Maureen Allan, who died on 22 December, will be remembered with respect and affection by many ADASS members and associates past and present.
She had a long and accomplished career in social care and public service, starting as a social worker in Islington and then team manager in Haringey. She went on to teach at North East London Polytechnic and later the National Institute of Social Work where she helped shape the careers of several of her students who went on to become Directors. She moved into senior managerial roles in Enfield, Barnet and Merton before becoming Peterborough’s first Director of Social Services following unitary reorganisation in 1997. There she inherited some tough performance and financial issues but went on to lay the groundwork for what became one of the first complete health and social care integrations in the country, when in 2004 the entire adult social care department transferred into one of the two PCTs serving the city.
In 2002 she was appointed to the newly created Department of Health change agent team charged with sorting out delayed transfers of care and supporting the implementation of the National Service Framework for Older People. For Maureen this was a particularly fulfilling time in her career. She handled a number of sensitive projects with great skill and diligence. The reimbursement legislation for example would have been much poorer without the practical wisdom she brought to developing material to support its implementation. Maureen’s lifelong passion for joining up services around the needs of the citizen was evident also in her leadership of the integrated care network.
Maureen’s formal retirement in 2005 opened up a new chapter in which she immersed herself in the life of the local community, becoming a parish councillor and a trustee of the local CAB. That it was ‘standing room only’ at the event in Stamford to celebrate her life spoke volumes about the huge respect and affection in which she was held by a wide range of friends, neighbours and former colleagues.
For many Maureen will be remembered for her strong and distinctive personal qualities – especially her energy, an engaging sense of humour and deep personal integrity, rooted in a lifelong commitment to social justice. Her rock-solid dependability made her a fantastic colleague to work with and for. A story by one former colleague captures her unerring aptitude for adapting her personal style to the requirements of the situation.
‘She came back from a meeting which had been somewhat high on civic protocol. She joined our management meeting a little late, took off the brightly coloured silk scarf that she was wearing, threw it to one side and announced: “That’s done with the power dressing.”
Maureen famous raised eyebrow – much referenced at the celebration event – was another example of how she combined emotional intelligence with personal impact.
Major surgery followed by chemotherapy last year sadly failed to prevent the return of cancer. That Maureen spent her final hours with her family, in peace and without pain offers some consolation for a life of richness and character that ended far too soon.