AIMS statement prepared for the Stakeholder Council Meeting - April 2022

In the Stakeholder Council we have a common purpose that focuses on the need for maternity transformation. We do not need to be convinced. Because we know the system is failing us and it has been for decades, service users and staff alike. I am sorry if that sounds harsh but it needs to be said.

We owe it to harmed families, in Shrewsbury and Telford and elsewhere, to ensure that change happens. To ensure that services across England are true to the Better Births vision, and deliver the improved outcomes we expect.

The key questions today for AIMS are these:

  1. What does this latest report add to our knowledge about where system weaknesses lie, and what actions might make a difference?
  2. How can we work with this new knowledge to strengthen, rather than unhelpfully unsettle and divert, the ongoing Maternity Transformation Programme?
  3. What unique role can the Stakeholder Council play to ensure that system change takes place, as it must, within a framework that places transparency and accountability at its core?

One of the key issues identified in the Ockenden Report was the difficulty in speaking up. So I’d like to suggest that the Stakeholder Council must speak up and speak honestly. Now is not the time to avoid the awkward conversations. Open debate is vital.

We need to move ahead steadily. I hope that all of us are able to set aside time to read the full Report carefully. It is not too late to do this. And this must be done with due diligence, for example with respect to the claims made and interpretations presented.

There are always different ways of interpreting evidence, and different inferences that may be drawn. So as we read, what really strikes each of us? What questions remain? What is missing from the story? What conclusions occur to us? And then, how does all this match up with the current programme. Where do we need to do better?

The Ockenden Report is an important public reckoning. By paying careful attention to the report, and those that follow, we will hopefully see an increasingly effective Maternity Transformation Programme. One that keeps transformation at its heart, and does not lose its way. For let’s be clear: a programme that delivers well-intentioned, but ultimately unsatisfactory, incremental change would help no-one.


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.

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.

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