Former ADCS president among social workers on New Year Honours list

Several social workers have been recognised for their contribution to children's and adults' services

Image of Jenny Coles, president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services for 2020-21 (credit: ADCS)
Jenny Coles

Article updated 9 January 2022

Social workers including a former president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services,, have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Jenny Coles, president of ADCS from 2020 to 2021, was awarded a CBE for her services to children’s social care.

Coles was director of children’s services at Hertfordshire council for 11 years before retiring in August last year.

During her time at Hertfordshire, she received national recognition from the Department for Education for the council’s family safeguarding model.

Last month, Coles was appointed to the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, which is investigating learnings for the profession to come out of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

‘Dedication to making a difference’

Steve Crocker, ADCS vice president, said: “Jenny has played an important role in the association over many many years, first as a policy committee chair and then as ADCS president 2020/21, and I’m delighted to see Jenny’s commitment and dedication to making a difference to the lives of children and families acknowledged in this way.”

Teresa Heritage, Hertfordshire’s executive member for children, young people and families said: “I’m personally so proud and happy for Jenny to have received this award.

“Before retiring in the summer, she led our children’s services team brilliantly for well over a decade and has made an enormous contribution to the sector at a national level.

“Jenny is a true leader and an incredibly strong advocate for putting children’s safeguarding needs first. This is such a welcome award for all those people who have worked for, and learned from, Jenny.”

Gong for social worker turned chief executive

A CBE was also awarded to Ade Adetosoye, chief executive of Bromley council, London, and a social worker by background who remains on the register.

Adetosoye joined the authority in 2016 as deputy chief executive and director of children’s services and led a transformation in its performance, with its Ofsted rating moving from inadequate to good in 2018.

In the same year he became chief executive, one of a handful of black holders of the post across the country. His CBE was for services to children’s welfare and came eight years after he was awarded an OBE for driving improvements in children’s services in Lambeth.

Adetosoye said: “It is a huge honour, to be recognised in this way.  The most recent period of our lives has been immensely challenging for all of us. It has been an immense privilege to support residents and staff at this time, including seeking to ensure that we protect and develop services for our children, which was the focus of my early career and remains highly important, both professionally and personally.”

Welsh mental health practitioner awarded MBE

Among the other practitioners recognised, Laurence McBreen was awarded an MBE for services to the social work sector in South Wales.

McBreen was a social worker from 1972 until 2011, working as part of both a generic team and a mental health setting.

From 1990 until 2011 he was a member of Cardiff and the Vale Action for Mental Health’s emergency duty team.

He was also responsible for student placements in South Glamorgan during this time, and then from 1997 as professional development officer in the Vale of Glamorgan until 2018.

Known as Zac, McBreen continues as a practice teacher, having helped to train more than 500 students.

“I’m very pleased with having been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list – and would like to add that I know of many dedicated, hardworking and able social workers who could and should be similarly honoured,” he said.

“Traditionally, social work does not feature in the Honours List as much as it should, given the nature of this public service.”

Others recognised include:

  • John Bolton, OBE – social care consultant, former director of adult social services and Department of Health social care finance lead.
  • Simon Darby, MBE – social worker, Young Lives vs Cancer, for services to teenagers and young adults with cancer in Northern Ireland.
  • Kiran Flynn, British Empire Medal – social worker, Frontline, for services to children and families during Covid-19.
  • Albert Heaney, CBE – chief social care officer for Wales, for services to social care.
  • Bridget Mongan, OBE – director, adult services and prison healthcare, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, for services to prison health care and social work in Northern Ireland.
  • Eddie O’Hara, British Empire Medal – founding chair, All Birmingham’s Children Charity, for services to children and families.

The British Association of Social Workers said it “welcomes the recognition of outstanding social care and social work in the 2022 New Year honours list, and would like to congratulate all those who have represented social work”.

Social Work England said in a blog post it would like to congratulate “everyone in social work who have been recognised in the 2022 New Years honour list for their achievements and service to this vital profession”.

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21 Responses to Former ADCS president among social workers on New Year Honours list

  1. BTM January 4, 2022 at 6:55 pm #

    Who honours the colleagues we lost, those assaulted out of the profession, those with long covid symptoms?

  2. Plain Bill January 4, 2022 at 7:01 pm #

    Hurrah for Equality, Diversity and Social Justice.

  3. BLM January 4, 2022 at 9:42 pm #

    Social Work England “congratulates everyone in social work” who have been ‘honoured’ on behalf of the British Empire. Still taking the knee folks?

  4. Angi Naylor January 4, 2022 at 10:39 pm #

    Other winners ? pardon ! They are not winners they are recipients, who have been recognised for their contributions to social work by the Queen.

  5. Anton January 5, 2022 at 10:28 am #

    Social work definition of equality, respect, justice and diversity? Bend the knee to the British Empire.

  6. Melanie Jones January 5, 2022 at 10:38 am #

    Another year and another reminder that some are more worthy than the rest of us.

  7. Tahin January 5, 2022 at 10:42 am #

    Is this the same social work that held up Ubuntu pledges and took the knee because Black Lives Matter?

  8. Danton January 5, 2022 at 1:17 pm #

    Commanders of the Order of the British Empire. Ofcourse. Prefer Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite myself. Easier on the patella.

  9. Dotun January 5, 2022 at 6:28 pm #

    All I know about Jenny Coles is what I’ve read so I defer to those who have personal relationships. But I do know that no social worker or leader achieves what they have without the contribution of many others. In that context it sours my view of my profession that it embraces and celebrates such individual “honours.” That’s without the acceptance of a bauble celebrating the British Empire and bestowed by a Government which revels in the denigration and decimation of public services. It should be reward enough if we add to the positives in people’s lives. Being bought by the Establishment for such a cheap price is demoralising.

  10. Killdare January 6, 2022 at 10:01 am #

    I say those who criticise awards for social workers should remember these truths. We are not a Republic. We are subjects of Her Majesty Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the Head of the Commonwealth. Her Majesty’s Government bestows these awards to individuals who excell at their profession and in their communities. Not all of us have these attributes but most of us aspire to be as brilliant. I think those here criticising do so out of envy. The British Empire did some very bad things but was also a agency for development and cultural advancement as evidenced by the Sewell Report. We live in a free society, our democracy thrives on meritocracy, we are not herded into a mass of beings, we are individuals living in liberty. So congratulations to all who have been honoured.

  11. Anil January 6, 2022 at 9:52 pm #

    Personally I cannot get worked up about any individual bauble whether given for goal of the month or on behalf of the British Empire. It’s the we save lives and promote equality and justice smooch fest undercut with me me me all about me acceptance that annoys. Actually it’s the hypocracy.

  12. Alice January 6, 2022 at 10:05 pm #

    You never know, our colleagues might just get their honour on the day Sir Tony gets his garter. Honourable recipients one and all but perhaps Sir T not quite the company to be lumped in with though.

  13. Ebi January 7, 2022 at 8:06 pm #

    There’s is a Blackman from Bromley which is the only debt free London borough who was also recognised ; why is he not on here?
    Adetosoye OBE

  14. Adamma Oguh January 7, 2022 at 8:38 pm #

    “Community Care” is this an “oversight”? You did not give a mention of Ade Adetosoye, who is a social worker by profession and is the Chief Executive of Bromley Council, who amongst other things, “has achieved the fastest and most significant improvement in Children’s Services of any local authority in England” and led Bromley to be the only debt free council in London.

    Bromley Council’s Chief Executive Ade Adetosoye OBE has been awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

    Ade Adetosoye CBE, has been Bromley Council’s Chief Executive since December 2018, having joined the LA as Deputy Chief Executive in December 2016, also taking charge of children’s services.

    Ade Adetosoye CBE, Bromley Council’s Chief Executive said, “It is a huge honour to be recognised in this way the most recent period of our lives has been mentally challenging for all of us. It has been an immense privilege to support residents and staff at this time, including seeking to ensure that we protect and develop services for our children, which was the focus of my early career, and remains highly important work professionally and personally.”

    Services for children and families in Bromley were recognised as being ‘good’ overall in a report published by Ofsted in January 2019, with leadership that has an ‘outstanding’ impact on social work practice.

    When appointed as Chief Executive, Mr Adetosoye set about preparing a new strategic vision, for the council and titled ‘Transforming Bromley’, a four-year program in 2023, designed to completely overhaul the borough’s six main housing business areas: housing, adult social care, children’s services, and education, and environment and community services and workplace modernisation.

  15. Kehinde Aina January 7, 2022 at 11:33 pm #

    How come you omitted Ade Adetosoye name. His name was mentioned this week in parliament during the prime minister questions by the MP for Bromley. The only borough in England that is debt free. I say shame on you.

  16. Tahin January 8, 2022 at 10:24 am #

    Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole jumped into the Thames to rescue a woman and died trying. No award for him. No doubt all the social workers here do their jobs to the highest standards. So they should. So should we all. But being excellent at our jobs is what we should be, that’s the reward, that is the satisfaction, that’s the celebration. Joaquin Garcia also dived into the Thames to help Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole help rescue a drowning woman. No reward for him either. Love your Queen, love your Empire, but take a moment to think about Jimi and Joaquin. Still think rewards are given for the best reasons?

  17. Neks January 9, 2022 at 12:08 pm #

    It’s shocking that Ade Adetosoye was not recognised on this platform:

    Bromley Council’s Chief Executive, Ade Adetosoye OBE has been awarded a CBE in the New Years honours list 2022.

    Ade Adetosoye CBE, has been Bromley Council’s Chief Executive since December 2018, having joined the authority as Deputy Chief Executive in December 2016. He is one of 4 black Local Authority Chief Executives in London. And one of the 10 nationwide in the UK .

  18. Mithran Samuel January 9, 2022 at 8:41 pm #

    Thanks to all those who commented on the omission of Ade Adetosoye. That was an oversight on our part, for which I apologise. We’ve updated the article to include him.

    • Ebi January 10, 2022 at 4:38 am #

      @Samuel Mithras, that oversight was too obvious to be an oversight … I rest my case whilst I feel that ubuntu hullabaloo was a complete waste of time

  19. Alun January 10, 2022 at 10:45 pm #

    There is a strange irony in accusing CC of Ubuntu hullabaloo while commending people of colour who enthusiastically embrace a little medal given to them on behalf of the British Empire which mercilessly exploited its colonies.

  20. Tahin January 11, 2022 at 9:16 am #

    But surely when a black person accepts a medal that depicts a white man standing on a black man its not about the British Empire but the ’empowerment’ of the black community Alun? Though Benjamin Zephaniah might disagree.