Terms of Reference

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's (NNUH) Maternity Service Liaison Committee’s (MSLC) terms of reference are based on guidance issued by the NHS Executive in 1996 (“Maternity Services Liaison Committees Guidelines for Working Effectively”). The terms of reference were approved in October 2002 and updated in March 2006.

Aims, objectives and activities

The MSLC is an independent advisory committee, bringing together the different professions involved in maternity care and user representatives. It aims to make sure that the views of women who use the NNUH’s maternity services are taken into account by NHS Norfolk (the PCT and service commissioner) and the NNUH (service provider).

The purpose of the MSLC is to contribute to the development and provision of high quality maternity services which meet the needs of local women. It achieves this purpose by
a) monitoring and reviewing services, and
b) providing feedback and making recommendations to both NHS Norfolk and to the NNUH.

In order to monitor and review local maternity services, the MSLC needs to gather and use information from a range of sources, such as:

  • consumer research (which may be carried out by the MSLC itself, or by the PCT or the NNUH)
  • quality assurance
  • comments and complaints made by users to the NNUH
    clinical audit
    feedback from user groups.

The NNUH should inform the MSLC, and seek the committee’s advice, about:

  • maternity service business plans
  • proposals for changing or developing maternity services
  • clinical audit
  • how they are involving users in planning and monitoring maternity services.

NHS Norfolk should consult the MSLC on:

  • proposals for changing or developing maternity services
  • maternity service specifications
  • quality standards for maternity services, and how these are monitored
  • what information local women and primary health care staff need about maternity services
  • priorities for clinical audit
  • how they are involving users in planning and monitoring maternity services.

The MSLC should produce an annual work programme setting out its plans for each financial year, and an annual report at the end of the year. This programme and report should be presented to a public PCT meeting and then widely circulated by the PCT.

The MSLC’s chair should meet the PCT Chief Executive twice a year to agree the annual work programme and present the annual report.

Membership and chair


Users (minimum of one third of total membership – 6-7 or more)
• nominated by voluntary maternity organisations, local women’s or community groups (including NCT, AIMS, Metfield Birth Group)
• members of Patient and Public Involvement Forum
• independent user reps

Purchasers: NHS Norfolk (2)
• public health representative
• commissioning manager

Provider: NNUH (7-9)
• senior midwifery manager (1-2)
• midwives currently in clinical practice (2-3 to cover hospital and community experience)
• consultant obstetrician
• consultant paediatrician
• non-executive director
• representative of PPI services

Primary care (2)
• general practitioner
• health visitor 

Midwifery education (1)

Members should liaise with the groups they represent. This should include reporting regularly on the activities of the MSLC to their organisation/colleagues, and giving feedback to the MSLC.

The Chair is either elected by the committee or appointed by the PCT, for a period of two years. The Chair should be independent of those directly involved with providing or commissioning maternity services and should if possible be a user member.

Committee proceedings

The Chair may invite individuals on an ad-hoc basis to a meeting for particular items on the agenda.

The MSLC may set up sub-groups on an ad-hoc basis to work on specific topics and report back to the MSLC. The sub-groups may co-opt members as appropriate.