Behan needs support to succeed as national director, say sector leaders

David Behan’s appointment as the Department of Health’s first director general for social care will not fully redress the lack of social care policy-making capacity in the DH, sector leaders said last week.

Behan, currently the Commission for Social Care Inspection’s chief inspector, will hold the first social care-specific post on the DH board since the controversial departmental reorganisation in 2003. That stripped out many social care posts and preceded the abolition of the DH-based Social Services Inspectorate in 2004.

Behan’s appointment at the helm of a new social care directorate has been widely acclaimed, given his track record and the overview of the sector that he has gleaned at the CSCI. But there were warnings he would need more support to give the sector greater voice and status within the DH.

British Association of Social Workers chair Ray Jones said: “One person alone will not make a difference. It will need an increase in social care capacity, which was stripped out when the Social Services Inspectorate was disbanded.”

Andrea Rowe, head of Skills for Care, agreed, saying: “He’s got a tall order putting social care high on the agenda as a single director general on effectively an NHS board.”

The DH could not confirm whether care services director Anthony Sheehan and national director for social care Kathryn Hudson, currently the DH’s most senior social care officials, would report to Behan, nor whether he would ultimately be responsible for the Care Services Improvement Partnership.

Behan’s chief responsibilities will be helping deliver the health and social care white paper, providing social care leadership across central and local government, and “securing resources for adult social care provision”.

He has not decided when he will take up his post.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.