Thursday heralded the inauguration of the new ADCS president Alison Michalska. It was a grand occasion - as always many external friends and officials joined ADCS for the event. Be in no doubt my successor will be awesome! She spoke passionately from the stage in her presidential address about improving outcomes for children, young people and their families and outlined the Association's priorities for the year ahead. Later that same day all 11 of the past presidents, Alison and members of the ADCS Board of Directors met together for dinner. It was an occasion not to be missed, good food was served and yes even some alcohol imbibed. It was a celebration to mark the Association's 10th anniversary, but also an evening of reflection and reminiscing.
The Association's strength is in the experience, knowledge and skills of its members, both directors of children's services and other senior staff. The considerable power of the ADCS regional groups as the innovators and instigators of best practice and new ideas has been very evident to me throughout my presidential year. The focus and commitment of the ADCS policy committees compliments the regional work and of course, the awesome team at ADCS towers coordinates and orchestrates - led so brilliantly by Sarah. When contemplating my presidential year, I had not factored in just how critical the ‘team' were, I have felt the amazing support which has made the role not only doable but frankly hugely enjoyable.
The year has been busy, with quite a number of twists and turns, but some of my key priorities have been progressed and I would mention in particular changing the narrative around the care system and the development of a new sector-led approach to improvement as being highlights. Personally, I have been swept along by the enormous support from colleagues and the wise counsel of many. The president's role is to speak up clearly on the key issues and I have tried to do that, but also to speak on behalf of members capturing authentically their views.
So I am happy - to have survived it with no disasters. Sad - because I have enjoyed my year enormously and it has come to an end. And exhausted - because the past presidents' dinner kept me up way beyond my normal bedtime. It has been a great honour to have served as president in the last year and I want to thank everyone who has supported me. I couldn't have done it without you all.
I now return to relative obscurity back in Essex, but I look forward to serving my immediate past presidential year in support of our new president Alison, and ADCS in general.
Dave Hill is DCS in Essex and immediate past president of ADCS. This blog first appeared on the ADCS website