Top 20 most influential people in social care

Jo Williams has been named the most influential person in social
care, writes Clare Jerrom.

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Jo Williams – overall

The chief executive of Mencap, who was formerly director of
social services at Cheshire Council and a past president of the
Association of Director of Social Services, gained the most votes
from our shortlist of more than 60 people in an exclusive
Community Care poll.

Speaking exclusively to Community Care from Cuba, where
she is currently on holiday, Williams
said: “I am extremely surprised and very thrilled to be 
honoured in this way. I use any influence I have in the field of
social care to raise the profile of people with a learning

More than 2,200 people voted in our survey to find the Top 20
most influential people in the social care sector.

A short list of around 60 people was drawn up from the original
nominations and this group were split into adult social care,
general/policy and children and young people categories.
Community Care’s readers and visitors to
then voted for their champion.

Social Care for Adults category

1) Jo Williams, chief executive of Mencap

2) Peter Beresford, chair Shaping our Lives and Professor of Social
Policy at Brunel University

3) Jayne Zito, founder and director of The Zito Trust

Williams was voted the overall most influential person, and also
topped the social care for adults category. Peter Beresford, chair
of Shaping Our Lives and professor of social policy at Brunel
University, was the runner-up in this category.

One voter nominated Beresford “for his inspirational
contribution to social care, in particular, promoting the
involvement of service users.”

The voter continued: “Peter has used his own experience of
mental distress to influence understandings of user involvement in
social care. His work encourages people to feel valued and

Jayne Zito, founder and director of The Zito Trust was voted the
third most influential person in the social care for adults

General/Policy category

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Denise Platt

1) Denise Platt, chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection


2) Bob Holman, writer and campaigner

3) David Behan, chief executive Commission for Social Care

The second general/policy category was topped by Dame Denise
Platt, chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection. Platt
was described by one voter as “one of the most observant,
articulate and informed strategic managers and policy makers in the

Platt’s colleague David Behan – the chief executive at
CSCI – came third within this category while Bob Holman, writer and
campaigner, was the runner-up in the general/policy category.

Children and Young People

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Felicity Collier


1) Felicity Collier, chief executive Baaf Adoption and

2) Naomi Eisenstadt, national director Sure Start, DfES

3) Mary Marsh, chief executive NSPCC

The final category for people working with children and young
people was topped by the chief executive of Baaf Adoption and
Fostering Felicity Collier.

Collier said: “I feel very honoured to have the confidence of
Community Care readers but also recognise the
responsibility I and BAAF have for influencing decisions about
children – we aim to win the hearts and minds of the public, policy
makers and politicians to make a difference for children separated
from their birth parents.

“It is not easy and I have sometimes felt it would be easier not to
challenge – of course discussions about policies do not always take
place publicly but sometimes the publicity is an important key in
achieving a result.  I do think it is fair to say we have had
significant influence.”

Naomi Eisenstadt, the national director of Sure Start in the
Department for Education and Skills was named the second most
influential in this category. One voter said: “She took a new
idea and convinced everyone – it worked brilliantly”.

The person who received the third highest votes in the children
and young people category was Mary Marsh, chief executive of
children’s charity NSPCC.

For a full list of the overall Top 20 click here

For a full list of the Top 20 in the adult social care category
click here

For a full list of the Top 20 in the general/policy category click

For a full list of the Top 20 in the children and young people
click here




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