Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

The review will consider and make recommendations on improving legislation and practice around the Mental Health Act.


  • Purpose of the review
  • Membership
  • Governance
  • Interim report – 1 May 2018
  • Contact details

Purpose of the review

The review was set up to look at how the legislation in the Mental Health Act 1983 is used and how practice can improve. The purpose of the review is to understand the reasons for:

  • rising rates of detention under the Act
  • the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under the Act
  • processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system

The review will seek the views of service users, carers, relevant professionals, and affected organisations in producing recommendations. It will produce a report with recommendations for change in autumn 2018.

Terms of reference

Further information



  • Professor Sir Simon Wessely – Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London and president of the Royal Society of Medicine

Vice chairs

  • Steven Gilbert – service user and serious mental health living consultant
  • Sir Mark Hedley – retired high court judge
  • Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger – former CEO of the King’s Fund and Chair of the Liverpool Care Pathway Review


The advisory panel will bring together stakeholders with an interest in the Mental Health Act and its application. For more information about the advisory panel see the document below.


Advisory panel members and terms of reference

PDF, 193KB, 3 pages

The working group will deliver the direction set by the review’s leadership and advisory panel, supporting the development of recommendations. For more information about the working group see the document below.


Working group terms of reference

PDF, 149KB, 1 page

The service user and carer group reflects the views and experiences of people who have been detained (‘sectioned’) under the Act, or cared for people who have been. For more information about the service user and carer group see the document below.


Service user and carer group terms of reference

PDF, 145KB, 1 page

The African and Caribbean group will make recommendations designed to ensure that people of African and Caribbean descent with mental health challenges:

  • receive the treatment and support they need, when and where they need it
  • are treated with dignity, and that their liberty and autonomy are respected as far as possible

For more information about the African and Caribbean group see the document below.


African and Caribbean group terms of reference

PDF, 165KB, 1 page

The evidence and analysis group will provide expert analytical advice to the chair and advisory panel. For more information about the evidence and analysis group see the document below.


Evidence and analysis group terms of reference

PDF, 158KB, 1 page

Interim report – 1 May 2018

This is a summary of the review’s work so far. Easy Read and British Sign Language versions are also available

Getting involved

The review continues to work closely with stakeholders and would like to hear from people who want to get involved. The review is especially keen to hear from service users and carers.

The review run 3 workshops in August 2018 to talk about the review’s thinking so far, the potential options for change and what those options might result in for service users and professionals. The feedback gathered from attendees will help inform the review’s final recommendations that will be published later in the year.

You can find out more information and register for a session below:

If you have evidence or experiences relevant to issues and topics set out in the interim report, please email

Contact details


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