Social Worker of the Year Awards 2023 finalists announced

Over 90 practitioners, managers, lecturers, teams and organisations shortlisted in 18 awards, whose winners will be announced in November

Social Worker of the Year Awards trophies
Photo by Social Worker of the Year Awards

Over 90 social workers, managers, teams and organisations across children’s and adults’ services in England have been shortlisted for this year’s Social Worker of the Year Awards.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London in November.

The finalists were chosen by independent judging panels of social workers, sector leaders and people with lived experience of services, including young care leavers.

This year, there are 18 awards, with Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) of the Year as a new addition, and University Social Work Lecturer of the Year replacing University of the Year.

As in previous years, most of the finalists are, or work for, statutory children’s or adults’ services providers (local authorities, children’s trusts or NHS trusts), with higher education institutions represented in the student and university categories. There are also a few nominations for voluntary or private sector organisations.

Essex County Council is leading the nominations, holding seven shortlist slots, with Suffolk County Council coming in second with six. Anglia Ruskin is the university with the most nominations, with three.

“This year we received the most entries ever which goes to show organisations and individuals are keen to shine a light on the inspirational achievements of an often-overlooked profession,” said Peter Hay, chair of the Social Work Awards.

“We would like to thank all those who took the time to nominate a friend, colleague, or team for an award this year. To our finalists, we’d like to say congratulations! Being nominated for a national award, whilst supporting others during very challenging times, is a remarkable achievement of which you should be very proud.”

Social Worker of the Year Awards finalists

Student Social Worker of the Year 2023

  • Alex Cadoux (University of Warwick)
  • Amy Ibbotson (Sunderland University)
  • Aravind Satheesh (University of East Anglia)
  • Charlotte Higgins (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Karla Coppendale (West London NHS Trust Inpatient Forensic Service)
  • Lloyd Haskins (University of Plymouth)

University Social Work Lecturer of the Year 2023

  • Bridget Caffrey (University of Chester)
  • David Bulmer (Middlesex University/ Think Ahead)
  • Gemma Hunt (University of Warwick)
  • Katie Kuken (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Lynda Hughes (University of Sheffield)

Newly Qualified Adult Social Worker of the Year 2023

  • Angell Phoenix (Worcestershire County Council)
  • James Hussain (Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Kemela McFarlane (Liverpool City Council)
  • Nicola Harding (Cheshire West and Chester)
  • Patrick Hamilton (Suffolk County Council)
  • Victoria Veale (Suffolk County Council)

Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year 2023

  • Clare Burnett (Cafcass)
  • Ellie Taylor (Gloucestershire County Council)
  • Kelly Bentley-Simon (Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Norton Dhliwayo (Achieving for Children)

Practice Educator of the Year 2023

  • Christopher Smith-Whicker (Kirklees Children’s Social Care)
  • Gwen Bryan (University of East London)
  • Pat Curtis (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Sharon Saarrtje Hirshman (Sheffield City Council)
  • Suzanne Smith (Hull City Council)

Team of the Year, Adult Services 2023 (including multi-disciplinery teams)

  • Adult Central Locality Team (City of Doncaster Council)
  • Adult Social Care Transformation Team – Derbyshire County Council
  • Adults with Learning Disabilities Team South Worcestershire (Worcestershire County Council)
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) Team (Suffolk County Council)
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Team (Essex County Council)

Team of the Year, Children’s Services 2023 (including multi-disciplinery teams (MDT))

  • Bridges (Devon Children’s Services)
  • Fair Ways Fostering Team (Fair Ways)
  • Make a Change (Suffolk County Council)
  • North Lincolnshire Council Fostering Team (North Lincolnshire Council)
  • Staying Together Team (Bexley Council)
  • Tendring Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) (Essex County Council)

Supportive Social Work Employer Award 2023

  • Cafcass
  • North Lincolnshire Council
  • Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
  • Together for Children Sunderland

Team Leader of the Year, Adult Services 2023

  • Charlie Mason (Plymouth City Council)
  • Corinne Avery (Norfolk County Council)
  • Janette Ledbrook (Wokingham Borough Council)
  • Julie Flynn (Birmingham City Council)
  • Sandra Mak (Merton Council)
  • Suzanne Ladlow (Suffolk County Council)
  • Wendy Kirkman (Derbyshire County Council)

Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services 2023

  • Belinda Collingwood (Essex County Council)
  • Ben Collins (Essex County Council)
  • Eleanor Hinchliffe (South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Jane Dunne (Coventry Local Authority)
  • Nirvana Curley (Portsmouth City Council)
  • Sarah Vardy (Derbyshire County Council)

Digital Transformation in Social Work Award 2023

  • Buckinghamshire Children’s Services (Buckinghamshire Council Children’s Services)
  • Fostering Together’s Team (Fostering Together – for children with disabilities)
  • Rachael Carrott (Adopt South – Hampshire County Council)
  • Specialist Support Service (Gateshead Council)
  • Suffolk County Council Digital Care Team (Suffolk County Council)

