Sixteen inspiring social workers have been honoured for their commitment to social work and described as “tremendous role models” for the profession after they took home the top prizes at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards.
Awards were presented for a variety of categories across both children’s and adult services, including prizes for Social Worker of the Year, Team of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and Outstanding Contribution to Social Work. The prestigious ceremony took place on Friday 25th November at the Lancaster Hotel in central London.
David Mowat MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care opened the evening with a keynote speech and Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP and Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson MP also gave endorsements.
Bianka Lang from Essex County Council was named ‘Overall Social Worker of the Year’ after winning the award for ‘Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services’ earlier in the evening. The Overall Social Worker of the Year Award is sponsored by headline sponsors Sanctuary Social Care and the winner is selected from the gold winners of each category by the Board of Trustees of the Social Work Awards Ltd. (the registered charity behind the annual event).
Bianka spent 12 years working in the Chelmsford Assessment and Intervention Team, before taking over as Team Manager in 2013. She was recognised for her exceptional leadership qualities, commitment to teammates and creating a calm and positive work atmosphere within a challenging environment. The judges described her as “a team manager for whom we would all want to work for and have beside us.”
James Rook, Managing Director of Headline Sponsor Sanctuary Social Care and Trustee of the Social Work Awards Ltd., said: ““Bianka had everything we were looking for in the winner of the Overall Social Worker of the Year award. She is a role model for the profession and as a calm and supportive manager she guides her team in delivering better outcomes for children and young people in Essex. She is a truly deserving winner and is an asset to her organisation.”
“The Social Worker of the Year Awards are getting bigger and better every year and this year 350 people attended the ceremony, which was a fantastic celebration of the social work profession. Being recognised on a national scale is an outstanding achievement not just for our winners but for all of our 78 finalists and I’d like to personally congratulate each of them, they should be extremely proud of their achievements.”
The 2016 award winners are:
|Children’s Social Worker of the Year
||Emily Tiplady-Ead, Suffolk County Council
|Adult Social Worker of the Year
||Heather Kent, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (in partnership with Northumberland County Council)
|Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year
||Benn Vaughan, Cumbria County Council
|Newly Qualified Adult Social Worker of the Year
||Jamie McEwan, Birmingham City Council
|Practice Educator of the Year
||Daniel Hope, Cafcass
|Student Social Worker of the Year
||Odi Oquosa, University of Sussex
|Principal Social Worker of the Year
||Mandy Nightingale, Essex County Council
|Mental Health Social Worker of the Year
||Dee Belford, Birmingham City Council
|Team of the Year, Children’s Services
||Children in Need Team – Winsford and Northwich, Cheshire West and Chester Council
|Team of the Year, Adult Services
||Daytime AMHP Team, Devon County Council
|Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services
||Bianka Lang, Essex County Council
|Team Leader of the Year, Adult Services
||Kirsty McLeod, Calderdale Council
|Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice
||Yasmin Ishaq, Kent County Council
|Best Social Work Employer of the Year
||Achieving for Children
|Lifetime Achievement Award
||Suzy Croft, St John’s Hospice
|Outstanding Contribution to Social Work
|Overall Social Worker of the Year
||Bianka Lang, Essex County Council
Each of the Gold Award winners will now be invited to attend an exclusive Parliamentary Reception which will be held at the Palace of Westminster in the spring. The reception will be their opportunity to celebrate their achievements with representatives from the Department of Health and Department for Education.
During the awards ceremony silver awards were also given out to the runners up of each category and every finalist was presented with their own certificate in recognition of their achievements.
The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded in 2006 by independent practitioner, Beverley Williams, with the aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession.
This year the awards have been supported by headline sponsors Sanctuary Social Care; Corporate Partners, the British Association of Social Workers; and category supporters the Local Government Association, UNISON, Calderdale Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Barnardo’s, Kent County Council, Essex County Council in partnership with Servelec Corelogic, Hampshire County Council, The Open University and Devon County Council.