peer support. Frank helped ensure Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) became law, was asked by the government to help develop the model and continues to work closely with the Home Office to enhance the methodology. From its inception in 2011, AAFDA has been a member of the national panel that quality assures DHRs and Frank is a Home Office appointed reader (provides assessments of DHRs to the panel). He is a Home Office accredited Chair for DHRs and trains others to undertake them.
Frank is a member of the National Victims’ Panel chaired by the Justice Minister. He co-authored a book “Domestic Abuse, Homicide and Gender: strategies for policy and practice” (2014) and has had three chapters published in different books, including in Domestic Homicide and Death Reviews (2017) and “When Parents Kill Children” (2018). He has developed a model for helping families to be integral to reviews, thought to be unique in the world. He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Gloucestershire (outstanding work on domestic violence and homicide). Frank’s sister Julia and nephew William Pemberton were murdered in 2003.
Frank previously worked as a business consultant and is a qualified accountant.
Frank was awarded an MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours list for services to families bereaved by domestic homicide.
Rosi Reed has been part of the Making Families Count training team from the beginning in February 2015.
Rosi’s son Nico died unexpectedly in an NHS run supported living home in 2012. In his family, Nico was known as “the golden boy”, and he was very much the heart and centre of his family. His death caused huge trauma for them, which was made so much worse by the way the family was treated by the NHS Trust responsible for his care. At the end of 2014, there was an Article 2 inquest into his death. This resulted in a 2.5-year investigation published in June 2018 which found Nico died as a result of poor care and poorly commissioned care. This investigation is now being examined by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
Since 2012, Rosi has campaigned tirelessly for better family engagement by the NHS at all levels. This work includes working for a year in 2019 as a Family Consultant for the charity Respond, putting together a training package for LeDeR investigators, to assist them in working better with families and providing more effective investigations. Rosi also worked with the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF), presenting at a series of Patient Safety Incident Roadshows around the country in 2018 and for two years (2017 & 2018) Rosi worked on the NHS England “Learning from Deaths” programme as a member of the steering group and co-wrote the “Learning from Deaths Guidance for Families”.
Rosi has recently become a member of the Citizens Partnership Group for the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and is part of the steering group “Learning from Deaths, Learning in Action” monitoring the progress across NHS Trusts in the UK by the “Learning from Deaths” guidance.
She is active on social media and writes a widely read blog around the themes of bereavement, the grief journey, disability issues and healthcare, occasionally writing for journals and magazines on these themes.
Jan Sunman started her professional career as a social worker specialising in supporting children with mental health needs and their families. Since then, she has volunteered, campaigned and worked in the field of learning disability for 38 years.
She campaigned against cuts to short break services for disabled children and their families and spearheaded the foundation of the Chiltern Centre as a charity providing respite care to serve disabled children in South Oxfordshire. The Chiltern Centre continues to support many local families.
Jan worked for Royal Mencap Society as a regional development officer and won a Mencap National Partnership Working Award in that role. Later, she helped develop Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OxFSN), a local charity for families supporting relatives with learning disabilities. Jan was also a member of the Transforming Care Programme Board in Oxfordshire.
She has taken part in training for reviewers for the Learning Disability Mortality Review process.
In the past, she has served as a trustee for two national charities, The Royal Mencap Society and NOFAS, a charity dedicated to supporting people affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
Jan’s personal experience of the loss of her eldest daughter, Katy, who was disabled and who died prematurely at the age of 25 from sepsis, has made her very aware of the issues families face when a loved one dies in complex and traumatic circumstances. She has worked with a number of families of disabled relatives facing traumatic loss.
She has two other children, her daughter Laura is a children’s nurse and her son, Matthew – a steam train addict – has severe learning disabilities and autism.
Lucien is a mental health nurse with over 20 years of experience. He has worked across many areas and held posts in hospitals, community services and in private sector care. His clinical interests include embedding learning in teams following serious incidents and service development.
Throughout Lucien’s career, he has recognised the importance of supporting staff at all levels of care delivery and he has been key in organisational development meet the challenges of a modern care system.
Since 2015 Lucien has worked for NHS England with responsibility for mental health homicides. He has been working with Making Families Count since 2016 and he brings his invaluable inside knowledge of the NHS to their work.