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Questions set by Denise Alder, strategic director of the green and built environment, Slough BC


Questions answered by Julia Ross, director of social services, Barking & Dagenham LBC

Over the years you have seen many significant changes in social care. What do you think has been the most profound?

The integration of children's services has a truly radical potential for transforming the lives of children and their families. Everything else pales into insignificance compared with what this could achieve. The concept of social care being part of universal provision for children is such a leap in the right direction. Imagine no more stigmatisation for families who currently have to access services by going through a door marked social services but instead could seek help from an extended school. Let's hope the true integration will happen sooner rather than take the anticipated 10 years.

Where do you see your next career move?

I've just hit 60 and I'm retiring, so my next career move will be something completely different. I'm tempted to go back to my roots and do a spot of real social work, return to the voluntary sector, write a book, or swan off to the South of France.

What is best about living in east London?

I love living in Tower Hamlets, it's a vibrant, constantly transforming community with loads of potential. We live in the old Seaman's Mission by the Limehouse Cut and one of my greatest pleasures is to bike and run along the canal paths.

To date what has been the most rewarding point of your career?

In 1975, as the first specialist child abuse social worker, I was appointed as an adviser to the select committee on violence in the family.

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