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

Nicky Skinner, Devon County Council

Team Leader of the Year, Adult Services



Nicky's career as a social worker, now spanning almost three decades, has seen her consistently strive to break down barriers between health and social care, in the process earning respect from colleagues across a range of disciplines.


The endorsements on her nomination return time and again to her skill, commitment and person-centred focus when handling complex cases, whether navigating difficult family dynamics or standing up to hostile questioning in the High Court. "Nicky has a consistent calm demeanour and provides a stable link between health and social care, ensuring the best possible care is provided for the individual," said one community nurse team manager.


Her team members similarly highlight that calmness under pressure, as well as Nicky's good humour, wisdom and ability to empower and support staff, when discussing the qualities that make her shine as a manager. But her leadership is also evident from her ability to handle tightening budgets – she was the first team manager in Devon to meet her financial savings targets in 2016-17. At the same time, she has enthused her team and explored ways in which strengths-based approaches and non-statutory services can be used to support people.


What was said about Nicky:


“Evidence and endorsements verify that Nicky is a great team leader who balances practice quality, managing volume and supporting her team to take a good practice approach to risk assessment and management.” Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults


“A great manager who balances management skills with best practice social work.” Mark Harvey, Co-Chair, PSW Network


“Nicky approaches any issues or problems calmly and this helps the whole team during stressful times and when dealing with complex cases. I have watched her be very gentle and understanding with both the people in need and carers, but always ensuring she gets the right course of action and decisions for the person.” Shiobhan Pickering, Community Matron for Dementia, Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust


“Nicky has trusted me to be able to be the social worker I want to be and to be competent enough to do this. I am very grateful for the opportunities that Nicky has provided and feel prepared and look forward to my future as a social worker”. Newly Qualified Social Worker



  • Cath Gormally, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Gerry Nosowska, BASW
  • Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults
  • Margaret Willcox, ADASS President
  • Mark Harvey, Hertfordshire County Council
  • Simon Williams, Local Government Association



  • Elizabeth Thorpe, Calderdale Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Jill Hughes, Worcestershire County Council
  • Melanie Wilson, Livewell South West
  • Nicky Skinner, Devon County Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER