Liam Byrne’s departure from the Department of Health in last week’s government reshuffle must not disrupt the progress of crucial policies for the sector, says the Association of Directors of Social Services.
Byrne’s promotion to minister of state at the Home Office, after just one year as care services minister, has removed an advocate for raising social care’s status and supporter of increased funding.
ADSS president Julie Jones said: “I hope no momentum will be lost.”
However, Byrne’s replacement, Ivan Lewis, has a rich social care pedigree. The former Treasury and Department for Education and Skills minister was formerly chief executive of social care charity, the Manchester Jewish Federation and chair of Bury Council’s then social services committee.
Jones said it had been a “very good few months” with Byrne at the helm. But she added that Lewis had already contacted ADSS to arrange a meeting this week, and he comes in with a “strong working knowledge of social care.”
Other key changes:
- Alan Johnson has replaced Ruth Kelly as education secretary.
- Parmjit Dhanda has replaced Maria Eagle as junior children’s minister.
- John Reid is new home secretary, following the sacking of Charles Clarke.
- Ruth Kelly has become secretary of state of a new Department for Communities and Local Government, which replaces the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
- Hilary Armstrong is the first cabinet-level minister for social exclusion, with responsibility for the subject moving from the ODPM to the Cabinet Office.
- The Cabinet Office has also taken over responsibility for the third sector from the Home Office.