Social Worker of the Year Awards 2011: Winners

Social work award winners

Social workers from across the country were honoured at the Social Worker of the Year Awards, held at the House of Lords on Friday 16 December 2011.

Overall Social Worker of the Year 2011 went to Celia Parker, a social worker from the London Borough of Southwark, who was described as a ‘unique and inspiring leader’ .

Parker has worked in the profession for more than 30 years and is the team manager of a looked-after children’s team in Southwark. She said: “I am thrilled to have received this award. I believe that it’s not just an award for me, but it is recognition of the work that social workers do to improve the lives of people who have not had the best chances or the best luck in life.”

James Rook, managing director of headline sponsors and awards organisers Sanctuary Social Care, presented the award to Celia. He said: “Celia clearly inspires team members to reach for extremely high standards by earning their respect and setting a tone of absolute professionalism. Celia is a totally committed social worker who shows tremendous passion and care for the looked-after children in her case load and works tirelessly to find the best outcome for them.”

Baroness Wilkins, who hosted an evening celebration for all of the winners following the awards presentation added: “Thank goodness for these awards to highlight this unsung profession. Social workers are often damned if they do or damned if they don’t – so a big well done to everyone.”


The judging panel for the 2011 Social Worker of the Year Awards was:

Professor Eileen Munro
Andrew Flanagan, CEO, NSPCC
Jane Haywood, Children’s Workforce Development Council
Baroness Sally Morgan, Ofsted
Maxine Wrigley, A National Voice
Stephen Golder, Social Care Institute for Excellence
Peter Beresford, Brunel University
Dr Sharon Vitalli, Oxford Brookes University
Dez Holmes, Research in Practice
Emily Munro, Centre for Child and Family Research
Ann Haigh, NAGALRO
Maxine Fletcher – Senior Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University
Andrew Williamson, NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
Dave Hill, Director of Service, Essex County Council
Cynthia Bower, CEO, Care Quality Commission
Beverley Hendricks, Sanctuary Personnel
Maurice Bates, Chair, The College of Social Work
Alison Tasker, The College of Social Work
Jo Cleary, ADASS
Penny Thompson, CEO, GSCC
Jane Stacey, Deputy CEO, Barnardo’s

Celia Parker

Overall Social Worker of the Year (sponsored by Sanctuary Social Care) & Children’s Services Team Leader of the Year (sponsored by G4S)

Celia Parker, Southwark Council (pictured centre)

What the judges said: “Celia is personally responsible for the care plans of 44 children. She has inspired her team to reach for consistently high standards and is respected by her team and fellow professionals. The judges feel she is a reliable team leader who has created a great work culture.”

Kelly Hicks

Adult Social Worker of the Year Award (sponsored by Community Care)

Kelly Hicks, an independent social worker from Doncaster (pictured left)

What the judges said: “Kelly was nominated by a group of service users in a notoriously poor area. She has managed to gain their trust, and respect and changed the way they think about social workers. The judges agreed she is an inspirational role model.”

Southend Team of the year

Team of the Year (Children’s Services) Award

The adoption team at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

What the judges said: “The team has used a range of innovative techniques to address service user needs. They have a great team spirit, high morale and showcased a range of examples of how they have worked together effectively and efficiently. The judges felt they had a good overview of the team as a whole”


Team of the Year (Adult Services) Award

TOPAZ (Team Offering People Advice and Support), the London Borough of Lambeth

What the judges said: “The judges felt that this team showcased imaginative work and was extremely focused upon the service user impact. They liked the way the team had used a core social work service and implemented it in an original way and the outcomes and successes were very clearly defined.”

Anita Kapur

Adult Services Team Leader of the Year

Anita Kapur, London Borough of Lambeth (pictured right)

What the judges said: “Anita has turned a team of locums staff into a professional and effective team with a strong sense of identity. She places service users at the heart of everything she does and has developed a strong, stable and cohesive unit.”

Janet Foulds

Overall Leader of Innovative Practice Award

Janet Foulds, Derby City Council (pictured right)

What the judges said: “Janet manages the child sexual abuse unit in Derby City, which consists of a small group of social workers who work therapeutically with survivors of child sexual abuse. Janet identified the need for this service and regularly stands up for social workers. The judging panel felt that Janet is a fantastic advocate for the social work profession.”

Ellie Hal-Fead

Practice Teacher of the Year Award

Ellie Hal-Fead, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council (pictured left)

What the judges said: “Ellie’s dedication to student learning makes her an exemplary educator – she focuses on the application of social work theory, the development of key skills and integrates this with reflection, constructive feedback and student well-being. The judges felt that Ellie is an inspiring practice educator and a strong role model for the profession.”

Ian Baker - Lifetime Achievement

Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by BASW

Ian Baker, Nottinghamshire County Council (pictured right)

What the judges said: “Ian has devoted most of his professional career to social work and specifically to campaigning for those with physical disabilities. During his long career Ian gained the respect of service users, carers and team members alike. He always put the needs of the service user first, and helped change the face of social work within Nottinghamshire.”

Children’s Social Worker of the Year Award (sponsored by NSPCC)

Caroline Curtis, Southwark Children’s Services

What the judges said: “Caroline has been recognised for her hard work, patience and empathy. Her entry showed fantastic testimonials from one of her families and the judging panel agreed her work is an example of outstanding professionalism in this challenging area.”

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