Troubled families leads dominate as New Year Honours list recognises social care professionals

Social work managers, leading disability campaigner and several foster carers also honoured in annual list

Six managers responsible for turning round the lives of “troubled families” were among several social care professionals recognised in the New Year Honours list.

The strong showing for staff implementing the government’s Troubled Families programme follows claims from ministers that 22,000 families have had their lives turned round after 18 months of the three-year scheme. Under the programme, councils have been given funding to identify and work with 120,000 families with multiple needs, with further payments given to authorities if they turn their lives around.

The six managers – who were all given MBEs in the honours list – were: Nicola Bradley, troubled families co-ordinator at Tower Hamlets council; Moya Foster, senior service manager, families in need, Blackpool council; Tracy Green, family intervention service manager, Plymouth council; Michele Harris, family recovery project manager, Wandsworth council; Gillian Hughes, head of community safety and family first co-ordinator, Bolton council; and Lesley Wilkinson, programme manager, families first, Leeds council.

In Wandsworth, 68% of families with whom the project recovery team have worked have had their lives turned round within a year, according to the council.

Harris, who has worked in social care for over 40 years, said: “I’m very humbled and honoured to receive this award and the truth is it belongs to more than just me. My team and the many people I work with in Wandsworth do an incredible job everyday and they deserve this just as much as I do.”

Honours for social work managers

MBEs were also awarded to social work managers Lucie Heyes, head of professional standards and quality at Bexley Council, and Tapshum Pattni, assistant director of adult social care at Birmingham council.

Heyes, who is responsible for improving the quality of children’s social work, is also a member of The College of Social Work’s (TCSW) professional assembly and a media spokesperson for TCSW.

“Receiving this is a fantastic honour, but the award is actually for all statutory children’s social workers and managers on the front line, doing an incredibly demanding job, often in the face of great challenges,” she said. “It recognises all those committed to providing a crucial safety net to vulnerable children and families.”

Former social services director and social care consultant Paul Fallon was awarded an OBE for services to child protection. Fallon is currently chair of Croydon Safeguarding Children’s Board, and formerly performed a similar role in Essex.

There was also an OBE for Professor Mary McColgan, head of school, sociology and applied social studies, University of Ulster, for services to social care in Northern Ireland.

Among care providers, there was an MBE for Anita Astle, managing director of Wren Hall Nursing Home in Nottinghamshire. The home has been recognised for providing high-quality dementia care in receiving the level one quality of life kitemark from Dementia Care Matters, which promotes good practice in this field.

Disability campaigner recognised

Leading disability campaigner Sue Bott was awarded the CBE, the second highest mainstream honour, for her work in promoting disability rights and independent living. Bott, a disabled person who has been visually impaired from birth, is director of policy and development at Disability Rights UK, having previously been chief executive of the National Centre for Independent Living.

“We are delighted that Sue has been recognised for her tireless work in campaigning for the rights of disabled people and their families,” said a Disability Rights UK spokesperson.

There was also a CBE for David Holmes, chief executive of family support charity Family Action, who formerly performed the same role at the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.

Meanwhile, an OBE was awarded to the chief executive of adoption agency Families for Children, Caroline Davis.

Foster carers celebrated

As in previous years, a number of foster carers were also honoured. MBEs were awarded to Patricia Bleu, from Bradford, Glenys and Harold Cockcroft, from Oldham, Harriet Foges, from Camden, Betty and John Insley, from Plymouth, Derek and Hazel Phillips, from Bedfordshire, and John and Mary Richardson, from Devon.

Honours were also awarded to:

  • Royal College of Psychiatrists president Sue Bailey, who becomes a Dame;
  • Sally Hayes-Smith, founder and executive director of disability charity Action for Kids (OBE);
  • Stephen Jack, chair of trustees of the Independent Living Fund (OBE);
  • Aideen Jones, chief executive of supported housing provider Southdown Housing Association (OBE);
  • John Lloyd, chair of the Edward Lloyd Trust, a charity that supports people with learning disabilities (OBE);
  • Carol Compton, manager, integrated youth support service, Southend council (MBE);
  • Jayne Leeson, chief executive, Changing Our Lives, a learning disability charity (MBE);
  • Michael O’Driscoll, senior mental health nurse, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (MBE);
  • Agnes Robertson, lately chair, Renfrewshire Children’s Panel Advisory Committee (MBE);
  • Anne Villiers, chair, Westminster Society for People with Learning Disabilities (MBE).

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