Further concerns have been raised about the voice of service users among policy-makers after the Social Care Institute for Excellence appointed a former social services director as its new chair.
Scie announced last week that Jane Campbell, the only service user to chair a national social care organisation, would be replaced by Allan Bowman, a former social worker and director at Fife and Brighton and Hove councils.
It is understood that no service users applied for the post.
John Knight, head of policy at disability charity Leonard Cheshire and disabled himself, said: “Who’s going to be fighting our corner at government level? You need someone who understands the grind of managing and surviving using social care services.”
Knight, a commissioner for the Commission for Social Care Inspection, called for more people who had used social services to be on the boards of national sector bodies and more to take senior roles.
He said: “This is important both in terms of the ability of these organisations to fulfil the government’s agenda [of greater user involvement] and in terms of their credibility.”
Scie chief executive Bill Kilgallon said the importance the organisation placed on involving users in its work “would not change in any way”.
Bowman’s latest role was head of programmes at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s neighbourhood renewal unit.
He has a 30-year career in social work, but hit controversy in 1992 when he was personally criticised in a report on child care practices in Fife for an “oversimplified” view and a “rigid” policy of keeping children at home where possible