The 2018 Social Worker of the Year awards took place in London on Friday 30th November. Entries for this year's awards open in April 2019. #SWA18

Anthony Douglas CBE

Outstanding Contribution



Anthony started out as a social worker 43 years ago, initially in the Rhondda Valley and then Hackney, and has dedicated his working life to social work ever since. Both his passion and resilience are part-fuelled by his experiences as an adopted child, which left him with a lifelong connection to many of the issues faced by the millions of vulnerable children and adults supported by social workers.


Anthony has written prolifically about social work for decades and more recently has produced four textbooks for social workers covering all aspects of frontline practice – child protection, mental health, adoption and partnership working. He is a visiting fellow of the University of East Anglia and Plymouth universities. In July this year, UEA awarded him an honorary law degree.


Since 2004, Anthony Douglas has been Chief Executive of Cafcass, the biggest national employer of social workers charged with articulating the voice of over 135,000 children annually in family courts throughout England. Ofsted rated Cafcass as outstanding in March this year. Ofsted called him an ‘exceptional, inspirational leader’.


Anthony has worked at every level in social care and chaired UK-wide policy organisation BAAF for ten years between 2006 and 2016. Throughout his career he has made significant contributions to changes in the law and regulations governing social work and has mentored many current senior social work leaders.


Anthony has raised significant funds for charity in many tough challenges. He is currently developing Voice of the Child standards for public services, including for social work, which he hopes will have an international reach and be formally accredited.


Anthony represents the best traditions of public service and public sector leadership. His contribution to the work of the family justice system and the welfare of children and vulnerable adults in England is truly outstanding.”


What was said about Anthony:


Joanna Nicolas, Independent Child Protection Consultant – “Anthony Douglas is an extraordinary man who is 100% committed to improving children’s lives and is a great advocate for the social work profession. He has been committed to the Social Worker of the Year charity since its inception because he is such a great supporter of social workers. Although he is the CEO of Cafcass, the largest employer of social workers in Europe, which has recently been judged as outstanding by Ofsted, he makes time to contribute to so many other worthwhile causes. The profession is lucky to have him and there is no one more deserving of this award.”


Ana Popovici, Deputy Director of Children’s Services London Borough of Hillingdon: “What Anthony does best is relationship- based leadership. Resilient, with a relentless passion for making a difference, Anthony has positively touched so many lives throughout his career. A 'forever' social worker, with a heart of gold he has inspired and instilled that passion in many of us, aspiring leaders of today. Thank you Anthony for your contribution to our journey, to my journey.”


Beverley Williams MBE, Founder, Social Work Awards – “Anthony has always been supportive of the Social Worker of the Year Awards since its infancy in 2006. He was always there for advice and took part in the events in the early days. Anthony is an awesome person/professional and I thank him for sharing my vision and still supporting the awards years later. Thank you!”


This winner of this award was decided by the Board of Trustees: 

  • Peter Hay CBE, Chair, Social Work Awards Ltd
  • James Rook, Managing Director, Sanctuary Social Care
  • Beverley Williams MBE, Founder, Social Work Awards
  • Joanna Nicolas, Independent Child Protection Consultant and Author
  • Ana Popovici, Deputy Director Children's Services, London Borough of Hillingdon
  • Rob Mitchell, Principal Social Worker, Bradford Metropolitan District Council