The 2018 Social Worker of the Year awards took place in London on Friday 30th November. Entries for this year's awards open on Wednesday 3rd April. #SWA19

Benn Vaughan, Cumbria County Council

Newly Qualified Children's Social Worker of the Year



Benn is quick to acknowledge his transition into statutory children’s services, following a post-bachelor’s degree stint working mostly in adult social care, has involved a “steep learning curve”. But it’s the way he’s got to grips with the challenges he’s faced, as well as his keenness to take on extra ones, that made him stand out in this category.


While it may be a well-used accolade, several of the judging panel couldn’t resist pointing to the “passion” for social work that shone from Benn’s nomination, as well as his obvious development during his first year.


Besides managing a range of complex cases, he’s been promoting resilience workshops for other NQSWs and other colleagues, with an eye on mitigating burnout and skill-sharing – hopefully helping fellow social workers find ways to enjoy longer careers in the profession.


Despite his relative lack of experience Benn has shown an aptitude for leadership, taking on the role of champion both for homeless 16–17 year olds and for the team’s electronic database, ICS. He has already found himself able to offer support and guidance both to student social workers and to more experienced practitioners who have moved into child protection from other areas.


What was said about Benn:

'There is a real sense from the application that Benn will go on developing as a practitioner and aiding others to be the very best social workers they can be. I can't wait to see where his career takes him, I am sure we will be hearing about Benn in the future.” Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families


What shines through is a real passion for social work and a commitment to children and families.” Annie Hudson, Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services, Lambeth Council


I don't know of all of what he does or has achieved but Benn has helped me turn my life around and I can't thank him enough. I have a future again.” Service user



  • Anne Longfield CBE, Children's Commisioner for England
  • Annie Hudson, Lambeth Council
  • Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Shadow Minister for Children & Families
  • Sarah Read O'Toole, Skylakes Social Work
  • Stephanie Mills, Newly Qualified Children's Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2015
  • Tonia Dubidat, Student Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2015



  • Benn Vaughan, Cumbria County Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Connie Hazell, Essex County Council
  • Francesca Rye, Norfolk County Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Joanne Sailsman, Wolverhampton City Council
  • Jakki Cahill, Brighton & Hove City Council
  • Nicholas Jeffreys, Coventry City Council
  • Sarah Kelley, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council