Liz Chidgey joined Essex Cares as Managing Director on Monday 4th March 2013.
The time is right, both in terms of my career development, and the current position of Essex Cares in the market. This is a good opportunity for me to use the skills that I have acquired in my many years working in adult social care to develop Essex Cares. It is a period of tremendous change in the public sector, and it is appropriate to consider how vehicles like Essex Cares can support the increasing requirements that the future presents, the agenda is challenging, and the opportunity for Essex Cares is significant. I am pleased to play a part in the future of Essex Cares.
The primary aim is to reposition Essex Cares so that external awareness is increased, and that there is a strong understanding of the company’s ability to deliver high quality services. This is of course important to the shareholder Essex County Council. Essex Cares needs to be positioned to have the capacity to cope with existing services, as well as having the ability to potentially deliver beyond the current offering. This of course extends as Essex Cares delivers services outside of Essex, currently to West Sussex County Council and in time to other local authorities across the country. Equally important, is the need to increase the general publics’ awareness of Essex Cares, so that there is greater knowledge of the services provided and the support available to individuals.
The ultimate aim is for Essex Cares to be referred to, where appropriate, as the first point of contact for social and increasingly health care requirements. As a result, there is a need for the company to have a strong, flexible workforce, so that it is able to adapt to the changing needs that are presented.
The pace of change for the country and social care & health is dramatic and the crux of the issue will be Essex Cares ability to cope with the changing and potentially increasing demands on the workforce. This combined with being able to offer a best value service to commissioners is key to the success of the company. It is a known fact that a significant proportion of residential home customers could cope well in their own homes with the right support; Essex Cares has an obligation to offer information, advice and guidance so that people can make informed choices about their own futures. The statistics around the demographics of the population are well versed and as a result Essex Cares will need to look at recruiting staff where there is a business need and retaining the experience of its 1000 strong workforce.
I have been running the largest adult services department in the country with a turnover of £500 million; all the skills I have developed will be useful for this role.
Essex Cares needs to foster relationships with Essex County Council as its shareholder and commissioner of services; this is in essence no different from the relationships built with other commissioners. The shareholder is showing a great vote of confidence in the company and of course wants it to grow and develop. It is appropriate that the company becomes a strong blend of commercial skill and social care and health expertise to prepare itself for future requirements.
The quality and the skill of the workforce are incredibly important, combined with the strong brand presence.
I was involved with the project that led to the creation of Essex Cares; in fact I put forward the proposition to Cabinet Members which led to the establishment of the country’s first LATC in adult social care. It has been very interesting to watch the company grow and develop during its first three and a half years of trading and I look forward to becoming part of the team.