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New Assistant Director of Social Services 16 January 2004

Andrew Swithinbank joined the Social Services Division on 1st December as Assistant Director of Social Services for Adult Services, taking over from Mike Crossley at the end of the month.

Andrew was formerly the Director of the European Institute of Social Services at the University of Kent in Canterbury. EISSíS mission is to enhance social care and promote social inclusion across Europe by developing and learning from innovative approaches to social services which improve the care provided for and with vulnerable people.

Andrew has worked with the European Institute for eight years as Deputy, and then Director, initiating and increasing its range of activities in the development and management of projects to deliver new kinds of services; research into social issues of common concern in several European countries; exchange of good practice between nations; and technical assistance to social care providers in Eastern Europe.

Andrew has seen how professional staff experiencing how things are done differently in other countries can broaden their horizons, question their own methods, and foster service improvements Ďback homeí.

Andrew was seconded to the European Institute from Kent Social Services Department where he was previously policy and development officer for the Director involved in the transition from institutional to community-based care, and from grants to service contracts with voluntary organisations. He was responsible for dealing with the proactive promotion of the Departmentís good work.

Prior to Kent County Council, Andrew worked in development and management positions with Voluntary Organisations including Age Concern and Community Service Volunteers in London and Hampshire. Andrew has degrees in Geography, Social Administration and Public Policy from Lancaster and Colorado University and a Youth and Community Work Qualification from Southampton University.

The Isle of Man is not new to Andrew who is now returning to his roots. His motherís line of the family are Manx Kellyís and his grandfather was a Nautical Engineer for the Steam Packet Company.

He and his wife and four children are looking forward to the educational, sporting and cultural opportunities on the Island whilst living in a beautiful place they know and love and have often spent their holidays.

Andrew says,

"Iíll enjoy more opportunity to hike the Raad ny Foillan, however, I know this job is going to be no holiday with a wide range of responsibilities and a vast array of challenges that face services for adults. In the short term Iíve been here Iíve been immediately impressed by the commitment, dedication and professionalism of the staff and managers of the Division and their inventiveness in dealing with multiple pressures on the service. Iím looking forward to working with these supportive and welcoming colleagues to help constantly improve care and opportunities for adults in the Isle of Man. I will be hoping to consolidate the excellent work of my predecessor and make further progress to arrange services around the needs and aspirations of people and enable them to lead as independent and fulfilling life as possible.Ē

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