As the Department of Health’s first ever director general of social care, local government and care partnerships, David Behan has successfully made the transition from sabre rattling regulator to sector wide leader.

His great triumph this year has been a green paper proposing radical reform to social care and spending amid recession, bank collapse, public finance crisis and ministerial rearrangements. When most are talking about scaling back the state, the green paper proposes a National Care Service and has seen the government openly admit current arrangements for caring for older people are unacceptable. With a brief spanning the NHS and local government Mr Behan has also been able to influence more joined up working between the sectors and champions the role of care users and promotes their independence through initiatives such as direct payments, which are now being piloted in the NHS as well as social care.