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

Dee Belford, Birmingham City Council

Mental Health Social Worker of the Year


People who know Dee professionally come back again and again to the way she puts service users’ needs at the centre of her practice, often succeeding as a result in achieving positive change where other professionals may have struggled. Judges commented on her special ability of “being able to stand by the side of a service user without appearing ‘with power’”.


At times this means confidently challenging fellow practitioners’ actions or interpretations of situations. Dee has been able to do so by virtue of her excellent knowledge of the law, finely tuned cultural awareness and willingness to go the extra mile in order to ascertain important details that others miss.


Dee’s route into social work came via roles in a number of other settings such as women’s refuges, offender rehabilitation and an NHS multi-disciplinary community mental health team. The latter helped hone her keen awareness of the links between socio-economic factors and people’s mental wellbeing.


Her work as part of Birmingham’s dedicated citywide AMHP team has been boosted by her ability to operate autonomously with little supervision. Colleagues praise the relaxed, calm approach that enables her both to engage with clients and to help soothe their families’ anxieties.


What was said about Dee:

“Dee is someone who comes with a history and background of helping people. She's made a good link between socio-economic factors and mental health and it’s clear that both the journey and outcomes are important to her.” Gavin Moorghen, Professional Officer, BASW


“I liked her story into social work and the way she is described as an advocate for the people she works with. It's clear she's having quite an impact on the area she works in.” Helen Pye, Overall Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2015


Throughout my involvement with her, Ms Belford has been a highly professional AMHP.  Her communication skills have been excellent with both patients and professionals. Ms Belford has excellent assessment skills based on her wealth of knowledge and it has been a pleasure and beneficial working with her.” Dr Al-Gommer, Consultant Psychiatrist


“I have always found Dee to be a dedicated and thoughtful member of Teams/Services.  She has always gone the extra mile to ensure the best possible outcome and least restrictive intervention for her service users.  She is a thoughtful and reflective practitioner.” Bridget Sullivan-Blakeney, Team Manager, Citywide AMHP Service



  • Brendan Clifford, Capacity4Care
  • Gavin Moorghen, BASW
  • Helen Pye, Overal Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2015  
  • Jenny Molloy, BASW



  • Dee Belford, Birmingham City Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Joy Rickard, Hertfordshire Partnersip University NHS Foundation Trust - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Kate Elsdon, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Northumberland County Council