Council of Governors

The role of the Council of Governors is to gain assurance on behalf of the Membership and the public, with regard to the organisations performance, with a particular focus on service quality. The role and responsibilities of the Council of Governors, as defined by The Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the preceding 2006 Act include:

  • Governors will represent the interests of members and the public
  • Governors will have express statutory duties to hold Non Executive Directors individually and collectively to account
  • Governors can require Directors to attend a Council meeting to obtain information on performance of the Trust
  • Significant transactions will have to be signed off by 50% Governors voting
  • Mergers/Acquisitions/Dissolutions will need the support of over 50% of all Governors
  • Governors will express a view on the Board of Directors' forward plans
  • Governors will approve the appointment of the Chief Executive
  • Governors will appoint and remove Trust Auditors
  • Governors will receive and approve the Trust's Annual Reports/Accounts
  • Governors will appoint, remove and decide the terms of office and remuneration of the Chair and the Non Executive Directors.

It is important to emphasise that the role of Governors is fundamentally different from that of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is responsible for the direct running of the Trust and for the strategic leadership of the whole organisation; assuring high quality performance and delivery of all services.

Governors are not directly involved in:

  • operational management
  • individual specific patient or staff issues
  • handling complaints
  • confidential patient issues

Council of Governors Meetings

The Council of Governors meets on a quarterly basis at various sites across the Trust. Meetings are open for members of the public and staff to observe.

Find out when the next meeting is

Contact us

For more information regarding the Council of Governors please contact Steph Neville, Stakeholder Development Manager on 0161 358 1601 or by email:

Meet your governors:

Public Governors

Meet your Governors:

LeLes Allens Allen (Lead Governor) - Bolton

I am a retired accountant having spent 37 years in the NHS. During that time I held a number of senior roles which have given me an insight into all aspects of the service and involvement in major services changes across Greater Manchester. I’ve been able to look beyond financial boundaries to ensure that the public is best served from a service and value for money perspective.

In my Governor role I shall be the link between Members and the Board of Directors in ensuring that in making its decisions about services the Board of Directors is aware of the views of the membership I represent. I am keen to make sure that the trust is rooted in its community, owned by the community and responds to community needs.

I see my role as a critical friend, acting as a sounding board, developing ideas and advising on issues in relation to my constituents.


Albert Phipps - BoAlbert Phippslton

Now I am retired (or soon will be) I would like to offer (now I have the time) my services to my community.  This coupled with my experience of working with people with mental health issues and my knowledge of psychology mean I am in a good position to do this.  Moreover, I have been on the board of trustees of a local mental health charity (at the moment I am Vice-chair) for several years. This has given me insights into the 'grass roots' of mental health provision and difficulties that people (the providers and the 'customers') often face.

Until my retirement (at the end of March) I was a university lecturer (The University of Bolton) for 18 years, I come from a working class background and returned to education later in life. Therefore I am focused, determined, organised and used to working in a team. Similarly the knowledge I have gained through my studies (I am a qualified CBT therapist and graduate member of the British Psychological Society) also mean I have firm grasp the theoretical aspects of mental health issues.


David SuttonDavid Sutton - Salford

I have a long-standing interest in mental health and the care offered to people who suffer from mental ill-health, and believe that Governors have an important role to play in holding the Trust Board to account in its activities and decisions, and in representing the views and interests of the constituency they serve in the delivery of mental health service.

I have extensive experience as a mental health chaplain, for the past nine years as whole-time Chaplaincy/Spiritual Care Co-ordinator, working with service users in community and in acute and secure wards. My role also involved managing other chaplains, being a co-presenter on teaching modules in the Recovery Academy, and liaising with senior staff in the promotion and delivery of spiritual care.

I have in the recent past served as a Governor on Calderstones Partnership NHS Trust, caring for people with learning disabilities in secure accommodation. As a retired priest and chaplain I am still active in Salford and Greater Manchester in church work and in such activities as retreats and spiritual guidance.


