New head of institute for excellence determined to engage service users

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has appointed a new chief
executive to replace Ray Jones, who left just seven months after he
joined the organisation following a dispute over his pension

Bill Kilgallon will take up the post in January next year. He is
currently director of St Anne’s Shelter and Housing Action, which
he founded in 1971. The Leeds-based charity helps single homeless
people who have learning difficulties, mental health problems, or
misuse alcohol or drugs.

Kilgallon said:”I have spent all my working life in social care and
I have seen a large number of services that have made a huge
difference to individuals but I have also seen some very poor

Gathering the views of service users will be a priority, although
he acknowledged that certain groups were harder to reach than

Low numbers of children and older people attended the five
listening days held by Scie in May to gain input from all its
stakeholders. Kilgallon said imaginative ways of engaging such
groups would be needed.

“Organisations who deal with, say, older people are out there and
it is up to us to make sure we make that contact. In 1971 when I
was setting up the single homeless initiative the first thing I did
was to interview single people and ask them what services they
wanted and they told me they would like a day service. That’s how
we started and there is no other way to work.”

Scie, which is one-year-old this month, had made some progress,
particularly with its work on best practice in fostering, which
Kilgallon described as a “vital service”.

“I will make sure I am involved in ensuring that we visit projects
and services run for all different groups of people to find out
what they think of them,” he added.

His social care credentials include a 13-year stint as chairperson
of Leeds Council’s social services committee between 1979 and 1992,
a place on the Valuing People task force and 20 years as a foster
carer. In 1992 he received an OBE for his work with St Anne’s
Shelter and Housing Action and has honorary doctorates from Leeds
and Leeds Metropolitan universities.

He said that his “mix of experience”, which also includes his role
as chairperson of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the
largest in the country, gave him “a combined knowledge that is very
good for the job”.

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