Social worker who grew up in care recognised in New Year honours

Mark Riddell, who manages 'outstanding'-rated service for care leavers, among host of social care staff to receive awards

Social worker Mark Riddell has received an MBE for services to children
Social worker Mark Riddell has received an MBE for services to children

A social worker who spent much of his childhood in care has been awarded an MBE in recognition of his work with children.

Mark Riddell left local authority care in 1984 and spent years working with a range of organisations to campaign for better support for care leavers before training as a social worker in 1990. He now manages the care leaving team at Trafford council. Ofsted has rated the quality of care leaver progress at the council as ‘outstanding’.

Riddell, who penned a book about his time in the care system and subsequent travels around the world – including a chance casting in one of Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo movies, told Community Care he was “absolutely speechless” when he found out he would receive an MBE.

“It was a real ‘wow’ moment. I was delighted. Every day I get up, I go to work, I’m passionate about my job and I really enjoy it. The best bit is the satisfaction of achieving something every day, of watching children from some really quite difficult backgrounds come through it. I’ve been doing this for 33 years. Working with children in care and care leavers is the best job in the world.”

Theresa Grant, Trafford council’s chief executive, said the MBE was testament to the impact of Riddell’s longstanding dedication to supporting children who were facing extreme difficulties in their lives.

“He has, through his caring, committed work, played a key role in ensuring hundreds of children have not only received the most positive experience during their formative years, but that many have ultimately found safety and security within new family environments.”

Several senior children’s services leaders also received awards. Andrew Christie, who currently heads up a new trust that will take on Birmingham’s children’s services, received a CBE for services to children.

Until last year Christie was the director of children’s services at the tri-boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster councils, where two of the authorities became the first in the country to be awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating under Ofsted’s single inspection framework last year. Clare Chamberlain, who succeeded Christie in the tri-borough role, has also been awarded a CBE.

Eleanor Brazil, a children’s social care commissioner who oversaw the transition of Slough’s services to an independent trust in 2015, has received an OBE. Leeds’ former director of children’s services, Nigel Richardson, has received a CBE, as has Rotherham’s former children’s commissioner, Malcolm Newsam, who was brought in by the government to oversee children’s services following a damning report on child sexual exploitation in the town.

Cathy Blair, former director of targeted and specialist children and families services at Islington council, has been awarded an MBE for services to children’s social work.

Terry Dafter, former director of adult services at Stockport council, and Alex Fox, chief executive of Shared Lives, have both received OBEs for services to adult social care. Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, has received a CBE for services to carers.

David Behan, the chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, has received a knighthood for his services to health and care. Behan’s previous roles include the director general for social care at the Department of Health and chief inspector at the former regulator, the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

The full honours list for children’s services can be read here and the full list for health and adult social care services here.

12 Responses to Social worker who grew up in care recognised in New Year honours

  1. Carolyne Willow January 4, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    Hey Mark, massive well done. Fantastic to hear about your work. When I saw the headline on Twitter, I thought “is that the Cornflake Kid?” – and so it is!

    Community care readers, please buy Mark’s excellent book.

    • Mark Riddell MBE January 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks all for the kind words. When we spoke many years ago it was the start of a journey to improve care and leaving care. We are a bit further down that road. With passion and comittement we can achieve anything.

  2. Anne Henner January 4, 2017 at 11:46 pm #

    Wow what an amazing achievement for Mark Riddell well done. To have come through the system and to then go and be passionate about your journey and to then go and work and achieve so much you truly are an Angel without wings. You should be extremely proud.

  3. LUKABWE william January 5, 2017 at 7:11 am #

    Wauu so nice that he sat down and discovered the importance of all people to be with all the necessities and really I appreciate his effort and cry for all governments and other helping organs to be so supportive towards better social service delivery among their citizens

    • LUKABWE william January 5, 2017 at 7:13 am #

      Thanks so much we like such similar personnel’s in the world

  4. Hilton Dawson January 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    ‘ the cornflake kid’ comes good again !
    My signed copy still a treasured possession

    Very well done Mark Riddell

    • Mark Riddell MBE January 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi Hilton thanks for the kind words. Remember this goes back to the early days of the APPG which you were a main player and catalyst for change. Thanks to you for laying the foundation for change.

      • Hilton Dawson January 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

        Cheers Mark
        If only we could make change consistent & sustained.
        How can we promote your model much wider ? Who will sustain it when you move on to even greater things ?
        I could go on and on and ……
        All the very best
        Hilton

  5. Esmeralda January 5, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    Amazing work. Well done Mark. It’s great to hear some positive news about Social work for once.

  6. Lynne January 5, 2017 at 9:41 pm #

    Well done Mark, a fantastic manager, you deserve this recognition so much xx

  7. Florence O'Connor January 16, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    Hi what an achievement I’m so pleased you’ve been recognised for all your hard work and commitment. I’ve only met you a couple of times
    In meetings but you came across as a lovely man and this just confirms it.
    Oh yes and I’ve downloaded “the cornflake kid”on my kindle just need time to read it now.
    Well done again Mark.

  8. Maggie Danesfahani January 23, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    Kids in care be inspired, you can do anything :)