Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For information and advice, please read our coronavirus page. Read More.

Our board

Andy Willis, Chair


Andy Willis

Andy became Chair of the Trust in March 2020. As well as leading our Board, Andy sees his role as supporting partnership working between acute, social care, mental health/learning disability and other services in Devon and the South West so we can collectively make a real impact on the health and wellbeing of our population. Andy is also the Chair of Dorset HealthCare and Alliance Homes and he has lay/non-executive roles in education sectors.

Chief Executive

Melanie Walker MBE

Melanie Walker MBE, joined the Trust in April 2014. Since her arrival, she has been instrumental in raising the profile of mental health,  learning disability and neurodiversity. A general nurse by background, Melanie has worked at all levels and in all settings in the NHS. She has a long history of leading change in health and social care services and has been a commissioner. Melanie has an extensive experience of working and leading in the voluntary sector, including developing social enterprises. Melanie was formerly Chief Executive of Newham Primary Care Trust and Chief Executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow, Essex.  She was NHS Community Leader of the year in 2009 for her work in involving patients and communities in healthcare and for her work supporting equality and inclusion.
Melanie received an MBE in 2019 for services to the NHS.

You can follow Melanie on Twitter: @DPT_ChiefExec

Non-executive Directors

Non-executive Director

Martin Beaman

Martin is a Physician by background and has 40 years of NHS experience having originally trained in London. He was a Consultant Renal Physician at the RD&E for over 20 years and the Post Graduate Dean for Medical Education across the South West for many years before retiring at Easter 2019. He brings experience of both board level and clinical management and has an MBA in Health Executive Management. He also has an interest in clinical governance and patient safety and chairs the Quality and Safety Committee. Martin joined us as a Non-executive Director in July 2019.

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Non-executive Director Gerry Marshall


Non-executive Director

Gerry Marshall

Gerry previously had a career in the National Probation Service, and was Chief Executive of Thames Valley Probation Trust and the Probation Chiefs' Association lead for Restorative Justice and Diversity and Equality. Gerry is Chair of trustees of Circles UK, a trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform and an adviser to the Desmond Tutu Foundation. He is a national assessor for the Restorative Services Quality Mark and works as a criminal justice consultant. Gerry took up his post as a Non-executive Director on 1 December 2016.

Non-executive Director

Ian Turner

Ian Turner is a Chartered Accountant and retired as a partner from the Accounting and Professional Services firm, KPMG in 2003. He has since worked in a number of organisations in a Non-executive Director, Executive, Trustee and advisory capacity.

Between 2007 and 2017 he was a Non-executive Director at Weston Area Health NHS Trust, where he spent time as Chair of the Audit Committee and as Vice Chair.

He is currently Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) which represents Finance Professionals within the NHS. He is also a Trustee and Chair of Audit and Finance of RICE, a Charity researching into the Care of the Elderly and the Healthcare Supply Association (HCSA), a membership organisation for procurement professionals in the NHS.

Non-executive Director

Tanya Barron

Tanya has senior experience in many fields, notably the care, disability and international development sectors. She is a former Chief Executive of Home-Start International and Plan International UK, and was International Director of Leonard Cheshire Disability. Tanya was Chair of the UNICEF NGO Committee in Geneva for seven years and her current non-executive roles include Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, the Education Development Trust and the chair of Affinity Trust.

Associate Non-executive Director


Executive Directors

Interim Medical Director

Colm OwensDr Colm Owens

Colm trained in medicine in Liverpool before moving to London to train in psychiatry. He qualified as a consultant in 2009 and has worked in Liaison Psychiatry, Old Age Psychiatry and General Adult Psychiatry. 

He has worked at Devon Partnership NHS Trust since 2011. He was Clinical Director of Older People’s Services between 2012 and 2019 where he was involved in setting up the Devon Memory Service and the Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service. He took up the post of Deputy Medical Director. He has chaired the Trust’s Clinical Advisory Group since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Colm holds an honorary senior clinical lecturer post with the University of Exeter and has published research in elder abuse and carer stress in dementia. His interests include population health and epidemiology of mental illness. He was recently appointed to clinically lead the Devon ICS Provider Collaborative.

