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Oonagh Smyth

Oonagh Smyth

CEO, Skills for Care

Oonagh has over twenty years’ experience in strategy, governance and policy and started in social care in a volunteering role when she was 17 in Belfast. She has a degree in Law and Politics, a Masters in Human Rights Law from Queens University Belfast and a Masters in Executive Coaching from Ashridge Business School. In 2012 Oonagh started in Mencap (the largest learning disability charity in the UK, delivering £200m of social care services) where she worked until 2020 as Executive Director of Strategy and Influence. She oversaw Mencap’s influencing work, regulated children’s services, legal advice and advocacy, programmes, governance and strategy across three UK countries. She acted up in the CEO role for six months between 2019-2020 and was a Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, an alliance of 8- social care organisations influencing at the highest levels of Government. Oonagh was appointed as CEO of Skills for Care and started in March 2020. Skills for Care is the workforce development charity for the 1.5 million people who work in adult social care in England and the strategic delivery partner for the Department of Health and Social Care. Oonagh has led the organisational response to COVID, a new strategy including a new focus on EDI, integration and workforce planning and has worked to create more visibility for the social care workforce and a better understanding of the strategic issues and opportunities for the social care workforce.

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