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

Leanne Baines, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Team Leader of the Year, Children's Services



The team Leanne leads, Stockport council's ASPIRE domestic abuse and sexual exploitation unit, is described on her nomination as the best of its kind in Greater Manchester and, arguably, in the country. Since taking the helm in 2015 she has played a huge part in setting those standards – starting with the challenging task of ironing out differences in approach between social workers and the police officers co-located with them.


Leanne's commitment to high-quality social work practice is evident from the esteem in which other professionals hold her. "Leanne’s approach is one of unconditional positive regard – it’s evident she seeks to truly understand families, and she manages difficult conversations, in difficult times, fantastically," said one colleague.


She also delivers training within the local authority and to GPs, foster carers, councillors and others, tailoring it to her audiences and drawing on cutting-edge research.


Despite the demands on her time, Leanne's team invariably mention her supportiveness and availability as a manager – "her phone is never switched off until she knows everybody has finished safely for the day" is a typical remark. Tellingly, her team has the lowest turnover rate within Stockport children's services, with no one having left in the past two years.


What was said about Leanne:


“Leanne delivers energetic, enthusiastic and cutting edge practice but holds her social work values as her badge of honour.” Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families


“Leanne appears not only to be a reflective practitioner who is driven to implement policy and practice changes within the organisation, but is not afraid to challenge so that the best outcomes are achieved.  Leanne has demonstrated that she will engage with services users who do not see her as professional but someone who will listen, support and protect them.” Liz Hewitt, Skylakes Social Work


“Leanne is a pleasure to work with and is respected universally by peers, close colleagues and partners alike. Her dedication, hard work and selfless efforts to achieve the very best for children and families is fundamental to the success of Stockport family services and Stockport LSCB.” Rebecca Key, Service Leader, Locality CSC and Aspire


“Leanne’s commitment to her work is evident and she has an energetic, enthusiastic ‘can do’ attitude to her work which is infectious to all those around her. She is inclusive, and always brimming with ideas to improve the offer for children and families, and to reach those who are difficult to engage.” Una Hagan, Performance and Development Manager, Safeguarding Unit



  • Carol Long, Young Epilepsy
  • Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children & Families
  • Liz Hewitt, Skylakes Social Work
  • Paul Ringer, Spurgeons



  • Clare Luby, Achieving for Children
  • Hannah Foxcroft, London Borough of Ealing
  • Leanne Baines, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Marcos Vicinanza, London Borough of Hillingdon - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Sarah Carter, Essex County Council
  • Sharon Turner, Essex County Council