The shortlist for the 2018 Social Worker of the Year Awards has been announced and the winners will be revealed at an exclusive ceremony in November. #SWA18

Andy Butler, Surrey County Council

Lifetime Achievement



Andy stood out to the judges as a social worker who has never lost touch with the frontline.


His career started at age 18, when he started work as a community service volunteer, before later moving to Wandsworth and taking up the role of residential social worker for children.


After qualifying in 1980, Andy led the development of one of the early ‘patch-based’ social work teams, and worked part-time for a church developing a variety of community groups.


For the past 27 years Andy has worked for Surrey council, where he is currently the principal social worker for adults’ services. He has been truly inspired by the Mental Capacity Act, and trains and lectures at universities and conferences on this subject, as well as regularly advising colleagues on the most complex socio-legal cases. Alongside his professional career, he has volunteered as a local magistrate for nearly 30 years, sitting in criminal and family courts.


Andy’s colleagues said he “absolutely lives” the core principles of what a good social worker should be, and his strong commitment to supporting the rights of individuals and his promotion of equality and justice have made him the “go to” person for professional advice at the council. 


What was said about Andy:


“His subject expertise and commitment to high standards of practice means he has been able to be a key influencer at both local and national levels.” Judy Cooper, Editor, Community Care


“Andy started out as a community service volunteer and kept that ethos throughout his career spanning 43 years. He’s also been able to shape and influence change and motivate others.” Bianka Lang, Overall Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2016


“Andy is key to Surrey County Councils work in Adult Social Care as well as a much wider audience, and is always willing to provide advice, support, and his expert knowledge on a range of issues. I recognise Andy as a person who is able to shape and influence change, as well as inspire and motivate others.” Helen Atkinson,Strategic Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health, Surrey County Council


“When Andy speaks in a meeting we all listen carefully because we know it will be a high value contribution. His written advice on complex situations is second to none. His most important qualities, however, are complete integrity, a fundamental belief in protecting citizens' rights, and an innate sense of justice and fairness.” Jim Lewidge, Independent consultant and advisor to ADASS on CHC



  • Andrew Ellery, AE Social Care and Education Ltd
  • Bianka Lang, Overall Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2016
  • Judy Cooper, Community Care
  • Mandy Nightingale, Principal Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2016
  • Richard Ashdown, London Borough of Redbridge
  • Sarah Read O’Toole, Skylakes



  • Andy Butler, Surrey County Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Duart Peacock, Hampshire County Council
  • Mark Trewin, Bradford Metropolitan District Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Shelagh Butler, Cafcass