David Behan, director general for social care, DH

David Behan has been the subtle force behind social care coming further up the Department of Health’s list of policy priorities, as he cemented the need for a review of social care in the minds of senior figures. The fact that he has raised social care’s profile and kept it there is an achievement in what has not been a quiet year for the NHS.

Mr Behan’s influence on integration and social care is not to be underestimated. With a firm grip on his brief, he conducts informed and passionate conversations about the issues that fall within his patch. Although he has only been in post for two years, his impact has been clear and his pedigree is impeccable; he served as the first chief inspector of the Commission for Social Care Inspection following a career in social services posts.

His challenge now is to ensure social care retains its momentum as central government grapples with economic chaos and a fast-approaching general election.