Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

Lesley Biffen

Category: Work and education

It feels really good that my efforts are being recognised and I can’t wait to tell the whole world.

Focus on Quality Consultants

Lesley Biffen is a quality consultant with Discovery, a social enterprise and a subsidiary of the Dimensions UK Group. She is passionate about making a difference to the lives of others with disabilities.

Quality consultants are essential to Discovery; ten people we support are now also paid to be ‘experts with lived experience’ – getting involved in everything from quality checking our services to supported interviewing for business support and senior manager colleagues. More people are interested in the role and will be trained to expand the network.

Lesley undertook extra training to become a quality checker which means accompanying the quality and compliance reviewers when they visit services. This is particularly valuable because they observe aspects of care that the quality reviewers often don’t see.

“She has a powerful and authoritative manner that ensures we sit up and listen.” Involvement and Engagement Manager, Tracey Garcia says…

“When working on a project with Lesley you can see her energy build and she has an almost uncontrollable urge to speak and have her say. It is joyous to observe and humbling to hear.”

Lesley enjoys her role as a Quality Consultant and sees her priorities as:

  • Ensuring people are safe in their own homes.
  • Checking people have the right care which changes with the needs of the individual.
  • Making sure people aren’t ignored or isolated.

New found independence

Lesley has recently travelled independently and met colleagues in the Dimensions group for the first time. She joined the existing interview panel rather than being on a separate one which was a new experience for her.

Lesley always has something to say that is heartfelt and moving, to affect change. She speaks about inclusion for people with profound and multiple disabilities.

Lesley understands the fears that the people we support have, and is keen to ensure their voices are heard.

Beccy Simmonds, Involvement & Engagement Advisor who nominated Lesley says she “always has something to say that is heartfelt and moving to affect change and speaks often about inclusion for people with profound and multiple disabilities.”

At first, Lesley was not sure about taking on the paid role and it has not always been easy for her.  She has faced some physical barriers since being a quality consultant and she was understandably angry when an interview location wasn’t accessible. She pursued her complaint, received an apology and the location is now accessible for her and her colleagues.

The upset for Lesley meant that she was not sure she wanted to work with Discovery but after sitting down and talking things through she saw it as part of her role to challenge and improve access for all.

Lesley is a force to be reckoned with

Beccy Simmonds says: “She makes sure we stand together to make change. Lesley is true to herself and uncompromising. She will not do anything that does not feel right. She has the most respectful language and leads by example with this. Lesley is the most compassionate person I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

“She is a powerful, positive force and I have not seen Lesley ever say she is nervous or unsure, she knows what she wants to say and just requires the forum to do so.”


How does it feel to be a Learning Disability and Autism Leader?

“It feels really good that my efforts are being recognised and I can’t wait to tell the whole world.”


“I feel that Lesley is very passionate about making changes for people with disabilities and about being listen to. Lesley has a very powerful voice.” – Leaders’ List 2019 Judge

Get in touch about this story

If you’ve got any question for us about this story, or you’d like more information then please do get in touch.