The new chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Allan Bowman, has a very hard act to follow; Jane Campbell is quite simply a one-off. It is pretty much down to the sheer force of her personality that the service-user movement has enjoyed such a high profile over the last few years. Some have expressed disappointment that her successor is not a service user too. And the fact that the announcement coincides with reports that Campbell's former employer, the National Centre for Independent Living, is facing a struggle for survival is a double blow to the movement.
But there is no particular reason why the chair of Scie has to be a service user. What's important is that the organisation takes full account of their views and thanks in large part to Campbell, Scie is very much geared up to continue to do that with initiatives such as its Partners Council and its use of service users' own experience as a research base.
What Scie needs is a strong leader who will sharpen its focus. Bowman has a reputation as a forceful character not afraid of courting controversy. That could well turn out to be an ideal
qualification for the job.
See Eyebrows raised as institute picks chair