Former Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow is to join the University of Birmingham to advise on mental health policy engagement and impact. 

The care services expert will take up the role at the University’s eminent School of Social Policy. The school has a 100-year history of training social work professionals and boasts the longest-running course in the country, leading excellence and training in the sector.

Jon Glasby, Head of the School of Social Policy said: “The mission of the School is to ‘understand the world – but also to change it’.  Our social care team has been doing this for over one hundred years, but appointing the recent Care Services Minister to the team will really help to turn our research into policy and practice even more effectively.  Paul has been a longstanding supporter of our work, and it’s wonderful that he’s becoming a member of staff.”

Currently second in the UK’s Complete University Guide, social work training at Birmingham received significant praise from the Council and from local authority partners and recently passed two annual visits from the Health and Care Professions Council (which approves all social work training) with flying colours. 

More recently, Birmingham has won the educational component of the regional ‘Step Up to Social Work’ programme - the only Russell Group University to run an employer-led route into social work alongside its current BA/MA. 

Mr Burstow said: "I'm delighted to be joining the University of Birmingham. I'm looking forward to working with the team to develop a public policy programme, which supports the mental health agenda for the next five years.                                    

“But building capacity to offer treatment to more people only gets you so far. I want to build the evidence and good practice base for the preventative approaches we need to avoid people getting ill in the first place."

Mr Burstow is currently Chair of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. He also served as the Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam between 1997 and 2015. He was Minister of State for Care Services from 2010-2012. 

In both roles Mr Burstow worked to gain greater integration between health and social care, overseeing the reform of long-term care, producing the ‘No Health Without Mental Health’ cross-government strategy and designing the key provisions of the 2014 Care Act. 

During his time on the backbenches Paul led three independent commissions on improving mental health, on the future of residential care and on home care, as well as producing a national ‘call to action’ around delayed transfers of care on behalf of NHS Providers.   

Notes to editors