With the Social Worker of the Year Awards launching for nominations, do you think awards schemes are good for the profession?
- No, they are divisive and elitist. (38%, 68 Votes)
- Yes, they celebrate and recognise good practice. (37%, 66 Votes)
- They make very little difference. (24%, 43 Votes)
Total Voters: 177
The Social Worker of the Year Awards 2023 has opened for nominations, with 18 category prizes up for grabs, alongside the overall winner’s gong.
New for this year is an award for approved mental health professionals, while the previous university of the year prize has been replaced by one for lecturers.
The scheme is open to registered practitioners in England, self-nominations and third-party nominations are accepted and entries must be submitted through the awards’ online portal by 2 June 2023.
The launch came as the overall winners from last year’s awards addressed MPs and peers on the importance of championing oppressed and unheard people, at a parliamentary reception last week.
Central Bedfordshire Council audit manager Kirstie Baughan, who was garlanded last year for her extensive voluntary work for asylum seekers and refugees, raised the issue of how the group was treated, in the wake of the government’s controversial Illegal Migration Bill.
‘Need to show compassion, care and welcome to asylum seekers’
“I want to take this opportunity to emphasise the importance of each and every one of us standing alongside those that are not being heard, advocating for fair and equitable treatment of asylum seekers and refugees and remembering that every person who comes to the UK has a unique, personal story,” she said.
“As social workers, MPs, government officials, we all have a responsibility to be role models and treat every individual with compassion, care and welcome.”
Kirstie shared the overall prize with the team around Kasibba, part of Camden’s integrated learning disability service. The team spent six years battling to move Kasibba (not her real name) – a black, autistic woman, who had been inappropriately detained in a mental health hospital for decades – into the community.
Also addressing the reception, Andrew Reece, head of integrated learning disability services, paid tribute to “the total dedication and commitment” of all the staff who had supported Kasibba, as well as the support of health and social care managers across Camden.
‘We need to hear people’s voices and respond’
However, he added: “Kasibba was failed by all of us for many, many years. As a system we saw her as a ‘savage’ not a person and used discriminatory, derogatory and racist language to describe and demonise her. As a system we failed to find a way to hear the voice of Kassiba; we need to hear people’s voices and to respond to them.”
MPs attending the event paid tribute to social workers, with former children’s minister Tim Loughton describing practitioners as “the fourth emergency service” and Labour shadow children’s minister Helen Hayes adding: “Often the best social work goes entirely unseen by most people. Social workers work in a context of enormous pressure.
“Today, we celebrate your brilliance, we celebrate your commitment, the vitally important work that you do and the critical difference that you make. Thank you and congratulations.”
- Children’s social worker of the year
- Adult social worker of the year
- Newly qualified children’s social worker of the year
- Newly qualified adult social worker of the year
- Team of the year, children’s services
- Team of the year, adult services
- Team leader of the year, children’s services
- Team leader of the year, adult services
- Mental health social worker of the year
- Approved mental health professional of the year
- Social justice advocate award
- Lifetime achievement award
- Student social worker of the year
- Practice educator of the year
- Supporting children in education award
- Digital transformation in social work award
- Supportive social work employer award
- University lecturer of the year
- Overall winner
The launch of nominations the awards follows news of the shortlist for four of the gongs at this year’s inaugural scheme run by social work charity Frontline.
In the practice category, the line-up is:
- Kym Chalmers, social worker, Essex council
- Josie Hall, advanced practitioner, Solihull
- Diana Katoto, social worker, Dudley
- Lyndsey Moore, social worker, Coventry
- Antonia Ogundayisi, service manager for Anti-Racist Practice, Essex council
- Arthur Scott, restorative social worker, Portsmouth council
The nominees for the leadership award are:
- Hannah Bedford, family valued programme manager, Coventry
- Theresa Kambani, consultant social worker, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust
- Charmaine Malcolm, principal child and family social worker/head of professional practice, Bromley council
- Sarah Okoye-Eni, consultant social worker, Bromley council
- Oyeyinka Olaniran, service manager,
- Michelle Ziregbe, practice manager, West Berkshire Council
The team of the year choices were:
- Staying Together team, Bexley council
- Family group conference team, Darlington
- Duty and assessment team 2, Manchester
- Social work academy, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust
- Learning academy team, Tower Hamlets council
The innovation award shortlist is:
- Roseanna Freiburghaus, Journey with an Unaccompanied Child
- Tooba Malik, Thrive
- Elizabeth Vecchione, Care to Dance
- Blackpool Children Services, Blackpool Families Rock
- Coventry, Reunification
The winners of those awards will be announced at a ceremony next month.