Skills for Care, the strategic body for workforce development in adult social care in England, has announced the appointment of a new chief executive after a “rigorous selection process”.
Oonagh Smyth, the executive director of Strategy and Influence at learning disabilities charity Mencap, will take up her new post in early 2020.
Commenting on her appointment Smyth said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new CEO of Skills for Care. Social care is vital. I have seen social care at its best and it is powerful when delivered by people that care, and it transforms lives.
“Skills for Care is an excellent organisation, with a skilled and motivated team, highly engaged with employers across the sector. I know from my own experiences the significant impact Skills for Care has on workforce development. So while I am sad to leave my amazing colleagues at Mencap, I’m really looking forward to meeting all the team and getting to work.”
Smyth first came into contact with Mencap when she volunteered for a local Mencap Gateway Club in Belfast while she was doing her A Levels. It was there that she saw the difference that social care can make in people’s lives.
The incoming CEO is also a co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance, a cross-sector alliance of 80 social care organisations influencing at the highest government levels.
She has a law degree, a Masters in Human Rights Law from Queens University Belfast and an Executive Coaching Masters from Ashridge Business School.
Smyth coaches executives in the charity sector pro bono.
Skills for Care said the selection process for its new CEO was led by its chair Dame Moira Gibb, and included challenging interview panels made up of Skills for Care Board members, staff and stakeholders, including experts by experience and employers.
“We had a very strong set of candidates for this demanding role, but Oonagh’s experience and commitment shone through, impressing all of us involved,” noted Dame Moira.
“We have appointed a dynamic, experienced CEO who will add real value and fresh thinking to the highly effective work our team is already doing, That intensive work with employers and workers that Oonagh will lead means people who need care and support in our communities can live the lives they want to.”