As part of my preparation I read all the previous Presidents' speeches that are available and that just made me feel inadequate. My colleague said to me - "Don't do a speech, do a narration. You're good at stories." So I will stay away from the statistics as David is the man for numbers and I will not even try to compete with Ray's ability to quote eminent people that have gone before. I will therefore keep it short and just tell you what I think!

I want to start by thanking you for voting for me. Being elected President is a great honour and brings so many opportunities. I will endeavour to do my best on behalf of all of you.

Of course this would not have been possible without the support of the members and officers of Gloucestershire County Council. I would like to thank the Leader of the council, Cabinet members and the Chief Executive. I am also indebted to my corporate peers and my superb team who have all taken on additional responsibilities and only remind me once a day about what a joy that is! Gloucestershire is a great place to work and I have been humbled by the support I have received from my NHS colleagues, even though it means I am not always available to them as much as usual. I haven't forgotten my South West colleagues who are a pleasure to work with and have given me much encouragement.

Then to the Trustees. As you know, we have tried to honour Harold's memory by delivering his priorities by working together as a collective. By nature we're a shy, demure and quiet bunch, rarely voicing an opinion and reluctant to make a decision. Whilst the circumstances we found ourselves in were both unexpected and tragic, I think we've made a good effort and it's been very enjoyable along the way. I hope he's happy with us.

None of it would be possible though without the ADASS team. They are small but perfectly formed and Cathie can read us Trustees like a book - or better still, like a comic. She knows which of us is going to respond to an email request and who will keep their head down, depending on the subject matter, in the hope she'll go away. Then she goes for the targeted approach and there's nowhere to hide. It's their diligence and effort that delivers this conference and the entire ADASS programme. As an organisation ADASS punches well above its weight and is recognised as the voice of adult social care.

Now I want to talk about Harold. Unfortunately we only had 3 months of working together but we established early on that we had a number of things in common. Firstly we were totally smitten with the Hebrides and there would be much sighing as we exchanged experiences about places and people. Then - The Archers. Harold was a massive fan. The last conversation we had was about the coercive control storyline. We were both certain that Rob was going to attack Helen rather than the other way around, as it turned out. So, every Sunday since Harold's death I take a few moments at 11.15 to tell him what's going on in Borchester. I like to think he's listening.

Thirdly, we were both immigrants. Nobody will ever forget Harold's account last year of him arriving in England on his 22nd birthday. My story isn't as humbling but it has shaped my life. I arrived here from Cork as a small child, along with my younger brother, mum, dad, maternal grandmother and a dog. I've still got the papers which clearly state that my brother and I travelled for free but we had to pay 3 shillings and sixpence for our Corgi.

I realise now that there were probably not many Irish families with a Corgi called Rex - especially as she was a she, not a he. However, it was a bit of a giveaway because my dad adored the Queen and if ever she was making an appearance within a bus ride of home, he would be there to raise his hat in respect and wave vigorously. He reminded us regularly of how lucky we were to live here and he had some strict rules - no Irish dancing classes (we went to ballroom and Latin American), no singing of protest songs and no playing of diddly aye music, no mention of the old homeland or 40 shades of green and absolutely no crossing the door of the Irish Club in Birmingham.

Harold used to say that when he was under pressure his South African accent would become more pronounced. As you can hear, that's not the case with my Irish brogue. That's down to my dad too as every Saturday morning he would take us by bus to the Co-Op in Birmingham City Centre where we had elocution lessons at the Rainbow Club until such time as we sounded like all the other children at school. He didn't want us to be mocked - this was the time of signs outside of houses that said "No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish".

We were brought up to believe that we could be whatever we wanted, as long as we worked hard to achieve it. That's stayed with me ever since.

Together, we have a great deal of work to do. For the first time this year we have more people with care and support needs than we do carers. It is part of who we are in ADASS to champion those needs for and with older and disabled people. Never before has social care been so high profile. The funding announcement was gratefully received but it is insufficient in the mid to long term. Social care is in a precarious position, something that all of our partners agree with. Adult social care was a significant feature in last week's local elections and it will be a key plank in the General Election next month. There is a cross party group, led by Norman Lamb, discussing future models and a Cabinet Office Team working on a Green Paper. ADASS has been proactive and consistent in our message that we need a sustainable funding model for adult social care and this is the time to have a proper conversation with the public. There is no one magic fix. As citizens we need to own the solution and keeping the momentum going on funding will continue to be a priority for my year ahead.

If I had a list of ambitions for social care, sharing a common language would be in the top 10. Whilst social care is a daily topic of conversation in the press and on the media, there is still much confusion about what it is. We are working with partners across all arenas to try to ensure that we describe it simply and consistently so that it is understood the way Education or the NHS is.

I talked last year about integration being like a choir and I'm still happy with that analogy. What I have come to realise is that some of the people singing in the choir would much prefer to be soloists. Some of them think they've got a really good voice but actually they're tone deaf. There are members who are not particularly interested in the music, but they want to be seen. In every choir there is hidden talent that is not always allowed to flourish. There are others who don't give enough commitment and fail to turn up for practice. The choirmaster is meant to be in charge but he needs the singers to co-operate. We could learn a lot about integration from Gareth Malone.

The greatest asset that we have is our workforce but it is also a major risk in managing both volume and quality in the market. Harold said the future of homecare kept him awake at night. It probably gives most of us sleep disturbance. We know there is a lack of career structure for so many of those people who provide essential care to vulnerable people every day of the year. The National Living Wage has helped but it's not sufficient on its own. We need a workforce that is diverse and skilled. We will continue to prioritise the development of the social care workforce and the quality of care as deserved by the people who need us.

Coming to my personal priorities for my period of tenure - I have 3. The first one is you, the Membership of ADASS. Our organisation has evolved and developed considerably in 11 years, but one of the things I want to improve is our ability to hear your voice and act upon it. Before I joined the President's team I would occasionally chunter having read that we were going to support something or agree to another survey. "Who asked me?" I would shout at my screen. So I'm going to try and find a way to ask you. If it works, I'll be inundated with ideas and opinions. If it doesn't I'll probably pout.

My professional background is predominantly in the world of mental health and it's from here I draw another priority. I have a view that in an effort to explain the world of psychiatry and create a supportive society, we have got our language mixed up again and it's not helping. We use the term mental health when we mean mental illness or disorder. We strive for good mental health but despite great progress and more understanding, people with long term mental illness still die far earlier than the average adult in this country and the rate of suicide remains a serious concern. I will be working with colleagues in the mental health network, particularly to promote to role of the Approved Mental Health Professional.

Finally, I turn to work. I have been fortunate to have been involved in a number of services over the years that raised the expectation of employment of people with disabilities and made it happen. There are 3 things that make people happier and healthier - somewhere safe to live, something useful to do and some money to spend. They are often intrinsically linked but overlooked if you have a disability. We will be working with DWP and other partners to raise the profile of employment and develop successful models to give people the opportunities they need.

The year ahead looks promising. I'm definitely a team player, not least because I'm very nosy and like to talk, so I am looking forward to working with all partners to ensure social care is in every conversation and every plan.