UCL News


UCL academic to Chair independent health and social care panel

5 August 2020

Professor Dame Jane Dacre (UCL Medical School) has been appointed to lead an independent expert panel, which will support Parliament in holding the UK Government to account against its pledges on health and social care.

Professor Dame Jane Dacre

Set up by the cross-party Health and Social Care Committee, the panel will pilot a new evaluation system that will give Care Quality Commission-style ratings on the government’s performance in meeting policy commitments, grading them from “inadequate” to “outstanding”.

The independent and objective evaluation is designed to enhance the select Committee’s core task of holding the government and ministers to account. The panel’s findings are expected to feed into on-going inquiries carried out by the Committee and be complementary to its work.   

Launched today (Wednesday 5 August) the independent panel, which includes policy specialists, clinical experts and patients, will first examine progress against targets in maternity services. The Committee say this is an area where evaluation is expected to be of particular value.  

The panel’s Chair, Dame Jane, who is Professor of Medical Education at UCL, said: “I am delighted to work with the Health and Social Care Committee to develop a robust and independent process to evaluate government pledges.”

Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, said: “We are piloting a new CQC-style ratings system to provide an expert independent assessment of the government’s record on key pledges. This will mean the government is held to account by an evaluation process similar to that used across the NHS and social care system which gives not just an absolute score but key pointers as to how to improve that score next time round.  We hope it will focus attention on areas such as cancer, mental health and patient safety where a number of vital commitments have been made.” 

In addition to Dame Jane, two further experts will be recruited to the core membership, joined by up to six additional members co-opted for their expertise in the area being examined including service users, clinicians and policy experts or campaigners.

With an agreed a list of commitments in the chosen topic area, the panel will issue an open call for written submissions specifically addressing the question of the extent to which the chosen targets have been met. The government will be invited to provide its own evidence of achievement or progress towards the chosen targets.

The panel will produce a report with a rating against each chosen target, using the scale used by the Care Quality Commission - Outstanding/Good/Requires Improvement/Inadequate. It will also make an overall rating of the government's progress towards its commitments in the chosen policy area.  



Media contact 

Henry Killworth

Tel: + 44 (0) 7881 833274

E: h.killworth [at] ucl.ac.uk