Council's Director of Adult Social Care to retire

Al McDowell will retire in late October 2024 after almost 30 years working in social care.
Newcastle City Council director of adult social care and prevention, Al McDowell

Al starter her career as a social worker in 1997 and today oversees the provision of social care for adults for Newcastle City Council.

She will remain in her post until her retirement in October but has today paid tribute to the colleagues who continue to put residents at the heart of what we do.

“When I became a social worker nearly 30 years ago I did so because I wanted to make a positive impact on people's lives,” said Al.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect. That is at the heart of what we do in adult social care and the impact of even a small intervention, is huge.

“The way we deliver services has transformed over those three decades I have worked in this sector, but I still see that same passion and dedication in those working in adult social care that I had at the beginning of my career.

“I am so proud of my colleagues and the interventions they make every single day to ensure residents in our city can lead an independent life, and that their families have the appropriate support.

“In recent years we have had to contend with a pandemic, growing demand on our services and shrinking budgets. It has been a really challenging time.

“But under those difficult circumstances, I have witnessed colleagues delivering innovative solutions that ensure we have provided the best possible care for those who need it. 

“I am so proud of all those working in the directorate and will be forever thankful for the support you have given to me in my time with the authority.”

Al, 54, started as a social worker in Sunderland in 1997, predominantly working with older people before joining Newcastle City Council in 2010.

She initially took the post of Service Manager for Older People Services, before being promoted to Assistant Director, and then the Director, of Adult Social Care.

Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, Karen Kilgour, said: "I have worked very closely with Al in recent years, and know she will be a huge miss to the city of Newcastle.

"The work of the adult social care directorate does not get the recognition it deserves, they make life changing interventions every single day and I am proud to work so closely with them.

"Al has been at the forefront of that work and delivered transformative results at a time of great financial pressure for the authority, as well as working collaboratively with colleagues across the whole health and care sector. 

I want to say a personal thank you to Al for everything she's done in adult social care and for the kindness and support she's given to others, myself included, as well as to thank her on behalf of the people of Newcastle."

Chief Executive Pam Smith said: "Al has been both a great colleague, and a great friend, since I joined Newcastle City Council and I will miss her when she leaves.

"She puts residents at the heart of everything and has been a great leader for all those working in adult social care and prevention.

"When she does retire later this year, she will leave behind fantastic legacy, having touched thousands of lives across the many different roles she has filled. Thank you, Al, for your commitment to the city of Newcastle.”

Al will remain in post as director of Adult Social Care and Integrated Services until her retirement in late October. A recruitment process for her replacement will begin in due course.