“You are performing one of the most important roles in our society,” children’s minister, Edward Timpson, told social workers at a parliamentary reception yesterday.
The minister was congratulating winners of the 2014 Social Worker of the Year Awards, which celebrate the achievements of practitioners in children’s and adults services.
Timpson added that he was under “no illusion” of the day-to-day pressures social workers are currently facing: “We know that the hours people think you work are not the reality, and the time you give each family individually is perhaps not as much as you would like.”
“Today is an opportunity to thank you again for everything that you do, I know it is the passion for the job that has led you to this moment.”
The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded by independent social worker, Beverley Williams, who was herself honoured with an MBE in the new year. Last year’s ceremony saw 17 practitioners recognised for their achievements.
Zahraa Adam, who won the award for Overall Social Worker of the Year and Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year, said a trip to the House of Commons was the ‘icing on the cake’.
“The ceremony was a little while ago now, so it’s nice to come here today and refresh it,” she said. “I’ve been quite busy since winning and have been asked to do a lot interviews, but for me it is just all about promoting social work really.”
Jamie Stone, winner of the award for Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year (Adults), added: “Social work is a very under-recognised profession and sees a lot of scrutiny for its failings, so it is just really positive to be here and see some social work successes shared.”
Winners were also congratulated by chief social worker for adults, Lyn Romeo, who joined Timpson in launching the 2015 event. This year’s awards will open for entries on Friday 30 March and the closing date for nominations is Friday 24 July.
The awards, for which Community Care is the official media partner, are sponsored by Sanctuary Social care, and corporate partners BASW and the College of Social Work.
New category supporters for various categories this year include Unison, Essex Cares, and the Local Government Association.