Presentation address by Professor Andrea Nelson

Vice-Chancellor,

Many of us will need care and support as we get older or acquire a disability, and it is essential that we have confidence in the quality of that care.   The Care Quality Commission – the CQC – sets out clear expectations of quality in that regard, and has a vital role in monitoring and inspecting services and in taking action when necessary. 

Andrea Sutcliffe became Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC in October 2013.  She was educated in Darlington and at the London School of Economics, and has nearly 30 years’ experience in health and social care, managing services for children and older people.  The Health Service Journal reckoned that she was the third most influential woman in the English NHS in 2015.  

In her role with the CQC, Andrea leads on regulation and the inspection of social care services including the embedding of professionalism and professional integrity.  She celebrates excellence in care and has harnessed the ‘power’ of social media to raise awareness of the importance of social care - she is an active Twitter user and blogs regularly on the CQC website and has a wide and influential following.

Andrea is a leader who truly brings all of herself to the job.  She uses her own personal experiences to ensure that inclusiveness and community are considerations in the provision of services.  The suicide of her brother, Adrian, who killed himself in 2006 after a long struggle with clinical depression, was seminal, informing her approach to the improvement of care.  She is known for applying the ‘mum test’ to services – ‘would I put my mother here?’ –when considering standards for care home inspections.

Many have remarked, Vice-Chancellor, that ‘a society is ultimately judged by how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable members’.  If we believe that to be true, then we need to ensure that the care which we delegate to others is as good as the care that we would provide ourselves.  With exceptional leaders such as Andrea we know that the CQC will be identifying both great care and inadequate care, helping to protect the most vulnerable in society. 

Vice-Chancellor, it is with great pleasure that I present to you for the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Andrea Mary Sutcliffe.