Bryan BlearsBryan Blears - Salford

I care about people and am compassionate about mental healthcare particularly for children and young people. I’d like to promote proper parity of esteem between mental and physical health starting at school and going through into adulthood. Growing up in Salford I’ve experienced poor mental health and the social factors which drive it. I’d like to focus upon the importance of promoting mental wellbeing within the community and intervention during the early stages of mental illness, as well as safeguarding vulnerable children and adults from exploitation and abuse.

I have previously worked as a financial analyst within the NHS and have worked for several Greater Manchester CCGs as well as a Mental Heath Foundation Trust. I understand the challenges for the Trust particularly within CAMHS and LLAMS services. I am able to empathise and provide a perspective of what service users and their families expect and how the Trust can meet those expectations.

Patient safety and quality of care is vital for the Trust and I would work on building positive relations and promoting good equality and diversity practices to build the Trust’s reputation as a quality and compassionate care provider. I’m familiar with the Trust’s obligations to Monitor, CQC and other stakeholders. I’m also familiar with the Devo Manc environment and the opportunities this provides to change the way care is delivered across Greater Manchester.


Iris NicksonIris Nickson - Trafford

I wish to help in the removal of all social stigmas surrounding mental illness and to encourage sufferers who have not yet sought advice to discuss their illness and establish a course of treatment which will improve the quality of their lives and to help them realise their full potential by linking mental health treatments with education. Although the mental health sector has improved immensely over the last 30 years, I see through my father-in-law’s experiences that there remain many opportunities for improvements in the delivery of care to service users and their relatives.

I have twenty years’ experience working in education. Seven years were in the special school (BESD) sector, the children displayed a diverse range of learning and mental health problems. Working collaboratively with multi-agency teams was imperative. I have the ability to be empathetic, to listen constructively, to work collaboratively and to be adaptable. Recently I have worked in the voluntary sector for three years. I have gained many useful insights, particularly into the problems mental health illnesses, causes to carers and close relatives alike.


Margaret KerrMargaret Kerr - Trafford

I want to work to remove the stigma that is still attached to mental health issues despite the progress that has been made in the last 10 years. I want to work to help people, particularly the reluctant, to access and use the services currently available and to extend those services.

I am a local mother of 2. I spent my early career working with mentally handicapped adults in hospitals, day centres and workshops. I hold the Diploma in Teaching Mentally Handicapped Adults, specialising in Down’s Syndrome. I moved into Education to work supporting Down’s Syndrome students in main stream education and progressed to become part of Trafford’s Early Years Intervention Team working in a peripatetic capacity across the borough and taking the lead with Down’s Syndrome students.


Outside of work I have had experience overseas in Nigeria, South Africa and Peru. I have been involved in my children’s education as a classroom volunteer, Chair of their Parent’s Associations and a school governor specialising in personnel and admissions. I am a volunteer fund raiser for a local charity and give talks in schools. In the past we have been a house of safety for children needing emergency foster care.


Lynn HoweLynn Howe - Manchester

I have had friends and colleagues that have suffered with mental health, and know that support is key. My mother developed dementia when suffering pancreatic cancer, and it was a difficult time for all who loved her, and I understand that mental health is in many forms, and one prescription does not fit all. With an accountancy and business background I feel this is something I can support. I am looking at giving back to the community and this is a good way in which my skills can be utilised.

As I hold an accountancy and business academic qualifications and have worked within private organisations since the age of 16, I have vast experience in recruitment, finances, and understanding of annual reports. Colleagues and friends have told me I work well with people as I am sympathetic and caring, yet pragmatic. I am a good listener and believe that everyone is equal and deserves the best. I am positive in my approach and will always look at the benefits and risks within scenarios.


Nayla CooksonNayla Cookson - Manchester

When people close to me needed mental health support I saw first hand how successful our services can be and how much they can miss the mark. I want to use my experience to offer my services in return for all the help I have seen mental services in Manchester achieve, on a daily basis.

Before coming to Britain I was an executive secretary for import export business operating out of Lebanon. Since those days I became a lecturer in the English language for a University in Oman. In Manchester I was appointed a language specialist in an inner city primary school. I am actively involved in cross cultural activities for my wider Lebanese community, my school affiliations and my local Church. I became involved in Mental issues from my school duties, within my own family when looking after my in laws and my activities with my church. My involvement is as a concerned educational professional, a relative and with my friends. As a straightforward member of the public with a sense of importance of multicultural community action, coming from being a student and volunteer for the WEA, I believe I have no particular political axe to grind, except a desire to contribute as much as possible to maintaining services for the betterment of our rich and diverse community here in Manchester.


Rob BeresfordRob Beresford - Other England and Wales

I started work at Prestwich Hospital in 1972 as a Cadet Nurse, having spent my entire career within the boundaries of Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, including Salford, Bolton and Trafford.  I progressed through many clinical nurse roles and worked most of my career within the Adult Forensic Services!  I first became a Staff Governor shortly after Greater Manchester West gained Foundation Trust status up until 2011 when I retired after 37 years when I became a public governor.

I feel very proud to be a Governor within Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and would like to continue to be a small cog within a very successful Foundation ‘Trust for the foreseeable future.

Although now retired, I have worked my entire Career as a Registered Mental Health Nurse within the Trust. My numerous roles include Community Psychiatric Nurse at both Trafford and Bolton, and laterally Clinical Leader and Senior Nurse with the Adult Forensic service . I have studied at Manchester Metropolitan University and have a degree in Community Health Care.


Philip Saxton Philip Saxton - Other England and Wales

I am a qualified chartered management accountant.  Having spent over 20 years working in private sector manufacturing companies with more than a decade at Board level in various Director roles.

Since 2003 the majority of my work has been in not for profit organisations, especially social housing, and since 2010 I have been a Board member and Chair of Audit at Six Town Housing in Bury.  From 2006 I served a term as a Non-Executive Director of the Trust, chairing the Audit Committee, and was extremely pleased to continue making some contribution to the work of GMMH when I subsequently joined the Council of Governors.

Driven by personal experience of mental health issues and a desire to offer my skills in a voluntary role, I want to continue my work with the Trust. The current merger presents a huge challenge and I am keen to support improvement in the experience of service users and colleagues in the Trust through this process and beyond

Service User and Carer Governors

Meet your governors: 

Margaret RileyMagaret Riley

I am a passionate about health, and particularly mental health of which I have some knowledge through personal experience and which has motivated me to become a carer governor at Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

I am a Governor at Cloughside College wihich provides continued education for the young people who are inpatients at the Trusts Prestwich site.  I am also on the Board of Trustees (Chair) at START in Salford, which is a Health and Wellbeing Centre for people who suffer from mental health problems.

I am very interested in shaping the future development of the NHS, in what are exciting times. I would relish the challenge of being part of decision making, team supporting the NHS locally. I would bring lived experience, dedication, commitment to the best of my ability, to guide and optimise the use of available resources.


Dan StearsDan Stears

I’ve struggled with anxiety for over 15 years and engaged within the Trust for the last 6. Although I’m on the road to recovery, I recognise there are days I still struggle. It’s important to me to use my experience for the benefit of other service users and staff delivering services.

I’ve embraced Greater Manchester Mental Health’s ethos of being an Expert by Experience.

  • I’ve used the experiences I have to help improve the services both locally in Salford and across the Trust.
  • I was one of the service-users that assisted in Inspections of Trust secure units that contributed to the CQC reports.
  • I became a Service-User Representative on the Meadowbrook unit recruitment panel.
  • I was able to use this experience when I was selected to be one of the service-users to take part in the recruitment process of 3 Non Exec Directors.


Michael CrouchMichael Crouch

I have used MMHSC inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services, CPN and clinical psychology services. Whilst accessing these services I have received care that has been excellent, appalling and everything inbetween! I want to ensure the merger causes the excellence that existed in both former Trusts to spread and not simply be diluted. The advent of Devomanc Health presents many opportunities, but also an estimated £2bn budget deficit by 2020/21.

I am studying for a Psychology MSc at the University of Chester and have been appointed to the committee of The British Psychological Society’s (BPS) North-West Branch. I am currently leading the development of the National Voices Person-Centred Care Narrative for the Trust’s Psychological Services User Movement (MPSUM). I also volunteer with ‘Moodswings’ charity.

Through my work with BPS, MPSUM and as a former Parish Councillor I am familiar with working in accordance with the Nolan Principles. I contribute to mental health and social care policy formation through my membership of The Labour Party, its Campaign for Mental Health (LCMH) and the associated Fabian Society 'Think- Tank'. I am willing to work with people of all political opinions and none to meet a common aim of improving mental health services. I have a previous background in university research and teaching and am therefore used to reading and synthesising a large amount of documentary information.


Margaret WillisMargaret Willis

I have been a member of the trust since 2008 and a service user/ carer governor for six of those years. As I am a service user myself I have always wanted to provide help and support to my fellow service users and there carers.At the end of last year I made a number of visits to units in Mancheter. Now that Manchester is part of the same trust I wish to continue with these visits as a governor, please help me to help you.

I have been a member of the nominations committee which deals with the interviewing and appointment of The Chairperson and non-executive directors. I am currently a member of the care hub committee and very much enjoy this role. I am also a ward volunteer at the Woodlands Hospital which is a challenging yet enjoyable role.

Staff Governors

Meet your governors:

Stuart EdmondsonStuart Edmondson (Nursing)

I’m immensely proud to be a nurse and have a nearly 20 year-long nursing career behind me and recent experience of working for the Care Quality Commission which I would bring to the benefit of GMMH.

I am keen as a Governor to use the opportunity it brings to challenge the stigma and inequalities sadly still associated with mental health. I will seek to positively raise the profile of mental health in our communities and be the voice of reason for nursing. I have been privileged to help people at the times when most vulnerable which has given me a greater understanding to apply as a nurse professional.


Anita Arrigonie (Non-clinical)

From a non-clinical point and seeing services change and having personal experience of mental ill health and the effects this has on family, carers and friends prompted me to apply. Having worked in the service for many years I understand the complexities of the service. I also understand the viewpoint of patients and their carers and being a member of staff from this aspect also. I have excellent analytical skills and I am a great problem solver. I am not afraid of working hard if the outcome would bring benefits to the end user. I care deeply for the patients for whom I manage the service and would like to ensure that the quality of the service is raised year on year.


Dr Victoria SullivanDr Victoria Sullivan (Medical)

I believe that the Trust places a high value on patient care and is proactive in involving service users, carers and staff in developing and improving services. I feel that the role of a governor would allow me to continue to support the Trust in ensuring that these values and responsibilities are maintained to a high standard, and to advocate on behalf of my patients and colleagues. The Trust has been undertaking a number of significant changes with the merger with another mental health trust, and I feel that as a medical governor I would be able to bring a key perspective as to the impact that these changes will have on services, which the Trust Executive should take into account.

I have worked for the NHS for over ten years and in this Trust since 2013 and have seen many positive changes take place. I have been involved in the Medical Staff Committee, which has allowed me to discuss the concerns of colleagues in the development of services. I feel that I am articulate in expressing my views and can represent the views of others.


Rick WrightRick Wright (Social Care)

I am proud to work closely with my social care colleagues in all directorates and I am constantly impressed by their knowledge, dedication to service users and carers and all round commitment to delivering a quality service. As governor I want to ensure that the vital contribution of social care staff is fully recognised and that the social care perspective continues to be embedded as intrinsic to understanding and addressing the needs of service users and carers.

