Social workers celebrated for Covid-19 service and leadership in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Three practitioners honoured for practice during pandemic and gongs also awarded to head who helped turn round Croydon's children's services and PSW in 'outstanding' Leeds

Rashida Baig
Croydon head of social work Rashida Baig, who was given an MBE for services to child and family social work and race equality

Social workers’ contributions to supporting people through Covid-19 have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Practitioner Manvir Hothi, of Hammersmith and Fulham council in London, was awarded an MBE for services to social care, particularly during the pandemic, while the British Empire Medal was awarded to social workers Denny Levine, of North Yorkshire council, and Vale of Glamorgan council’s Louise Peart for supporting people through Covid-19.

MBEs were also awarded to two prominent children’s social work leaders, Croydon head of social work Rashida Baig, and Leeds principal social worker Farrah Khan.

Baig joined Croydon in April 2019, when the south London authority was rated ‘inadequate’ though improving, and in March of this year it improved to ‘good’.

‘A role model of professionalism’

Alisa Flemming, the council’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said she was “a role model of professionalism and dedication” and a key part of the council’s improvement.

Baig, who qualified in 2000 and previously worked for Hillingdon, Wokingham and West Berkshire councils,  was honoured for her services both to child and family social work and to racial equality. Prior to her social work career, Baig was a research associate for the Centre for Minority Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Baig said she was “startled” by the nomination, and wasn’t expecting it.

“I’ve been really humbled by the recognition for social work and the work that’s done with vulnerable children and their families.

She added: “Tackling racism in all its forms has been central to everything I have done as a social worker including valuing children’s heritage and identity and making sure where possible they remain in their family and communities whether in the UK or elsewhere.”

Khan, who is head of quality and practice improvement as well as PSW at Leeds, has been one of the leaders behind the city’s ‘outstanding’ rating in children’s services. She was recently appointed co-chair of the Principal Children and Families Social Worker Network.

Praise from across sector

Both Baig and Khan were showered with praise by fellow social work leaders and colleagues on Twitter.

‘Team effort’

Charlotte Ramsden, strategic director of people at Salford council, picked up an OBE for her work in supporting the development of services for children and young people across Greater Manchester since 2016.

Ramsden, a social worker by background, said she was “deeply honoured” by the recognition and proud to accept it on behalf of all her Greater Manchester colleagues.

“This award recognises a true team effort by professionals, politicians, children and young people across Greater Manchester to ensure children and young people live their best lives. We are achieving things by working together that we could never achieve as individual authorities,” she added.

Meanwhile, academic Sarah Nelson received an OBE for her work on behalf of survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Nelson has researched and campaigned on child sexual abuse for many decades, and acted as a professional adviser to both the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

She said she has “worked closely with abuse survivors themselves and their third sector support agencies, and tried to reflect their own voices, producing accessible reports, booklets and many presentations for policymakers, practitioners and survivor activists”. Her work has covered child protection systems, physical health legacies of abuse, the voices of young survivors and models of community prevention.

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9 Responses to Social workers celebrated for Covid-19 service and leadership in Queen’s Birthday Honours

  1. Sybil Dube October 15, 2020 at 7:41 pm #

    This is wonderful news for social workers to be nominated for the Queen’s birthday honours list. For many social workers there has been a feeling that their work and efforts were not valued as the NHS staff were the focus of recognition when in fact there are many families, children, adults, those with disabilities amongst others in our society in need and utilise the services of social workers to connect with other agencies to bring about positive outcomes and even save lives.

    I am happy such dedicated workers have been recognised.

    By the way, THANK YOU Community Care Magazine staff for keeping us informed. You are a highly valuable resource.

  2. Ayan October 15, 2020 at 10:09 pm #


  3. Mel October 16, 2020 at 7:31 am #

    Proof that some local authorities notice and value their staff and the work they do. I don’t think this is true for all.

  4. Fardowsa daahir xasan October 16, 2020 at 7:35 am #

    Iam so happy celebrating social work

  5. Filiz October 16, 2020 at 9:35 am #

    And the rest of us, who are we? Just the mere I suppose.

  6. Margaret Logan October 16, 2020 at 11:45 pm #

    I am absolutely delighted to hear of the awards for Social Workers in the Queens Birthday Honours list.
    As a retired Children’s services Social Worker, I am so pleased to see the proffession being recognised in such a way for all the hard work and long hours Social Workers do. Sincere Congratulations to everyone who has succeeded in having the proffession noticed in an excellent way. Keep up the good work. Mags.

  7. Turan October 17, 2020 at 10:40 am #

    Strange kind of anti-racism that one moment condemns colonialism then accepts an ‘honour’ on behalf of a colonising Empire. What kind of social work feels comfortable supporting separation of people into a State approved Honourable and the plebian rest? Naively I thought diversity meant something else.

  8. Jacenta October 17, 2020 at 10:49 am #

    We don’t have to celebrate social workers by embracing awards bestowed on behalf of the British Empire. How about validating each other through solidarity and comradeship? Don’t moan about lack of resources and the pressures you are under if you are happy to join the Establishment.

  9. Sandra Barnett October 17, 2020 at 4:13 pm #

    Please don’t accept these baubles on behalf of us all, many of us have bitter family memories of the Empire. Your elevation is yours alone and enjoy it on your own terms.