Reflecting on 2021 – Director of Adults’ Services, Bedford Borough Council

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Kate Walker, Director of Adults’ Services, Bedford Borough Council

It’s amazing how quickly 2021 has flown by and the ongoing pandemic has continued to be tough for all of us, but for people drawing on and working in social care, it has been a time of real continued challenge and I know we are not all out of the woods just yet.

Looking back over the year as Director of Adults’ Services in Bedford Borough Council I have found it incredible to see such creativity, care and compassion to support people. We have celebrated this and reflected often to harness the best elements of new ways of working, which have continued to be developed. The collaboration between health and social care services with our partner agencies has also continued to be positive and effective. We have also reached new heights in learning more about the wealth of expertise and important work that exists every day in our local communities and neighbourhoods.

For me, the past year has also again shone a light on the fundamental part social care plays. In moving forward I feel we must continue to make sure that we see the changes needed to ensure that people who work in social care are valued and recognised for all that they do every day to ensure critical supports and services continue to be provided.

As we await news on social care reform we have continued to see workforce challenges, so we continue to work hard to retain our valued and diverse workforce and to support wellbeing. We continue our aspiration to recruit to the wide range of opportunities available across the sector and to work in a co-produced way to shape the future, so people can be supported in a way that fulfils their lives, with those who are entering or already working, in a rewarding and successful career locally. Importantly, I cannot look back on the past year without acknowledging and recognising the critical role that unpaid carers have played day-in-day-out, they have continued to be the backbone. A massive thank you to you all.

There is a lot to be proud of looking back on 2021 and I look forward to the new opportunities 2022 will bring individually and collectively and within the health and care system partnerships.

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