Dr Jason Fee

Jason trained in medicine in Cape Town, South Africa before returning to the UK in 1996. Jason began his career in Psychiatry in 1998 and qualified as a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in 2004, joining the Trust as the then medical lead for the Trusts Regional Secure Unit, the Butler Clinic in 2005.
In 2014 Jason took up the post as Clinical Director for Secure Services leading this service during its transition into the new Dewnans Hospital on the Langdon site. In 2016 Jason co-led the development of the south west new care model programme for secure services which became one of only four wave one pilot sites nationally. In October 2018 Jason transitioned into the Clinical Director role for the programme. This programme, having achieved national recognition and awards has now expanded to include Adult Eating Disorders and Child and Adolescent Tier 4 services. Jason remains the Clinical Director for the programme which is now known as the South West Provider Collaborative for which Devon Partnership NHS Trust is the Lead Provider.

Colm Owens and Dr Jason Fee will job share the Interim Medical Director role and hope to be able to bring their complementary experiences to the post.


Director of Nursing and Professions

Chris Burford

Chris first joined the Trust in 2002 as locality operations manager for Teignbridge, moving on to other Trust operational roles in Exeter in 2007 before becoming managing partner for the newly formed Adult Directorate in 2010. In 2016 he was appointed Deputy Director of Nursing and Interim Director of Nursing and Practice in April 2019.

Chris has held a number of senior operational and nursing roles throughout his 37 year NHS career in London and the South West, originally trained as a general nurse in Cheltenham and later mental health nurse in London.

Chris' special interests include learning from people's experiences of our mental health services and engaging people, families and staff in everything that we do.

He is a qualified management coach and has a keen interest in staff leadership and  development programmes. He is a specialist mental health advisor to Care Quality Commission.

Chief Operating Officer

Susan Smith

Susan joined the Trust in March 2015 as Managing Partner for Secure Services, before being appointed Deputy Chief Operating Officer in 2017, Interim Chief Operating Officer in 2018 and Chief Operating Officer in February 2019. Sue also is the Director of Workforce.

Susan originally trained in the Midlands and has held various senior roles, leading operations and transformation across the East and West Midlands with more than 30 years' experience working within health and local government.

Susan’s previous post before commencing with the Trust was as Deputy Director of Integrated Commissioning for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 


Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Finance and Strategy

Phill Mantay

Phill Mantay took up the role of Director of Finance and Strategy in April 2019.  He has worked in the NHS in the South West since 2001, has a professional background in finance and has held a Board Director role in the NHS since 2016 working across transformation, finance and strategy. In this role Phill holds a portfolio responsibility for business development, strategy, estates, digital and finance. He is also the Senior Information Risk Owner for the organisation.

Director of Corporate Affairs

Laura Hobbs

Laura first joined the organisation in 2008 as a project manager in Human Resources, before undertaking the Associate Director of Organisational Development post for a year. In 2010, Laura became the Trust CQC Inspection Lead and held this post for 7 years, until she was appointed the Head of CQC Compliance and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, taking a strategic leadership role in both regulatory compliance and equality. 

Laura was appointed as Director of Corporate Affairs in February 2020. 

Laura has many years experience working across the Devon healthcare system joining the Devon Workforce Development Confederation in 2002, subsequently working in a variety of primary care, acute Trust and mental health / learning disability Trust roles across service planning, service improvement, workforce development, organisational development, project management, compliance and equality. Laura has significant healthcare experience in transformational change, engagement and involvement, policy development, quality and safety, compliance and regulation, governance and inclusion.

Interim Director of HR and Organisational Development

David Smith

David SmithDavid took up his current position in December 2021 having joined the organisation one year earlier as Director of Special Projects with a main focus on implementing the workforce model for the Community Mental Health Framework. Prior to joining Devon Partnership NHS Trust, David had been the Transition Director at Gloucestershire Health and Care and before this he had been the Executive Director of HR and OD at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Prior to joining the NHS in 2009, David had worked in the banking sector for 20 years in both operational and senior HR roles.

He is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, a former member of the NHS Staff Council Executive and former Chair of the SW HRD network. He is passionate about customer service, OD and helping colleagues develop.