I began my career as a social worker assistant in inner-city Derby in 1973, trained at Bradford University qualifying in 1978 and then worked in Bradford for many years.
I became director of social services for Bradford, director for children and young people and director for adults in Kirklees. I retired in April 2016.Alison was active in the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) from its inception and was elected vice president in 2014, becoming president from April 2015. This was a huge privilege and enabled her to engage in national policy shaping and give advice on behalf of directors of children's services to government departments and others. I have a long track record of engagement in national policy work from the Marmot Review in 2008 to Future in Mind in 2016. Following retirement I have taken a number of roles including: co-chair of the Expert Working Group for improving mental health support for children in care, advisory board member for the Children’s Commissioner and from January 2019 Chair of the board of trustees for the National Children’s Bureau, a leading children’s charity.
I have acted as a champion for children at a local and national level with particular emphasis on empowering children to directly influence policy and practice. I pressed for better support for care leavers and mental health of young people as specific issues during her Presidential year.
Giving behind the scenes support and encouragement to help with the Care Experienced Conference is a continuation of my passion for getting the voice of children who have been in care heard and helping them to make a difference!