SCIE opinion - 01 October 2013

Any comments on this opinion? Please email

Photograph of Andrea Sutcliffe

"It's goodbye to SCIE"

A letter from SCIE's Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, to SCIE's next Chief Executive, Tony Hunter

Dear Tony

At the end of this week I say goodbye to SCIE and head off to the Care Quality Commission. I'm so pleased that you have been appointed to take my place and I know that you'll do a great job when you arrive in January. I thought I would share a few reflections on the last 18 months to whet your appetite for the fun times ahead. Oh, and maybe a few tips along the way!

I have had a fantastic time as SCIE Chief Executive - working with a tremendous bunch of staff, supportive board and great partners. I think we have achieved a lot and I have been so impressed by our range of work and the way we develop and disseminate it. In my last month I have been tweeting #AndreasSCIEfavourites a link a day to some excellent resources including films about people who live with dementia; opinion pieces; research briefings on diverse topics, such as reablement and loneliness; e Learning packages for adult safeguarding; our website Info4Care Kids; and guides to support personalisation, dignity and end of life care. There is so much we have to offer and I know that you will have to think carefully about how SCIE focuses its efforts in the future.

As you know, social care is incredibly diverse, and a lovely aspect of this job is working with so many different people and organisations across the sector. I am very glad that SCIE hosts Think Local Act Personal partnership, which brings together national partners, commissioners, providers and people who use services - and their carers - to promote personalised social care. SCIE's own Co-Production Network is a vibrant community of people willing to contribute their different perspectives to the work we do; to make sure it is rooted in the reality of lived experience.

A lot has changed here over the last 18 months – I am very proud that SCIE led the winning bid for the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care with our partners. We are enjoying working with NICE to develop and disseminate the guidance that will form the basis of quality standards for social care in the future. We have also established a new commissioning relationship with the Department of Health; won other new contracts, for example with the Department for Education; further developed Learning Together, our multi-agency systems approach for serious case reviews (which is also attracting international interest); and launched the website Find Me Good Care to provide advice and information for people navigating their way through the social care system.

I wouldn't want you to think it is all sorted though – there is still a lot to do and many opportunities for you to build on. I'd highlight three areas in particular. First is integration. SCIE signed up to Integrated Care: Our Shared Commitment in May this year alongside colleagues in health and social care. Building on the research briefing we published last year, we have also developed an interactive tool to help integrated teams work together. This will be launched in October. I am sure there is much more we can do to articulate and strengthen the unique contribution that social care can make to person-centred coordinated care.

Second is quality. As I predicted earlier in the year, the recommendations arising from the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire Hospital are so relevant for social care. Given our work on dignity and adult and children's safeguarding, there will be scope for us to support the sector in making the improvements we all want to see. And finally, the welcome aspirations set out in the Care Bill will only be achieved through effective implementation. That will need helpful guidance and support, which I think SCIE is very well placed to deliver.

To take advantage of these opportunities, the organisational development we have already begun at SCIE will need to continue to ensure we are truly responsive and relevant to the needs of everyone working in, or using social care services.

So, a challenging agenda lies ahead but you won't be doing it alone. You have a great cast list – our Chair, Lord Michael Bichard whose sights are firmly focused on making sure SCIE makes a difference; an enthusiastic Board; an experienced executive team; and dedicated staff. I've really enjoyed working with them and hope you will too.

But it's not just the SCIE family that will help – many others are so generous with their views and contributions. And a great way to connect is via Twitter. It's terrific that you have already taken the plungeI have learnt so much and it is a fun way to keep up-to-date and connect with new people.

As I am sure you can tell, I have loved being the Chief Executive at SCIE and I am very grateful to everyone at SCIE and our partners for their kindness and support. You're a lucky man!

But this is not goodbye really – merely au revoir. As Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care I will have a shared ambition with you to improve the quality of social care services, so I'm sure I'll be seeing you.…

Best wishes


See also