Supporting Children in Education Award 2023

  • Christina Addenbrooke (Essex County Council)
  • Demi Sherman (North Tyneside Council)
  • Julia Robertson (Orchard Care)
  • Kelly Arrowsmith (North Tyneside Council)
  • SWIS project – social workers in schools (Anglia Ruskin University)

Social Justice Advocate Award 2023

  • Ade Larigo (Agency Connection Ltd)
  • Elaine James (Bradford Council)
  • Jenni Guthrie (Frontline)

Mental Health Social Worker of the Year 2023

  • Edward Lim (South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Hannah Dawson (Northumberland County Council)
  • Kim Cleaver (Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council)
  • Sara Galvin (Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust)
  • Wendy Giovanelli (Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust)

Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) Social Worker of the Year 2023

  • Andree Hindmarch (Sunderland Local Authority)
  • Katie Anderson (Northumberland County Council)
  • Kirsten Bingham (Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust – co/Hull City Council)
  • Krista Rathe (Essex County Council)
  • Rob Marsden (Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Stephen Roper (Sefton MBC)

Adult Social Worker of the Year 2023

  • Abby Turk (Essex County Council)
  • Charlotte Spain (North Lincolnshire Council)
  • Jennifer Daines (Wokingham Borough Council)
  • Louise Gray (Northumberland County Council)
  • Ruth Hare (Birmingham City Council Adult Social Care)
  • Stacey Wells (Warrington Borough Council)

Children’s Social Worker of the Year 2023

  • Anna Hill (Wiltshire Council)
  • Barbara Parker (University Hospitals Dorset NHS Trust)
  • Ben Chisanga (Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council)
  • Omaid Badar (Kirklees Children’s Social Care)
  • Tia Brady-Belle (Warwickshire County Council)
  • Vicky Doolan (Kirklees Local Authority)

Lifetime Achievement Award 2023

  • Amanda Davies (Families First Fostering)
  • Mary Helsby (Sefton Council Adult Social Care)
  • Meera Spillett (The Staff College (Associate))
  • Rachael Willis (Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Sarah Parsons (Cafcass)
  • Susan Waring (Baltimore – working in Somerset Council)


7 Responses to Social Worker of the Year Awards 2023 finalists announced

  1. Tahin August 17, 2023 at 12:33 pm #

    Commiserations to the social workers and others who have failed to make the categories. As another dimished practitioner unworthy of being anything of The Year I accept with grace my own inadequacies and my place in the shadows of the excellence I can never attain.

  2. Ms A August 18, 2023 at 8:42 am #

    I’m sure all of these nominees deserve an award and more in some way or other. I say this as our job is the hardest on the planet. Well done to all nominees particularly to all social workers we all go above and beyond everyday for very little reward at the end of it.

    That said it would have been nice to see some more nominees from inner city and borough councils and services around the UK where there are higher levels of diversity, mental health difficulties, crime, poverty, homelessness and deprivation. The tiresome work that is being achieved in these much poorer areas are often overlooked.

    I didn’t even know these awards existed until now. Maybe next year go through social work england for nominees (if not achieved already) so to widen the remit and give a chance for all to scroll through..including the individuals, families and communities we work with.

    A lot more awards should be given to AMHPs, Children’s Social Workers, Adult Social Workers, Youth Offending Workers and Early Help Workers because in my view and experience that’s were the real hard work takes place NOT university lectures. This is because I believe universities are too expensive, many lecturer’s have not practiced in a long time or have never practiced and so not ready social workers for the field. Real knows real!

  3. Michelle Khan August 18, 2023 at 9:26 am #

    Cmon Bradford!

  4. Pat Waite August 18, 2023 at 10:26 am #

    As the Mam of a burnt out social worker who has spent weeks deliberating whether she could go on sick leave and know her families and co-workers would not be left stranded as the team was already depleted, can I just say every social worker on the ground deserves to be acknowledged for the amazing but often underappreciated job they do.

  5. Sophia August 18, 2023 at 3:15 pm #

    Very much agreed. This can be a thankless job and limited support.

    Well done to all the nominees, but to each SW who worked tirelessly throughout COVID ( there was no furlough for us) and continues too You Are Amazing ❤️???

    • Alyson August 19, 2023 at 4:51 pm #

      Actually it can’t be that we are all amazing if only some of us are deemed worthy of being singled out for “excellence”. Mind I work with somone who has one of these and am still waiting for the magic to buff up my abysmal practice. Either I am too much of a dunce to ever reach heights or we are all just social workers bobbing along in our organisationally directed bureaucratic mediocrity. Might it just be that these awards are nothing more than a chance for the big boys and girls to have a corporate sponsored shindig while reinforcing each others self defined magnificence?

  6. Craig August 21, 2023 at 10:22 am #

    “Bobbing along in our organisationally directed bureaucracy” has to be the most cogent, insightful, honest and accurate description of contemporary social work we are likely to read. Managers will sneer, PSWs will seethe, Practice Educators will yet again look another direction and Universities will do double somersaults and cartwheel into contortions to ignore what the realities are. Those of us who believe in social work not baubles and ‘recognition’ know Alyson is spot on.