Cllr Sandra Naden-Horley, ward councillor for Corby rural, will become cabinet member for the huge adult social care department which handles an annual budget of about £220m.
Hypnotherapist, lifestyle engineer and adult educator Cllr Naden-Horley says she wants to leave adult social care in the ‘best possible place’ as the county moves towards potential new governance.
It’s the council’s biggest department and potentially the one that faces the gravest of challenges amid an ageing population with greater care needs than ever before.
Cllr Naden-Horley, who lives in Weldon and is a former Lodge Park School pupil, was made deputy cabinet member for adult social care earlier this year. She has now stepped up into the top job after her predecessor Cllr Elizabeth Bowen resigned over a row about her attendance at South Northamptonshire Council meetings.
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Earlier this year, the council’s director of adult social services Anna Earnshaw said the her department had 2,000 unassigned cases and was on the brink of intervention.
Then it was revealed that half of the social workers recruited in the county in the past year had left their jobs.
Cllr Naden-Horley said: “I’ve been the county councillor for nine parishes for a year so I’ve been involved in a lot of different things over the year.
“I’ve always had an interest in politics and I’m up for the challenge.
“We are on budget now and (the 2,000 unassigned cases) are being worked on.
“I want to work in partnership with the director of Northamptonshire Adult Social Services in my role to support the needs of the growing community of Northamptonshire.
“We will work within the budget and we have to provide the best service we can.
“I want to ensure that when we move to unitary we leave adult social care in the best possible place.”
Cllr Naden-Horley said she was not expecting to be offered the job so soon. She said: “When I became the councillor it wasn’t my goal but it has come my way and I am going to embrace it.”