The Mental Health Commission was established in July 2012 under the Mental Health Commission Act (the Act), for the purposes of improving the mental health system in NSW.

Following significant consultation undertaken by the Commission, Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 sets the overarching direction for the provision of services and support to people in NSW that experience mental illness.

Five years following the establishment of the Commission, a review will be undertaken to consider Living Well and the significant work that has been undertaken by the Commission; and will identify opportunities to clarify, strengthen and focus the Commission’s role and functions into the future.

This review will ensure that efforts continue to focus on the significant system reforms necessary to deliver an effective mental health system that is well placed to meet the demands of the future. This review meets the statutory requirements under section 20 of the Act.


The review will examine the extent to which the work of the Mental Health Commission has met the functions and principles given under the Act; and will make recommendations regarding the future role, functions, principles and priorities of the Commission.

The review will consider whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid, and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives.

Terms of the review

The review will consider:

Part A – Review of the work of the Commission

  1. The work of the Commission, taking into account the functions of the Commission as described in section 12 of the Act and the functions identified in the Ministerial Charter letter of 2016, and assess the extent these have been met. In particular, the Act outlines the following functions:
    1. prepare a draft strategic plan for the mental health system in New South Wales, monitor and report on the implementation of the strategic plan
    2. review, evaluate, report and advise on mental health services and other services and programs provided to people who have a mental illness
    3. promote and facilitate the sharing of knowledge about mental health issues
    4. undertake and commission research, innovation and policy development
    5. advocate for and promote the prevention of mental illness and early intervention strategies for mental health, and the general health and well-being of people who have a mental illness and their families and
    6. educate the community about mental health issues.
  2. In exercising these functions, the extent to which the Commission has:
    1. focussed on systemic mental health issues and
    2. taken into account particular populations and issues, including co-morbid issues, the interaction between people who have a mental illness and the criminal justice system, and the needs of different sections of the community, including Aboriginal communities, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and regional and remote communities.
  3. The extent to which the principles governing the work of the Commission have been met, as described in section 11 of the Act, particularly:
    1. that people who have a mental illness have:
      1. access to the best possible care
      2. are treated with dignity and respect
      3. are supported to live fully in community life and lead meaningful lives and
    2. the extent to which the Commission has adopted a consultative, collaborative, whole of government and whole of community approach, enhancing integration and coordination across the mental health sector.

Part B – Future state recommendations

  1. To make recommendations regarding the future state of the Commission, including:
    1. role of the Commission
    2. functions of the Commission
    3. principles underpinning the Commission’s work and
    4. priorities for the Commission.

Part C – Review of the Act

  1. Taking into consideration the work of the Commission, to report on:
    1. whether the policy objectives of the Act, set out in section 3 of the Act, remain valid and
    2. whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives. Particular focus should be on
      1. whether the provisions of sections 11 and 12 appropriately set out the functions of the Commission and the principles guiding the work of the Commission
      2. whether the reporting provisions of sections 13 and 14 remain appropriate
      3. whether section 10 establishing the Mental Health Community Advisory Council in statute remains valid, with consideration to the role of any advisory group, and whether this is more appropriately an administrative function of the Commission.


The review will be led by Dr David Chaplow — former National Director of Mental Health and Chief Advisor, Ministry of Health, Wellington, New Zealand — reporting to the Minister for Mental Health, with Secretariat and management support from the Mental Health Branch.


The review will:

  • call for written submissions, and undertake thematic analysis of these​
  • undertake a desktop review and analysis of the Commission’s work
  • facilitate face to face consultations through one-to-one meetings and a consultation workshop with key stakeholders and
  • provide a final report.


The Minister for Mental Health will table a report in Parliament on the outcomes of the review by 30 June 2018.​

Current as at: Thursday 5 October 2017
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch