An invitation to join The Excellence Network 2008

The Excellence Network is Community Care’s new honours programme with a simple but significant objective – to recognise excellence and share it with the whole of social care. A panel of leading figures in the sector will assess the new ways of working displayed by the entries and the best teams will receive a Certificate of Achievement from the care services minister at a high-profile event.

So, how do you join The Excellence Network? You just have to nominate your team by filling in our easy-to-complete application form. We want entries from teams across the whole of social care’s client groups informing us of their excellence in one (or more) of the following categories: partnership working, early intervention, user involvement, self-directed care and training and development.

Ten minutes of your time could lead to your team being recognised nationally for their work and receive quality mark which could show the way for others and be a very powerful tool locally in developing your services.

Your examples of best practice will make The Excellence Network the fulcrum for sharing learning points on progressive working. And Community Care will spread the word in print among your peers, online and at our live events – providing a huge platform for your excellence.

Alongside this celebration of teamwork, The Excellence Network will also recognise Community Care Champions. They’ll be individuals from within your teams who have gone beyond the call of duty.

Remember that you can enter your team for more than one category if you wish – but it must be an original application tailored to the criteria. And you must get your entry to us by 8 February 2008.

The Community Care team wishes you the best of luck in joining the network – and looks forward to meeting you in May 2008 at the honours ceremony!

Team categories and criteria:

Our team awards are intended to recognise initiative, team working and professionalism in key areas. The judges will be looking for evidence of innovation, determination to succeed and engagement with partners to achieve the highest standards.

Recognising teams that promote service user involvement in the development, delivery and evaluation of their services.

Recognising teams that promote multi-agency working, which could include the use of pooled budgets, dual planning and commissioning, shared assessments, co-ordinated referrals and integrated services.

Recognising teams promoting independence, choice and control among service users.

Recognising teams that are embracing a preventive approach to service delivery.

Recognising teams that are supporting the post-qualifying agenda, promoting PRTL and developing an evidence base to their work.

Community care champions

Social care practitioners are doing fantastic work all round the country and their achievements deserve to be celebrated.

We want each of the team leaders who submit a team entry to the Excellence Network 2008 to also nominate one social care professional from within their team they think has gone beyond the call of duty and deserves recognition.

Our judges will choose up to 15 Community Care Champions from among those nominated who will be invited to collect their honours at our event.

Who can apply?

The competition is open to any team leader employed in social care across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Community Care welcomes entries from across the full spectrum of client groups within social care, including children in care, children and families, adults, mental health, disabilities and learning disabilities, and substance misuse.

A team is defined as any clearly defined group of workers – examples would be an area office, a community project, a child protection team, a community mental health team. Teams can include volunteers.


I am delighted to support the launch of The Excellence Network. This government has set out in its five-point plan with its commitment to delivering and recognising excellence across the social care sector. We are working with award scheme providers to drive forward innovative ways of working – recognising those staff who give so much.

To deliver excellence in social care, the workforce needs to be modern and innovative – reflecting the way services are now delivered. The workforce needs to develop new roles and provide care in different ways, moving freely across organisations, across social care and local government, health care boundaries, the independent and third sector.

Individuals and teams have a huge part to play. The Excellence Network will reward staff for their creative and effective ways of working and build on real-life innovation at work to develop benchmarks for best practice, driving forward a social care service with excellence at its centre.

Ivan Lewis, care services minister, Department of Health

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