Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year


Anna O'Brien

ORGANISATION: Hull City Council

AWARD(S): Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year

Anna joined Hull City Council as a Social Work Student in 2020 and completed her placement in a Locality Safeguarding Children’s Team. Joining the team a matter of weeks before the full impact of the pandemic struck, Anna’s colleagues have nothing but praise for her tenacious attitude and the creative practice that shone through in her placement, despite the challenges she faced.


During her assessed and supported year, Anna was instrumental in working with Children in Need, Children in Need of Protection and Looked After Children, all with children of differing ages and needs. Anna has confidently worked alongside families with English is a second language and worked across categories of risk, including Criminal and Sexual Exploitation, seeking to understand the impact of harm faced by these children.


Anna graduated with a first class honours degree and, inspired by the opportunities she had as a student, applied for a permanent place at the heart of the Locality Safeguarding Team in Hull.


During the pandemic, Anna coordinated a community response to helping families who were isolating due to ill health and had no extended family support. Anna called local charities and businesses who could help fund activities, provide food or general support. Over the course of lockdown Anna delivered food parcels, activity packs and booklets to help children who were worried and parents who struggled to explain this in a child centred way, including delivering colouring pens and games in gardens, helping families living in poverty.


Anna’s support extended to children who had lost parents to Covid-19 and Anna was instrumental in supporting these children and their transition to living with other family members.


Hear from Anna in her own words below.




Anna sounds like a really resilient and enthusiastic social worker that can think on her feet and come up with the goods when she is tested. The people that she works with are lucky to have her!

Jack Skinner, Team Leader of the Year, Adult Services 2019

Not only has Anna fulfilled her statutory duties as a Social Worker, her commitment to wanting to support children and their families during some of the most challenging times the country has faced is inspirational. In coordinating a community response to help families and taking time out of her own life to support the little boy who had recently lost his mother goes above and beyond the 'day job'. Anna appears to have supported many families in the community of Hull to overcome notable obstacles compounded by the pandemic.

Dana Ashley, Director of Therapeutic Care, Innovate CYPS

I have worked in social care 26 years and I have never come across a social worker as determined as Anna. I have seen Anna grow from strength to strength. One thing that strikes me about Anna is her calm and measured approach to her work. When faced with very difficult scenarios she always keep the child and parents at the focus of her intentions.

Claire Rutherford, Team Manager, Hull City Council


Silver Award

Christine Norman, Dorset Council

Rosemarie Connor, Devon County Council

Guy Blacklock, Warwickshire County Council

Marie-Anne Holland, Cafcass

Finn Jarvis, Gloucestershire County Council

Michelle Pullen, Shropshire Council

Florina Rice, Devon County Council

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