The Cleft Development Group

About the Cleft Development Group (CDG)

The Cleft Development Group (CDG) has the overall responsibility for steering the work of the Cleft Registry and Audit NEtwork (CRANE) Database and has representation from patient groups, clinicians and commissioners.

The CDG is responsible for guidance on all aspects of the delivery of re-organised cleft care in England and Wales and, when asked, by Scotland and Northern Ireland. It gives advice to the cleft centres, to health authorities, trusts, boards, commissioning groups and consortia and to the Departments of Health in England and the devolved administrations. It represents all stakeholders in cleft care and works with all to ensure the highest quality of cleft care in the UK to all patients who need it. It inherited the responsibilities of the Cleft Implementation Group and the Cleft Implementation Monitoring Group, which were advisory groups which help implement the centralisation of cleft services after the Clinical Standards Advisory Group (CSAG) report 1998.

The CDG acts as a steering group, providing strategic governance for the project and has ultimate responsibility for the running of the CRANE database. It is responsible for providing data for cleft births and cleft treatment for England and Wales and it endeavours, with the cooperation of the health services in Scotland and Northern Ireland, to do so for the whole of the UK.

The national CRANE database had two primary functions when established:

  1. The recording of all birth and demographic data related to children born in England and Wales with the congenital abnormality of clefting of the lip and/or palate, and where possible extending this to the whole of the UK and Ireland.
  2. The recording of all treatment of children in England and Wales with clefts of the lip and/or palate and the outcome of such treatment, and where possible extending this to the whole of the UK and Ireland.

The Terms of Reference for the CDG (to be updated in May 2018), and further information on the CDG’s governance and funding, are available as attachments (and upon request). If you have any questions about this information, please contact

Please find below a list of current members of the CDG.

Members of the Cleft Development Group (CDG) in September 2020

Simon van Eeden Chair, CDG
Victoria Beale Clinical Director, North West, IoM & North Wales Cleft Network
Lorraine Britton Lead Speech and Language Therapist, Trent Regional Cleft Lip & Palate Service
Alex Cash Clincial Lead, South Thames Cleft Service
Mechelle Collard President, Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Claire Cunniffe CLAPA Chief Executive
Sinead Davis Chair, CEN for Cleft ENT and Hearing Consultant ENT Surgeon
Scott Deacon Clinical Director South West Cleft Service
David Drake Clinical Lead Cleft Care Scotland
Yvette Edwards Joint Representative of CDs and Managers Group
Helen Extence Clinical Director, The Welsh Centre for Cleft Lip and Palate
Vanessa Hammond Clinical Psychologist CEN Lead
Norman Hay Clinical Lead, North Thames Cleft Service
Chris Hill Clinical Director, Northern Ireland Cleft Service
Peter Hodgkinson Clinical Lead, Newcastles Site, Northern and Yorkshire Cleft Service
Nicola Hudson Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist
David Landes Public Health Consultant
Jason Neil-Dwyer Clinical Director, Trent Regional Cleft Lip & Palate Network
David Orr Clinical Director, Irish Cleft Service
Ginette Phippen Clinical Director, Spires Cleft Lip & Palate Network
Marie Pinkstone Chair of the Lead Speech & Langauge Therapists (SLT) Group; and Lead SLT for North Thames Managed Cleft Network
Sandip Popat Restorative Dentistry CEN
Helen Robson Lead Cleft Nurse Specialist, North West and North Wales
Craig Russell CRANE Clinical Project Lead / Clinical Lead, Scotland
Jules Scott Orthodontic CEN Lead
Ian Sharp Deputy Chair, CDG; CRG for Paediatric Services Representative; and Clinical Director, West Midlands Cleft Centre
Jackie Smallridge Consultant Paediatric Dentist, CleftNetEast
Alistair Smyth Clinical Lead, Lees Site, Northern and Yorkshire
David Steel Programme Associate Director, NHS National Services, Scotland
Marc Swan Representative, The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons
Guy Thorburn Surgical CEN Lead
Norma Timoney Cleft Surgery Training Interface Group
Imogen Underwood Clinical Director, West Midland Cleft Service
Jan van der Meulen Senior Epidemiologist, Clincal Effectiveness Unit
Jacqueline Williams Paediatric Dentistry CEN Lead
Rachel Willis Clinical Lead, Cleft Net East
Yvonne Wren Lead, Cleft Collective

Cleft Development Group Minutes

CRANE Database – Cleft Development Group Minutes – May 2018

CRANE Database – Cleft Development Group Minutes – January 2018

CRANE Database – Cleft Development Group Minutes – October 2017

CRANE Database – Cleft Development Group Minutes – May 2017

CRANE Database – Cleft Development Group Minutes – October 2016

CRANE Database – Cleft Development Group Minutes – May 2016

CRANE Database – Cleft Development Group Minutes – October 2015

If copies of earlier minutes are needed, please contact