Quality, Compliance and Safeguarding Committee

Our Quality, Compliance and Safeguarding Committee is a sub-committee of the Consensus Board and part of our ethos of continuous improvement. The committee provides assurance to the Board that appropriate governance structures, systems and processes are in place across Consensus and that they are highly effective. They identify and ensure key risks are mitigated in relation to safeguarding and quality and at an operational level ensure Consensus are setting the highest aspirations and expectations for our services so that the people we support  have access to the very best quality services which exceed national performance benchmarks.

Who is on the committee?

The Committee consists of four members including an independent Chair, Director of Quality & Compliance for Consensus and two Non-Executive Committee Members who are external to Consensus and not direct employees. The Committee typically meet four times a year and reports to the Board formally through the independent Chair (who reports to the Chairman of Consensus) and who attends Board meetings 4 times a year to report on the work of the committee.

The CEO of Consensus will attend the Committee on an ‘as and when’ basis, as appropriate and the Chairman of Consensus Board will attend usually at least once a year (but is not a member).

“The job of the committee is to examine the work of the Consensus team independently and make sure that we continue to offer the very best quality support and life chances for the people we support.”

Tim Loughton MP

Independent Chair

I became an MP in 1997 and have held various leading positions during my time in Parliament. For example, I have been Shadow Minister for Environment, Shadow Minister for Health and Children, particularly involved with mental health issues, special educational needs and safeguarding vulnerable families. I was also appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Children and Families until 2012, leading on several areas of successful reform in child protection, child sexual exploitation and adoption.

I currently chair several All Party Parliamentary Groups including the APPGs for Mindfulness and Children, Archaeology and 1001 Critical Days from Conception to Age 2. I am the Vice Chairman of the All Party Groups on Youth and Care Leavers and a longstanding member of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee. I have long pursued a strong interest in learning disability having previously served as the Chairman of my party’s Disability Group and of a charity specialising in peri-natal mental health and the best start in life.

Having set up and chaired the Safeguarding and Quality Committee for the leading children’s social care group OFG, I was asked to take on a similar role at Consensus which I have taken on with great energy. As I have shown in previous roles, this is something I believe in passionately and when it comes to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our society we all have a duty of care where we should never cease to aim higher.

“My role is to continue to build on the good practice already in place & support colleagues to provide services that are recognised as the best by the people we support, their families, stakeholders and regulators.”

Deborah Cotton-Soares

Quality and Compliance Director

I have been working in health and social care for 35 years and have held senior roles in a number of national organisations providing housing, care and support for people with learning disabilities as well as mental health challenges. As well as leading culture and quality improvement programmes, I have worked for the Care Quality Commission as Head of Registration.

I am driven by a passion for human rights and the right of individuals to make choices about their lives. I love being instrumental in shaping and implementing improvements that lead to positive outcomes for the people we support.

Here at Consensus, I’m proud to be part of an organisation that puts supported individuals at the heart of decision-making and is truly focused on quality and enabling positive outcomes for people. Consensus is known to provide good, safe, person-centred services; my job is to help make sure that we continue to improve as Consensus grows.

Outside of work I…  try to keep fit by walking and swimming. I love reading novels and catching up with my two daughters and their lives: one is a teacher and the other an actor.

“I passionately believe that all people with learning disabilities can live fulfilled lives in the place they want, supported by people they choose which is why I was attracted to Consensus as it shares these beliefs.”

Steve James

Non-Executive Committee Member

Having been a social worker in a couple of Local Authorities, I have spent the majority of my career as Chief Executive of ‘Avenues’, a large provider of community services for people with learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges. I have also served as a Non-Executive Director on a number of NHS bodies. Given my experience, I am particularly interested in  developing the relationship between health and social care.

I passionately believe that all people with learning disabilities can live fulfilled lives in the place they want, supported by people they choose which is why I was attracted to Consensus as it shares these beliefs. I am keen to support Consensus in continuing to develop this approach as resource constraints challenge an individual approach leading to less personal support.

The Quality, Compliance and Safeguarding Board plays a key role in ensuring that we deliver high quality services, celebrating success and ensuring that there are plans in place where improvements need to be made. I look forward to playing a full part in the work of the Board

Outside of work I… play tennis frequently but badly.

“I was impressed that Consensus has invested in strengthening its own governance through establishing a committee entirely focused on the quality and safety of its services.”

Helen Baker

Non-Executive Committee Member

I joined the Consensus Quality, Compliance and Safeguarding Committee at the start of 2022 and have worked with individuals with learning and other cognitive disabilities throughout my career. My areas of interest have ranged from social care to health, housing and education and I have led specialist disability organisations in all these environments. Examples would include chairing the board of major national social care and housing providers, Advance and Dimensions, to chairing a specialist NHS trust in Oxfordshire and setting up a school for young people with autism in West London.

I have founded several organisations including the first ever charity for young people with early onset dementia, but have increasingly focused on the governance and regulation of public and voluntary sector services.

I have found that the best learning disability organisations now start by looking for the areas of capacity of everyone being supported, whatever the level of their disability, and respecting their perspectives and choices and this is an ambition clearly shared by Consensus.

Our Quality Teams

As a provider, Consensus is committed to supporting people to increase their independence, live fulfilling lives and actively participate in their communities. Our approach to quality is embedded in working together with individuals, their families and other professionals to design and deliver the best quality of support we can.