Becky Hale - Chief Commissioning Officer at Warwickshire County Council and South Warwickshire University Foundation Trust
I started my career in Children’s Social Care. After finishing a degree in Social Studies, Public Policy and Management in 1999 I started working for Warwickshire County Council Social
Services as a Children’s Planning Officer. This is where my love of insight and data started, recognising early that with good evidence you can make the case to develop the right support to meet need. It also became clear to me that while it can take effort to build and sustain partnerships you can do much more as a collective to improve outcomes and experiences for people who need care and support. After a few moves into various planning and performance and management roles within children’s services I was attracted to the role of Lead Commissioner for Adults with Learning Disabilities. I have to say I was not entirely sure what a commissioner was, but I was clear I had the skills to do the job – analyse, plan, do, review – the commissioner’s mantra!
I loved this role and learned so much working with people with disabilities, care providers and fellow commissioners from across the region including ADASS’ very own Associate Catherine Nolan. After spending some time working in the charitable sector, experiencing different commissioning approaches as a care provider, I came back to strategic commissioning firstly with Warwickshire County Council, then in a shared role across the two councils and the three 3 CCG’s in Coventry and Warwickshire before taking up the role of Assistant Director for People Strategy and Commissioning in Warwickshire in 2019. I lead a team of exceptionally skilled and motivated people who focus on the development of strategy and the delivery of commissioning plans for Children and Families, Adult Social Care and Public Health. We also have arrangements in place to commission services on behalf of NHS partners. In 2022 I became a shared appointment with South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust as Chief Commissioning Officer (Health and Care). I have retained my Council commissioning responsibilities and am actively working with the Integrated Care Board to support the delegation of commissioning responsibilities to place based partnership arrangements. A current focus of my role is being the Senior Responsible Officer for Warwickshire’s frontrunner pilot on intermediate care.
This is a real opportunity for us to integrate our offer to Warwickshire residents and improve recovery and rehabilitation outcomes following a stay in hospital.
It is fair to say my career has evolved without a real plan but has been underpinned by a love of the commissioning cycle, a desire to do a job I enjoy and to work on behalf of people and communities with people who are passionate about public service and improving the lives of residents.
I think the thing that has always attracted me to working in commissioning is that I don’t have a typical day. Working across a wide range of commissioning areas my head and my diary move between a focus on children, adults, public health, health, social care, Warwickshire, Coventry and Warwickshire, the region… There are a lot of meetings, but I try hard to protect time for reading and writing and getting out for a daytime run if I can. While I try hard to communicate well with my teams, providers and partners there is always more I can do so this is a constant must do better.
Balancing the successes and the challenges for me it comes back to people and all the little moments that make my job fulfilling and enjoyable. I like that I am in a role that plays to my skills but is about support for people who need it. I also work with some really great people who share my commitment and ambition to work together and to do the best we can with the resources we have. I love seeing people succeed and advance in their careers even if that means a recruitment challenge in the here and now. Sounds a bit twee but there you have it! Who wouldn’t want to do something that they are pretty good at, they enjoy and that makes a difference to the lives of people in our communities?
More people need to think about what they can bring to local government and adult social care as I know there are equally rewarding opportunities and careers if you are up for it.
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