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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / New Director of Social Work appointed

New Director of Social Work appointed

Issued: 22 Jul 2010

The Highland Council's recruitment panel for director-level appointments has unanimously appointed Bill Alexander as its Director of Social Work. Mr Alexander will take over from Harriet Dempster, who retires at the end of August after 11 years at the helm of the service.

Mr Alexander will take up his post on Wednesday 1 September.

Mr Alexander has worked in Social Work for 30 years. This has included periods with Strathclyde Regional Council and East Dunbartonshire Council and for the last 10 years with The Highland Council in a joint post with NHS Highland.

Mr Alexander has managed the national "Getting it Right for Every Child" pathfinder initiative in Highland. He has held management responsibilities within child health and education, as well as social work.

He has most recently been acting as the chief operating officer of the Council's Social Work Service. He stepped aside from his substantive role as Head of Children's Services to work directly to Ms Dempster to lead the modernisation of social work services for adults. This has involved the continued development of home care, as well as other key services for older people, and those with disabilities or mental health needs. He has also been supporting further integration of the management and delivery of health and social care.

He takes over at a time of significant challenge for all Social Work Services in Scotland, who have to make provision for greater demand on community care services, including the budgetary pressures that follow.

He said: "I am looking forward to the new challenge of leading the Social Work Service during this period of significant change. My priority will be to build on the good Social Work practice that we have in Highland, and continue the process of review and further improvement of these valued services."

Chief Executive Alistair Dodds, said: "We have made a first class appointment in Mr Alexander, who has very wide experience of Social Work services and the skills and leadership to take the Service forward, working closely with our public sector partners."

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of Housing and Social Work Committee, said: "Mr Alexander has proved his worth in his roles as acting director and chief operating officer and I have every confidence that he will provide strong leadership of the Service."

Councillor John Finnie, Leader of the Opposition, said: "I am delighted with Mr Alexander's appointment. His extensive experience, particularly in cross-service and inter-agency work, is invaluable in directing one of our frontline Services. I look forward to working with him during the challenging times ahead."

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
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