I was born and brought up in Battersea, in south west London. I have lived in London all my life.
I left grammar school at the age of 16 and trained as a dental chair side assistant before moving into hospital administration. After a period at home bringing up my son I trained as a social worker.
I started off my social work career working with blind and visually impaired people, but over a period of some 30 years in three London boroughs I practiced, and managed at a senior level, the full range of social care services. This included work with children and families, child protection, mental health, services for elderly and disabled people, diversity and racism awareness. I operated as an approved social worker under the Mental Health Act. All my work was undertaken at the interface between health and social services and for a large part of my career I was based within a large London teaching hospital. I led the psycho-social response to civil and terrorist disasters for the City of Westminster. All my practice has been focussed on the needs and involvement of service users.
In addition to this, I undertook a number of key voluntary roles with national organisations including Family Service Units, the National Association of Bereavement Services and the British Association of Social Psychiatry. For many years, I acted as management consultant to the only Muslim children’s home in the country.
For the last seven years of my career I worked for the Department of Health as a social services inspector. During that time I was seconded for one year to the Audit Commission as a project manager on a national audit of mental health services. I was a member of the Conduct Committee of the General Social Care Council until its dissolution in 2011.
In my leisure time, among other things, I like to read, keep abreast of current affairs, travel, visit the theatre, art exhibitions, cinema, cook, walk in the country and spend time with my grandchildren.