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‘Unified, positive account’ of social care impact needed to get government attention, says new ADASS president

Stephen Chandler cropped

The new president of ADASS has called for the social care sector to spread a “powerful, positive” message about the impact of their work on communities, in order to be heard by government and influence change.

Delivering his inaugural speech during the ADASS Spring Seminar 2021 this morning, Stephen Chandler said social care professionals have a “collective responsibility” to raise the profile of the sector in the organisations they work for, in their communities and with their elected representatives in politics.

“I believe a powerful, positive account of the impact of adult social care has a great chance of being heard by government and forming part of changes to paying for and funding care and support and making the changes to the care and support we want. However, it has to be loud, unified, positive and engaging,” he said.

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“We need to boldly call out our impact and describe the importance of what we do.”

The president continued: “My ask of you is to be confident, to be ambitious for us when we need care and support for our families and our communities, and to help us make the change happen. Speak or write to your local politicians and MPs in a personal or a professional capacity. Let local press and media know about the difference that is made when someone gets good support or changes an abusive relationship. Support your colleagues and partners to do so. And tell us what you are doing so we can celebrate it too.”

Stephen Chandler joins ADASS after working as a director for three local authorities – Shropshire, Somerset and now Oxfordshire – for the last 15 years.

In 2019, he was instrumental in inviting BBC Panorama crews to film Somerset Council’s social care team and shine a light on the work going on in care and the pressures the system faces as growing demand outstrips funding.

Prior to his work in local government, Chandler worked as a mental health and learning disability nurse for the NHS in London, Bristol, Southampton and Hampshire. He replaces James Bullion as the new president of ADASS.

Speaking directly to Bullion during the Spring Seminar, Chandler said: “Thank you for all the hard work you have done as president in a year that none of us could ever have anticipated. Being president of ADASS is a major responsibility and role in what were ‘normal times’, but to do it during a pandemic, remotely, and with such impact, is an impossible act to follow and you really do deserve our thanks.”

He continued: “Thank you also to Julie Ogley as the outgoing immediate past president for her leadership, commitment and support. Thank you to ADASS members – it is because of you I am here and I’m especially pleased that I’ll be working closely with Sarah McClinton as Vice President, and Beverley Tarka as policy lead. For me it is a great privilege to become ADASS President, and one I look forward to with equal fear and excitement.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke