The winners of the 2017 Social Worker of the Year Awards were revealed at a glittering awards ceremony in London on the 24th November. Entries for next year's awards will open in March 2018.

Louise Walker, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

Raising the Profile of Social Work

 

 

With 25 years' experience in a range of roles across adults' and children's services at Redcar and Cleveland council, Louise has brought a rounded, inclusive and perceptive approach to her role as principal social worker at the authority.

 

A highlight of her tenure, which only began in February 2017, was an event that Louise led to celebrate World Social Work Day, featuring input from a diverse group of service users. These included a young adult with autism who was given the confidence to start work, a man with early onset dementia whose social worker had helped him come to terms with losing his independence, and two young women who had spent time in care and discussed the importance of being listened to. Attendees said they felt proud and motivated by the day, as well as commenting on how good it was to hear children's and adults' experiences being discussed within the same forum.

 

Louise's other achievements so far have included raising the profile of social work within the council's political framework and providing a space for frontline staff to air their issues with a view to improving working conditions.

 

The judging panel described her as an "exceptionally strong" candidate.

 

What was said about Louise:

 

“Very strong evidence of user partnership engagement in raising the profile of social work as well as raising improvement standards. A key element of raising the profile of social work has got to be with users of services and members of the public.” Maris Stratulis, England Manager, BASW

 

“Louise’s nomination was exceptionally strong. There was demonstrable evidence of raising the profile of social work and social workers were valued (and felt valued) as a result of her work.” Rob Mitchell, Principal Social Worker, Bradford Metropolitan District Council

 

“Louise actively promotes the role of the social worker and the contribution social work brings not only to social care but to the wider Council agenda. For example, Louise has promoted the work that we are doing with our council services to put social work as a key part of our asset based, community capacity building work.” Patrick Rice, Interim Corporate Director for Adults and Communities, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

 

“Louise is doing an excellent job of promoting social work and ensuring we feel valued as a profession.” Sharon, Team Manager, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

 

Judges: 

  • Mandy Barker, Hertfordshire County Council
  • Dez Holmes, Research in Practice
  • Hugh McLaughlin, Social Work Education: The International Journal
  • Maris Stratulis, BASW
  • Rob Mitchell, Trustee
  • Sherry Malik, NSPCC

 

Finalists:

  • Essex Social Care Academy
  • Louise Walker, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Sarah Parsons, Cafcass - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Seanna Lassetter, Birmingham City Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER