Entries for the 2017 Social Worker of the Year Awards are open! Visit our website for more information & to download entry forms #SWA17

Rob Mitchell, Calderdale Council

Principal Social Worker of the Year


When Rob bounded into his manager’s office to tell her about the principal social worker role for adult social care, she knew he was the man for the job.


Rob has an infectious passion for social work and has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the profession at both a national and regional level. Anyone who follows Rob on Twitter (@SocialWorkOps) will know that he has a strong social media presence and is often contributing to the debate on social work reform, as well as sharing knowledge and resources.


Closer to home, Rob’s leadership has had a profound impact on raising the status and professional standing of adult social work within Calderdale Council. He has successfully grown the budget for social workers from £2m to £3.5m in the last three years and has invested in employment opportunities for newly qualified practitioners, social work traineeships for care leavers and training for six new practice educators.


Social workers under Rob’s management also report feeling empowered and having a greater say in their practice - a testament to all he has achieved. As one judge commented, “we need people who make this role come alive - Rob’s done that”.


What was said about Rob:


“This was a really strong entry. Rob is a passionate voice at national level and the influential work he’s been doing in his own patch was very impressive. Rob is courageous, he has shaped the way his director thinks and the way money is allocated - that deserves recognition.” - Dez Holmes, Director, Research in Practice & Research in Practice for Adults


“We need people who make this role come alive and demonstrate high impact - he’s done that.” - Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive, Cafcass:


“Rob is a social worker who embraces the very essence of what ‘pushing for positive change’ means, with a fierce passion for true inclusion, human rights and social justice. I can only look up to him.” - Mark Harvey, Principal Social Worker at Hertfordshire County Council


“I am proud to work with Rob and proud to work in Calderdale under his leadership. I honestly don’t think it would be the place it is without him as principal social worker.” - Kirsty McLeod, Group Manager, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health, Calderdale Council



  • Anthony Douglas CBE, Cafcass
  • Dez Holmes, Research in Practice & Research in Practice for Adults
  • Brendan Clifford, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council    
  • Margaret Barrett, Principal Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2014
  • Nushra Mansuri, BASW



  • Wendy Hill, West Sussex County Council
  • Christine Bennett, Sheffield City Council
  • Rob Mitchell, Calderdale Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Bernadette Johansen, Calderdale Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Marion Russell, Cornwall Council