Adult care director quits council for personal reasons after five years in post

Sarah Mitchell's departure from Surrey council follows critical serious case review but leader praises contribution to transforming adult care

Surrey council’s adults’ services director Sarah Mitchell has left the council by mutual consent after five years in the post. In a statement, the authority said Mitchell had left her role “for personal reasons”.

Council leader David Lodge paid a warm tribute to Mitchell, saying  “Sarah has personally led a transformation in the way that adult social care is offered in Surrey and is widely respected and admired for her approach to partnership working. I would like to thank Sarah personally and on behalf of the council for all she has done for Surrey. We will miss her.”

Sarah Mitchell, director, SurreyMitchell’s departure comes less than four months after the authority was heavily criticised in the serious case review into the death of a woman who went nine days without home care after immigration officials closed down her domiciliary agency. Mitchell apologised for failings identified in the SCR, which found that a social worker tasked with contacting Foster after the closure of the agency, CareFirst 24, did not do so. Two staff were disciplined as a result.

Improvement under strong leadership

Mitchell joined Surrey in 2009 from the Isle of Wight, after the county council had fallen from three starts to one under the old ratings system. In 2010, the Care Quality Commission found that the authority had made good progress as a result of strong leadership, in its final annual performance assessment of council adults’ services.

Under Mitchell’s leadership, the authority became one of seven councils to pilot outsourcing social work services to an independent practice, in Surrey’s case, its provision for people with a hearing impairment.

She also announced plans last year for social workers to be placed in GP surgeries to ensure disabled and older people received more integrated care.

Following her departure, Mitchell said:  I wish the council and colleagues in the NHS and the voluntary and independent sector the very best for the future and I thank my staff for all their tremendous hard work and commitment over recent years.”

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2 Responses to Adult care director quits council for personal reasons after five years in post

  1. Mike Burton January 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Her name is Sarah. This article is written as if it were the write up of a court case with Sarah Mitchell as the defendant – ‘Under Mitchell’s leadership’, ‘Mitchell said’, ‘Paid a warm tribute to Mitchell’, Mitchell joined Surrey’. Poor journalism and for Community Care a great way of distancing itself from its readership. Not very person centred, not very empathetic, not very nice.

    • mithran samuel January 14, 2014 at 9:58 am #

      Thanks for the comment. We don’t use surnames to distance ourselves from our readership and I’m sorry if it comes across as so. It is simply an editorial convention used by many other publications that ensures that we are consistent in the way we do things. It would not be an option for us to use first names – other than in very exceptional cases – as it would not be keeping with our style of journalism. But other publications use titles (i.e. Mr/Ms) so we would certainly welcome readers’ views on that.