AIMS Campaigns Team comment on the Ockenden Report and next steps

As long standing campaigners for improvements in the maternity services, AIMS deeply regrets the long series of failings that have led to the Ockenden Report and previous similar reports. We pay tribute to the families who have worked so hard, alongside the review team and others, to bring us this public reckoning. No family should have to endure what they have.

As a member of a diverse and dynamic maternity services improvement community, AIMS commits to redoubling our efforts to ensure that the ongoing Maternity Transformation Programme in England remains fit for purpose, taking proper account of the report’s recommendations. We will do our utmost to ensure that every maternity service across England is well supported to move swiftly towards the Better Births vision. That vision, which we repeat often, and make no apologies for repeating again here, is this:

The Better Births Vision, 2016

Our vision for maternity services across England is for them to become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly; where every woman has access to information to enable her to make decisions about her care; and where she and her baby can access support that is centred around their individual needs and circumstances. And for all staff to be supported to deliver care which is women centred, working in high performing teams, in organisations which are well led and in cultures which promote innovation, continuous learning, and break down organisational and professional boundaries.

For AIMS, this remains a clear and compelling vision for our maternity services.

As a team of volunteers, we commit to working diligently and collaboratively, without fear or favour. In the immediate future, the work of the AIMS campaigns team will include:

  • Work with colleagues across the maternity service improvement community, including as part of the Maternity Transformation Programme’s Stakeholder Council, to discuss the actions from the Ockenden Report and how they will shape the Programme going forward.

  • Offering a detailed critique of some key sections of the report, and the evidence under-pinning some of the Immediate and Essential Actions, to contribute to a constructive discussion about whether there might be additional conclusions to be drawn.

  • Campaigning for transparency and public accountability to become keystones of all maternity transformation work in England, at all scales from national to local, at all levels from individual to organisation. Read our campaigns update for more detail.

  • Campaigning for physiology-informed maternity services, which we believe is key to underpinning a holistic approach to maternity safety; see our position paper on this topic.

  • Work with others to press for the continued careful implementation, within the context of safe staffing levels, of a relational model of maternity care, or Continuity of Carer, so that this model of care becomes the default model of care across England as currently planned; see our position paper on this topic.

  • Support for, and contributions to as necessary, all maternity service improvement initiatives that we feel will contribute towards the achievement of the Better Births vision.

All of this work is carried out by volunteers, and our engagement is constrained only by the time, knowledge and skills offered by our volunteers. Our volunteers give their time willingly and generously. The Ockenden Report is a timely reminder that there is so much more we could do together. If you appreciate our work, please look at our website to find out how you might contribute in whatever way suits you best.

By the AIMS Campaigns Team

April 7, 2022


We hope that this page is of interest, especially to our colleagues in the maternity services improvement community.

The AIMS Campaigns Team relies on Volunteers to carry out its work. If you would like to collaborate with us, are looking for further information about our work, or would like to join our team, please email campaigns@aims.org.uk.

Please consider supporting us by becoming an AIMS member or making a donation. We are a small charity that accepts no commercial sponsorship, in order to preserve our reputation for providing impartial, evidence-based information. You can make donations at Peoples Fundraising. To become an AIMS member or join our mailing list see Join AIMS

AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all.

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