Seventeen inspiring social workers, teams and organisations from across England have been recognised for their contribution to the profession after winning top awards at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards on Friday 29th November.
The ceremony, which took place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, was hosted by TV chef and emotional wellness advocate Lorraine Pascale, who herself spent time in care as a child.
Awards were presented in a range of categories across both children’s and adult services, including prizes for Social Worker of the Year, Mental Health Social Worker of the Year, Team of the Year and Lifetime Achievement. There were also awards to recognise students studying social work and for social workers employed outside of local authority settings.
On the night there were speeches from Mark Harvey and Fran Leddra, Joint Interim Chief Social Worker for Adults; Ruth Allen, Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers and Peter Hay CBE, Chair of The Social Work Awards charity.
Louise Pashley, a children’s social worker from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough 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 award 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.
Louise, who has lived in Rotherham all her life, has worked for the council’s Leaving Care service for over 20 years, supporting young people aged 16-25 leaving the care system. During her time as the team’s manager, the service has progressed from an inadequate to outstanding Ofsted rating. The judges praised Louise’s strength of character, impressive leadership and unwavering dedication to her hometown.
James Rook, Chief Executive of the award’s headline sponsor Sanctuary Personnel, said: “Louise had everything we were looking for in the winner of the Overall Social Worker of the Year award. She clearly lives and breathes social work and what shines through is her dedication, compassion and willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ for the young people she works with. She is an inspiration to us all.”
Chief Social Worker for Adults Lyn Romeo, who is currently on sabbatical, was also honoured on the night with the Outstanding Contribution to Social Work award, recognising her significant contribution to the profession during her time at the Department of Health and Social Care.
Peter Hay CBE, Chair of the Social Work Awards, said: “The Social Worker of the Year Awards get bigger and better every year and this year over 460 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 94 finalists and I’d like to personally congratulate each of them, they should be extremely proud of their achievements.”
Each of the gold award winners 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 were founded in 2006 by independent practitioner, Beverley Williams MBE, with the aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession.
The Social Worker of the Year Awards are supported by Headline Sponsor Sanctuary Personnel; Corporate Partner the British Association of Social Workers and individual category supporters Barnardo’s, UNISON, Servelec, Children’s Social Work Matters and Tees Valley Local Authority Child and Adult Services. The awards are also supported by the local authorities of Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Sunderland, North Lincolnshire, Bradford, Devon, Kent, Hampshire and Essex.
The full list of winners is as follows:
- Mental Health Social Worker of the Year (Supported by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets)
- GOLD: Thea Radburn, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
- SILVER (JOINT): Jessica Jones, Norfolk County Council & Ingrid Richardson, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
- Making a Difference (Supported by Tees Valley Local Authority Child and Adult Services)
- GOLD: Sarah Frances, Bramley Health
- SILVER: Denise Smalley, PAC-UK
- Student Social Worker of the Year (Supported by Bradford Council)
- GOLD: Mary Carter, Anglia Ruskin University
- SILVER: Elizabeth Dodd, University of Salford
- Practice Educator of the Year (Supported by North Lincolnshire Council)
- GOLD: Djamila Aggabi, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
- SILVER: Shelley Gill, Durham County Council
- Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice (Supported by Hampshire County Council)
- GOLD: Futures Service, Leeds City Council
- SILVER: Devon Prisons ASC Team, Devon County Council
- Best Social Work Employer (Supported by Sanctuary Personnel)
- GOLD: Leeds City Council (Children’s Services)
- SILVER: Suffolk County Council (Children’s Services)
- Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services (Supported by Devon County Council)
- GOLD: Louise Pashley, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
- SILVER: Hannah Gregory, Gloucestershire County Council
- Team Leader of the Year, Adult Services (Supported by Sunderland City Council)
- GOLD: Jack Skinner, Bradford Council
- SILVER: Annika Leyland-Bolton, Doncaster Council
- Team of the Year, Children’s Services (Supported by the London Borough of Lambeth)
- GOLD: Family Group Conferencing Plus Team, including Lifelong Links, Devon County Council
- SILVER: Hillingdon Adolescents Team
- Team of the Year, Adult Services (Supported by UNISON)
- GOLD: ASC West Locality Team 3, Leicester City Council
- SILVER: West Devon Community Health & Social Care Team, Devon County Council / Livewell Southwest
- Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year (Supported by Children’s Social Work Matters)
- GOLD: Dan Grimes, Cambridgeshire County Council
- SILVER: Penny McGee, London Borough of Islington
- Newly Qualified Adult Social Worker of the Year (Supported by BASW)
- GOLD: Ella Waughman, Cambridgeshire County Council
- SILVER: Hannah Creasy, Livewell Southwest
- Children’s Social Worker of the Year (Supported by Barnardo’s)
- GOLD: Joanne Worley, Essex County Council
- SILVER: Caroline Heyworth, Essex County Council
- Adult Social Worker of the Year (Supported by Servelec)
- GOLD: Teresa Barrett, Livewell Southwest
- SILVER: Maxine Thurston, Norfolk County Council
- Championing Social Work Values (Supported by Essex County Council)
- GOLD: Emma Cox, Central Bedfordshire Council
- SILVER: Miranda Lynn Johnson, Birmingham City Council
- Lifetime Achievement Award (Supported by BASW)
- GOLD: Carole Goodman, Cafcass
- SILVER: Chris Denovan, Somerset County Council
The winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award, supported by Kent County Council, was awarded to Lyn Romeo.