Margaret McGlade, born November 13 1950; died October 9 2011

Margaret was a long-standing member of the Association of Directors of Social Services and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.  She was held in very high esteem by her colleagues and commanded great respect personally and professionally.

This obituary has been drawn up from contributions from Margarets friends and colleagues, including a tribute that was published in the Other Lives section of The Guardian on the 21 November 2011.

Margaret Marie McGlade was born in 1950 to a close knit Catholic farming family in Draperstown, County Derry.  She was interested early in politics and social justice, and was academically gifted.  Her teachers encouraged her to try for Cambridge, where she was accepted to read History this caused quite a stir in the local rural area.

At Cambridge Margaret met Ian Smout, an engineering student who was to become her husband. Their daughter, Roseanne, was born in 1990.

After a Masters at Oxford, Margaret embarked on a social work career, first in Birmingham and then at Nottinghamshire County Council, where from 1986 she was assistant director for social services, and then in 1996 on to Derby as director of social services.

Margaret left Derby in 2005 and worked on a range of assignments for public bodies across England and Wales, and served as independent chair of the Nottingham Safeguarding Children Board, and as chair of the Sandwell Children's Social Care Performance Board. She helped develop the Welsh Assemblys strategic plan for childrens services and undertook several serious case reviews on safeguarding matters.  Margaret was a long term trustee of the DWPs Independent Living Fund.

Margaret fought tirelessly, over many years, to get domestic violence onto the agenda and into actual services, co-authoring national guidelines. She represented the Association of Directors of Social Services and the Local Government Association on domestic violence and helped to establish Nottinghamshire Womens Aid Integrated Services, of which she was a trustee.

Margaret meant a great deal to so many people throughout her career. However, there is a remarkable consistency about these things. First, her leadership, especially in matters of principle, where doing the right thing was desperately needed; second, her forensic brain, and wide knowledge, analysing, and knowing how to do what must be done; third, her way with people, recognising and coaching talent, supporting with honesty but also kindness, encouraging people to take up opportunities, or to stay with a difficult course, and being generous with her time when you needed it; fourth, her commitment to changing vulnerable peoples lives, and the tenacity, passion, positive and focused energy she brought to this; fifth, her wisdom, calmness and skills in troubled waters, along with a great sense of humour and a capacity for fun; sixth, her integrity, and her personal humility, but allied with a quiet strength, a sense of her own capabilities, and a desire to do her duty well; and finally, her strong loyalty and love for her friends and family.

Margaret experienced some great changes during her career.  As an Assistant Director for Nottinghamshire Social Services, she led the implementation of the new community care legislation in the early 1990s.  Margaret was Derbys first Director of Social Services from 1996 working tremendously hard and with great professionalism to set up the new department navigating the inevitable tensions and conflicts that arose in local government reorganisation.

She made a great contribution to ADASS, in the latter part of her career as an Associate.  She was a regular attendee at the national conference, participating in the discussions on the main issues of the day and the later night dancing with equal enthusiasm.

Margaret will be much missed by everyone in ADASS and we would like to pass on our condolences to her partner, Ian, and daughter Roseanne.