I would like to contribute to ensuring that GMMH is well equipped to meet the new challenges as we move into a new era of greater integration and changing demand. I want to promote closer relationships with partner agencies and as governor do what I can to promote any initiatives to reduce staff stresses while maintaining excellent quality.

I have been a MH social work manager for many years and I remain an Approved Mental Health Professional. Over the years I have been involved in the successful integration of health and social care in what is now GMMH. I have helped implement various legal and social care developments in that time- not least the amended MHA, MCA and Care Act. I highly value my colleagues across the directorate and hope to support them where I can with any knowledge or experience I have gained. I want to offer my support as a governor.


Psychological Therapies Nasur Iqbal (Psychological Therapies)

I have studied, trained and worked within the Greater Manchester area since qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist in 2004. I feel I’ve developed some sense of the common successes and challenges that we face within psychological therapy services such as advocating for needs-led service provision, having well resourced services that offer the range of evidence based therapies at different levels, more integrated working with other colleagues and services as just few examples. I consider myself to be someone who can listen and act on issues that matter. I would therefore welcome the opportunity, and challenge, of becoming a staff governor and would work hard to communicate your message(s) to the Trust Board.


janeleeJane Lee (Allied Health Professional)

In my career, I have seen how understanding nutrition has led to control over disabling mental health conditions and return to employment, how adjusting communication as a result of speech and language assessment has led to stable accommodation and access to education, how through occupational therapy and the exploration of personal values and beliefs, people have been able to build skills and access opportunities to develop positive life roles, manage homes access education and gain employment.

Without the right intervention people often become isolated and mentally and physically unwell. As a governor I will promote the skills and expertise of allied health professionals and access to therapy for our service users in Greater Manchester, speak up for well resourced, evidence based mental health services and research and stand for community resources in social housing, employment, education childcare.



Appointed Governors

Margaret Rowe Margaret Rowe
Dean of the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Science at the University of Salford

Before joining the University of Salford in September 2016, Margaret was Associate Dean Business and Engagement in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University. Having joined Northumbria University in 1996 as a Senior Lecturer of Children’s Nursing, Margaret held the roles of Head of the Children’s Nursing & Child Health Department,  Head of the Department of Primary & Social Care and Associate Dean (Pre-Registration Health).

Margaret is highly regarded on the regional, national and international stage and is the Higher Education national representative on the Nursing and Midwifery Council Revalidation Strategic Steering Group.  As a Council of Deans’ representative, Margaret has collaborated on the development of guidelines for higher education institutions in relation to the revalidation process. Margaret is a member of the North Tyneside Health and Social Integration Programme Board, Healthwatch Gateshead, a Governor of the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and has worked with Health Education England, national and regional bodies, and the North East Combined Authority. Margaret actively contributes to national and regional debates and forums on workforce issues, policies, and future ways of working in Health and Social Care.

During Margaret’s time as Associate Dean for Health, she improved National Student Survey (NSS) ratings in her Faculty to rank within the top ten for Nursing & Midwifery and within the top fifteen for Physiotherapy in the UK. Margaret has also sought to improve retention and employability opportunities for a wide range of students and Northumbria is now ranked in the top 20 per cent of UK universities for retention rates in Health programmes. Margaret has also driven a significant uplift in enterprise income throughout the past three years and has actively supported, and enhanced, the Faculty’s research culture. Margaret brings a wealth of international experience, including the successful development of new programmes and partnerships development in a number of countries including Malaysia, Thailand and China.

Prior to joining Northumbria University, Margaret enjoyed a successful career as a  Registered General Nurse and a Senior Clinical Nurse Manager – Children’s Services.



sara wallwork Sara Wallwork







Tim Bradshaw

Contact us

Stakeholder Development Manager
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
The Curve
Bury New Road
M25 3BL
Tel: 0161 358 1601

Membership enquiries:

General Trust enquiries: 0161 773 9121