I didn’t get where I am today…

I didn’t get where I am today…without seizing opportunities presented to me. Andrea Rowe

Who has most inspired you in your career?
Audrey Hallam, former deputy chief probation officer for South Yorkshire. She gave me the vision of a public service that faced outwards and used opportunities provided by other services to obtain maximum help for offenders. These included education, housing, the benefits system and civic amenities.

How would you like to be remembered?
Steering Skills for Care to make a significant contribution to the quality of social care. Along with Arthur Keefe, former chair, and Nadra Ahmed, vice chair, I believe we have helped Skills for Care to reach the small independent service providers with practical support and guidance in meeting the national minimum standards.

What has been your worst mistake?
Making two appointments to key roles in the company that didn’t turn out well. The first was when, through a misguided desire to meet performance indicators, a member of staff dealt with our invoices in such a way that our next year’s grant was late. The second held back the development of our regional structure for at least a year which caused divisions among staff.

What motivates you most?
Solving problems for staff and the sector. I try to practice what I preach as chief executive of a workforce development body and obtain enormous pleasure from offering career pathways and personal development to staff.

How would you describe your leadership style?
Open and strong. I try to foster openness without creating a “me having to be there” culture where there is little trust and delegation to others.

What’s the secret of leading change in an organisation?
Identifying champions, and consulting and explaining as many times as it takes. We all operate in a context of uncertainty and change in social care. It is important to show strong leadership and encourage staff to show leadership in their own sphere of activity.

What’s the single biggest danger facing social care?
It continues to be squeezed by health and education, thus offering the least to the most vulnerable people in our society. This matters because people who use care services and carers deserve better and know what quality social care work is.

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