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

Mandy Nightingale, Essex County Council

Principal Social Worker of the Year


Mandy has developed her role on three fronts over the last year: within Essex County Council as principal children and families social worker (PCFSW), via her continued direct management of Essex Social Care Academy (ESCA), and nationally through the PCFSW network, for which she took on the role of chair in July 2015.


That’s perhaps appropriate for someone who one colleague has described as being “like an onion” – having so many layers that she defies easy description. While she’s a demanding and direct operator, Mandy’s care and compassion for people shines through.


Under Mandy’s leadership the PCFSW network has grown from an embryonic state to a powerful voice within social work. She has worked closely with the Department for Education and other key agencies to influence policy and practice and has also played an active role in consultations and steering groups, being unafraid to challenge as well as collaborate.


Locally Mandy has worked hard to keep engaged with practitioners at the sharp end, and to make sure that Essex’s social care academy delivers training opportunities to drive her service forward. Tellingly, more than one member of her team within the academy describe her as the best manager they’ve had.


What was said about Mandy:


“Mandy goes over and above what is expected from her – both locally and nationally. She is a real ‘tour de force’.” Mark Harvey, Principal Social Worker at Hertfordshire County Council: 


“Mandy’s leadership of the Principal Children and Family Social Worker Network has been instrumental in raising its profile and strengthening its voice. Her forward-thinking and collaborative style has been vital to how the network works with the DfE and her sharp, professional insight has been highly valued by me personally on many, many occasions.”  Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families


“Mandy has been exceptional in her role as the Principal Social Worker and has worked tirelessly to ensure that the voice of the social worker on the ground and at senior levels locally and nationally has been represented.” Sukriti Sen, Director of Local Delivery, Essex County Council


“I feel very lucky to have worked with Mandy and have learnt a great deal from her vision, motivation, structure and support given. In my opinion, she is the best manager I have ever worked for.” Melanie Anderson, Senior Social Care Workforce Officer, Essex County Council



  • Anthony Douglas CBE, Cafcass
  • Jill Manthorpe, Social Care Workforce Research Unit  
  • Mark Harvey, Hertfordshire County Council
  • Michael Mellors, NICE



  • Clive Diaz, Gloucestershire County Council 
  • Mandy Nightingale, Essex County Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Tom Stibbs, Brighton & Hove City Council SILVER AWARD WINNER