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New Year’s honours: recognised sector leaders in their own words

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LGC’s essential daily briefing.

Another year, another round of New Year’s honours.

This week a number of high-profile local government figures – many of them social care professionals, in particular – received recognition for services to the sector.

Many of those listed in the honours are prolific commentators in LGC.

Dave Hill, executive director of social care at Essex CC, received a CBE for services to children. When president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, Mr Hill was outspoken on the subject of child poverty, social mobility and early intervention.

Nick Whitfield, chief executive of Achieving for Children, also received a CBE for services to children. The chief executive of the first ‘spin-out’ for delivering children’s services, set up by Kingston upon Thames RBC and Richmond LBC explained in a detailed article for LGC how the new delivery model, later taken up by Sunderland, can secure better outcomes for children.

Alan Wood, former children’s services director at Hackney LBC and also a former ADCS president, was also recognised. Mr Wood was ADCS president during the height of concern about child sexual exploitation following the Jay report in 2015, and as such led the sector’s responses.

Adult social care figures were recognised too. Ray James, director of health, housing and adult social care at Enfield, was awarded a CBE. Mr James, who is about to begin a secondment at NHS England as national learning disabilities director, regularly wrote for LGC. In particular Mr James used his columns to address the social care funding gap and how the sector had learned from the Winterbourne View scandal.

Care Quality Commission chief inspector Andrea Sutcliffe, also awarded a CBE for services to adult social care, has used her LGC columns to demonstrate a tough attitude to care services that fall short of expectations. In a column this time last year, Ms Sutcliffe made clear that care providers would not be able to use cost pressures to get “off the hook” if their services were not up to scratch. She has also written in detail about one of the most distressing symptoms of the care funding gap: the closure of care homes.

The social care funding crisis continues but it would appear from these honours that the work the sector is doing is being appreciated, even if it seems the government is not necessarily listening all of the time. 

Two well-known former chief executives were also recognised in the New Year’s honours: Sue Smith, previously chief at Cherwell DC and South Northamptonshire DC, and Rob Tinlin, until recently chief executive at Southend-on-Sea BC.

Coincidentally, both have written for LGC about life at the top of a council: Ms Smith has written on the need to invest in chief executives as leaders and to foster emotional intelligence, while Mr Tinlin wrote a memorable column on the need for the Department for Communities & Local Government to support chief executives rather than treating them as “whipping boys”.

Those rewarded in the sector this year reinforce the fact there is value in speaking truth to power. 

By Rachel Dalton, features editor

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