The role of social care minister has been downgraded following new prime minister Theresa May’s government reshuffle.
The adult social care brief will now be overseen by parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care David Mowat.
It was previously a minister of state position, a more senior role, held by Alistair Burt.
Burt was appointed minister of state for community and social care in May 2015. He announced his plans to resign in September earlier this month, but his resignation has taken effect earlier than expected due to Theresa May becoming leader of the Conservative party and prime minister.
This is the first time in eight years that the adult social care brief has been handled at junior minister level. When Labour MP, Phil Hope, took up the post in 2008, it was upgraded to minister of state level.
The last four post-holders – Hope, Liberal Democrats Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb, and Burt – were all ministers of state.
Secretary of state Jeremy Hunt will now lead on mental health, which previously sat within the care minister remit, alongside his responsibilities for all areas of health policy. Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow in Shropshire, has been appointed minister of state for health. He will lead on hospital care, patient safety and NHS performance, operations and workforce.
Mowat, who is the MP for Warrington South, will be responsible for adult social care, carers, community services, cancer, dementia, learning disabilities, and all elements of primary care, including dentistry and pharmacy.
Mowat previously served as parliamentary private secretary to Greg Clark, the former secretary of state for communities and local government. He was also elected to the public accounts committee, which scrutinises all aspects of government expenditure, in 2015.
Prior to his political career, Mowat chaired a charity dedicated to improving the life chances of young people and also set up Warrington Jobs Club, an initiative that aims to help local residents get back into work.
He lists his political interests as nuclear power, energy, and pensions.
The move follows a substantial reorganisation of the Department of Health, which has reduced any single focus on social care.
The new arrangement, which came into effect on 1 July, saw the separate directorate for social care come together with digital, technology, and local government to form one single directorate for community care. The office of the chief social worker, Lyn Romeo, also sits within this directorate. It is overseen by director general for community care, Tamara Finkelstein.
Jon Rouse, former director general of social care and local government, stayed on at the DH to oversee the changes, but leaves today to join the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership as chief officer.