Seventeen inspiring social workers, teams and organisations from across England have been recognised for their contribution to the profession after winning the top awards at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards on Friday 04 November.
The ceremony was hosted by BBC Senior Reporter and Presenter, Ashley John-Baptiste who was taken into care at the age of four, growing up between several different foster families and children’s homes across South London.
The Social Worker of the Year Awards are run by a not-for-profit charity to celebrate great social work, share best practice and promote positive stories from the profession.
Each award category is judged by an independent panel of social workers at all levels, people with lived experience, young people who have been in care and senior figures form the world of social work.
All kinds of social work represented
Awards were presented in a range of categories highlighting exceptional practice in children’s and adult services, mental health, social work education, and social justice. Two new awards have been introduced in this year’s event programme – Supporting Children in Education and Digital Transformation in Social Work.
For the first time since the awards was founded over 10 years ago, two Overall Social Worker of the Year accolades were awarded, one to an individual social worker, and one to a social work team. This is also the first time a team has won this award. The Overall Social Worker of the Year is selected from the gold winners of each category by the Board of Trustees of The Social Work Awards, the registered charity behind the annual event.
Kirstie Baughan a children’s social worker from Central Bedfordshire Council was named Overall Social Worker of the Year after winning the award for the Social Justice Advocate Award earlier in the evening. The Social Justice Advocate category is judged solely by people who have lived experience of social work support.
The Team around Kasibba, a multidisciplinary social work team from Camden Integrated Learning Disability Service – a partnership between London Borough of Camden and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, was named Overall Social Work Team of the Year after winning the gold winner of Team of the Year, Adult Services earlier in the evening.
The Camden team have spent six years working to achieve Kasibba’s release from a mental health hospital, where she has been inappropriately detained all her adult life. A Black African woman with Autism, Kasibba came into care at a time when there was little understanding of the condition and her behaviours were met with racism. In August this year, a judge was expected to agree that she could finally move to her own home.
The team’s entry described how after an assessment by the clinical psychologist put Kasibba’s behaviours in the context of her sensory needs for the first time, they were able to begin to change the narrative around her and put a plan in motion for her independence.
Kirstie has been inspired to help others since a young age. A lover of ‘Tracy Beaker’ as a child – the Jacqueline Wilson story of a ten-year-old girl living in a children’s residential home nicknamed the ‘Dumping Ground’, Kirstie went on to support children facing difficult times in her role as a young leader at Guides and Brownies and volunteered at a charity for young people with disabilities.
Since completing her social work training, Kirstie has immersed herself in promoting the rights of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Outside of her day job as audit manager at Central Bedfordshire Council, she volunteers for Refugees at Home and as the regional lead for Care4Calais. She is also currently undertaking a Doctorate, with her research focused on how local communities welcome and support asylum seekers.
Peter Hay CBE, Chair of the Social Work Awards, said: “The awards are a unique opportunity to demonstrate the dedication and innovation of many compassionate and dedicated social workers and to hear about the outstanding social work practice being delivered in all corners of the country.
“Being recognised on a national scale is an outstanding achievement not just for our winners but for every one of the 90 finalists. I’d like to personally congratulate each of them, they should be extremely proud of their achievements.”
Each of the gold award winners and sponsors will now be invited to attend a special Parliamentary Reception which will be held at the House of Commons in the spring. The reception will be their opportunity to celebrate their achievements with representatives from the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Education.
The Social Worker of the Year Awards 2022 is supported by headline sponsor Sanctuary Personnel, and Corporate Partner, BASW, Hampshire County Council Adults’ Health and Care, London Borough of Wandsworth, Devon County Council, Children’s Social Work Matters, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, UNISON, London Borough of Lambeth, S12 Solutions, Torbay Council, Coventry City Council, Essex County Council, Staffordshire University, and West Midlands ADASS.
The local authorities of Gloucestershire, Waltham Forest, Bradford City, Dorset, Stockton-on-Tees, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wiltshire, West Sussex, Central Bedfordshire, Brighton and Hove and Herefordshire support the awards this year as ‘Thank You’ sponsors.
Visit here to see our full list of sponsors.
Social Worker of the Year 2022 Gold Award Winners. See the full list below or on our winner page.
Overall Social Workers of the Year
Kirstie Baughan, Central Bedfordshire Council
The Team around Kasibba* – Camden Integrated Learning Disability Service, London Borough of Camden and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Children’s Social Worker of the Year
Annmarie Nero, Achieving for Children
Adult Social Worker of the Year
Bhavna Maher, Leicester City Council
Mental Health Social Worker of the Year
Tara Mitchell, Leeds and York NHS Partnership Foundation Trust
Social Justice Advocate
Kirstie Baughan, Central Bedfordshire Council
Supporting Children in Education (New for 2022)
Charlotte Elliott, Devon County Council
Digital Transformation in Social Work (New for 2022)
Hull City Council
Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services
Cheryl Grazette, Hertfordshire County Council
Team Leader of the Year, Adult Services
Lucy Hunt, Devon County Council
Supportive Social Work Employer of the Year
Children’s Social Care, Durham County Council
Team of the Year, Children’s Services
Families First Fostering
Team of the Year, Adult Services
The Team around Kasibba – Camden Integrated Learning Disability Service, London Borough of Camden and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Practice Educator of the Year
Carolyn Smith, Wakefield Council
Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year, Children’s
Amy White, Essex County Council
Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year, Adult
Helen Southgate, Suffolk County Council
University of the Year
University of Chester
Student Social Worker of the Year
Solomon Tugbiyele, Anglia Ruskin University
Social Work Student Connect