Des Kelly, executive director of the not-for-profit membership body the National Care Forum, has announced that he will retire next year after 13 years in the role.
Kelly, who was appointed the first head of the NCF when it was formed in 2003, announced at the organisation’s annual general meeting last week that he would stand down in June.
The NCF, which represents UK not-for-profit health and social care providers, said in a statement that by 2016 Kelly would have spent 45 years working in social care, including 28 years at a national policy level.
David Coull, chair of the NCF, said Kelly would be greatly missed. "Des is universally respected within the sector and has long been seen as the calm voice of reason," he said. "This is why, with Des’s wider leadership, the NCF is recognised as a grounded and respected membership organisation."
Kelly, who was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007, said he intended to continue promoting the benefits of the not-for-profit model of care provision.
"I have felt greatly privileged to play a part in the development of the National Care Forum, through which I have had the good fortune to work with many people really committed to improving the quality of care services," he said.
"The ethos we have created has, I believe, helped to establish an organisation with a reputation in support of intelligent regulation, professional standards, innovation and leadership.
"Given the current concerns about sustainability for the social care sector, the need for an authoritative provider representative voice has never been stronger. The NCF will continue to support and represent its members and maintain our influence across the care sector."
Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, which represents independent social care providers, said: "Des has made an outstanding contribution to social care as a practitioner, manager and sector leader. He has represented the sector with integrity and passion and will be greatly missed by us all."