ADASS Associates - Our Offer to Directors of Adult Social Services

(revised March 2011)
Who are ADASS Associates?

More than 100 previous Directors of Social Services or Directors of Adult Social Services subscribe individually as Associate Members of ADASS. We are members of ADASS because we want to contribute to the development of Adult Social Care, Health and Well-being in many and various ways, keep in touch with developments and maintain professional networks with colleagues existing Directors and other previous Directors. In addition there are a small number of life and retired members, and Associates who are in Interim Director roles.

We include Associate Members with prominent national roles, leadership of major voluntary organisations, non-executive roles in the NHS, independent chairs of safeguarding boards, and interim director and consultancy roles with local authorities and other social care organisations. Some Associate Members are also associate members of ADCS and/or ADSS (Cymru).

We have a clear protocol agreement with ADASS which ensures we keep separate:

  • Any work we  undertake or contribution we make to ADASS as an Associate Member  (unpaid except perhaps for expenses), and
  • Any commercial, financial or other interests we may have as consultants, directors of companies or shareholders, or arising from the work we do for other organisations. This includes any work undertaken in a regulatory or improvement capacity. 

It is important that both ADASS nationally and individual Associates respect this distinction and ensure that the boundary is maintained. By virtue of our membership we are signed up to the Associations values and principles. 

Whats our role in the Association?

As an ADASS Policy Network we have Joint Chairs and a Secretary. We have two places on ADASS Executive Council and we vary which of the three of us attends these meetings and any other ADASS Executive Council events, such as the annual ADASS winter policy workshop. We have also facilitated some discrete policy discussions for ADASS leaders with other nationally influential people in social care and health.  

The election of chair(s) and secretary is overseen by the ADASS Hon Sec in the same way as for any other Policy Network. Elections under the new arrangement were held for the first time in March 2008, in advance of the ADASS Spring Seminar and repeated in March 2011.

What do we offer to the Association as a whole?

Associates possess knowledge and expertise in a variety of policy and practice areas and the personal experience of being a Director. Many have gone on to broaden and deepen their skills through other roles with national bodies, independent consultancy or other local government, NHS or third sector roles. This has enabled them to develop a broad range of networks extending well beyond the traditional boundaries of adult social care highly relevant to the new and much broader roles of serving Directors of Adult Social Services and other ways in which Director roles are being configured following the advent of a Coalition government and major public spending reductions.  When people join the Associates Network we ask them their interests and what they can offer. In this way Associates represent a very significant body of experience that can be applied flexibly to support the work and increase the capacity of ADASS at a number of different levels.

  1. Individual Associate Member advice or involvement
    We have some named Associate members supporting Policy Networks, Task Forces and Regions in a variety of ways agreed with the network. Associates are sensitive to the functions they carry out in their current roles and the roles and relationships created in Regions.  If people indicate their willingness to support an individual network then this is communicated to the chair/s so that they can approach the new Associate if they so wish.
    Ad hoc expert intelligence, advice and influence within their sphere of activity is also on offer and is known to the ADASS Business Unit (Mary Gillingham) and the ADASS Associates Network Secretary (Cathie Williams)
  2. A single point of contact via the ADASS Associates Network Secretary for all contacts from ADASS or individual Directors when a direct approach is not appropriate or the person appropriate is not known.
  3. Contribution to ADASS Executive Council on an equal basis as other ADASS Executive members, but mindful of the principle of the supremacy of serving Directors in policy decisions.
  4. Contribution to the annual corporate business plan, its processes and timescale, alongside other Policy Networks/Regions of the Association.
What do we offer individual Directors?
  1. A confidential meeting or telephone conversation for a serving Director on some matter of personal challenge or sensitivity which is impacting on them. This is a private arrangement, facilitated the Associate Directors Network Secretary with an Associate who has signalled their willingness to be available (unpaid) in such a consultancy or support way.  Ordinarily this would be a one-off contact.
  2. If this one-off contact were to develop into some form of on-going support or mentoring this would need to be negotiated outside the ADASS Associates Network arrangement. It is intended that any such on-going mentoring relationship should be based on the ethical code of the European Monitoring and Coaching Council.
  3. A response to an individual request for advice on a professional or policy matter (eg. an aspect of service, finance, NHS matter, who to lobbyetc) with an Associate Member who has knowledge or expertise in the area and has signalled their willingness to be available (unpaid) in such a way. This would be arranged either through Mary Gillingham, Cathie Williams or by a direct approach.
  4. Using the knowledge and networks of Associates (unpaid) to refer Directors on to the right source of information or advice e.g. the appropriate national improvement body or specialist. Usually this would arise from either of the above offers.
  5. An opportunity for some ADASS Associates who have indicated their willingness to be approached about potential paid opportunities for consultancy, interim or other work which a Director is seeking to commission for their local authority through an open and transparent communication process channelled through the ADASS Associates Secretary. This arrangement is without any add-on costs of the sort charged by commercial consultancies, which can be up to 35% on top of a day rate.

There is need for absolute clarity about any request from a Director to an Associate for 1, 2 or 3 (all unpaid) or for 4 (paid).

Final Comments

ADASS Associates Network respects unambiguously the leadership role of serving Directors. ADASS is a membership organisation in which serving Directors ultimately determine policy. We are clear that the role of Associates is to support and add value to the work of the ADASS under the leadership of serving Directors even though leadership in the broader field of social care may well be exercised by individual Associates in other capacities. As we look forward to developing our role and contribution within ADASS over the next three years, we will welcome feedback from Directors at any time. 

Cathie Williams, Secretary

Richard Humphries, Joint Chair

Brian Parrott, Joint Chair

March 2011