ONE of the county’s longest serving councillors is take up an all new role with Herefordshire Council.

Councillor Chris Chappell, the council’s deputy chairman,  is also to be  its learning disability “champion.”

The role sees Coun Chappell supporting Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, through huge changes coming to the provision of adult social care in the county.

But, said Coun Chappell, support wouldn’t always mean agreement.

“Although I will be working closely with Councillor Powell, I will be a strong advocate for both service users and providers of services and challenge the council’s cabinet if I think people’s best interests are not being met,” he said.

Over the last few months the council has held regular meetings for adult social care service users over future provision. 

However, the council’s scrutiny committee specifically asked for more to done to ensure clients with learning disabilities and their families had their views taken into account.

“We want to make sure people have more choice and control, but we also need to listen to people with learning difficulties who don’t manage change very well," said Coun Chappell. 

 "It is crucial their voices are heard and that we fully understand the impact of change before any transitions to new services take place,” he said.