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

Appointment of new board members announced


The charity which runs the Social Worker of the Year Awards has announced several new major board appointments as it looks to take forward its valuable work in recognising the magnificent contribution of social workers and social work in England.


The first notable appointment is Peter Hay CBE, former Strategic Director of People at Birmingham City Council who will take on the role of chair of the board of trustees. Peter succeeds Professor Ray Jones, who has held the position since 2013.


Peter brings a wealth of experience from a social work career which spans over 30 years. Amongst his many achievements, he has been instrumental in improving children’s and adults social care services in Birmingham and has led on engagement for shaping local care services for the Department of Health. Peter has also been President of the Association of Directors for Adult Social Care (ADASS) and is a long-standing Board member for the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).


Commenting on his appointment, Peter said: “I am delighted to give my support to the Social Worker of the Year Awards. For me, this is not just about the lives of other people. Social care has been part of my own life and four generations of my family who have been supported with needs arising from mental illness, disability and now older age. I have always been clear about the potential that social work has to change lives and I am passionate about rewarding great social workers and building the standing of the profession.”


Peter Hay will also be joined by four new board members: Joanna Nicolas, Ana Popovici, Rob Mitchell and Jenni Randal who will join current trustees Beverley Williams MBE (awards founder), James Rook (Managing Director, Sanctuary Social Care) and Ruth Smith (Publisher, Community Care).


Joanna Nicolas has over 22 years’ experience working in social care, spending the last 9 years as a child protection consultant, trainer, author and expert witness to the court. Included in her current roles, Joanna sits on the board and quality committee of Cafcass and is the safeguarding adviser to Home-Start UK. Prior to this, she worked for different London boroughs and local authorities as a child protection social worker, specialising in the most complex child abuse cases and care proceedings. She is a regular contributor to the national debate on issues around child protection, social work and safeguarding. Joanna always worked on the front line.


Also joining the Board of Trustees is Ana Popovici, Deputy Director of Children's Services at the London Borough of Hillingdon. Ana was previously Assistant Director at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), where she ran services throughout England at different times and carried a strategic and corporate portfolio including the responsibility for the independent social work services to Cafcass. Ana is passionate about social work and has a special interest in how services can be modernised to support today’s generation of vulnerable people.


Two previous recipients of Social Worker of the Year Awards have also been appointed. Jenni Randall won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 in recognition of her impressive social work career, in particular with Looked After Children, which has spanned almost five decades across local authorities in Essex, London, Norfolk and Northamptonshire. Since 2012 Jenni has been an independent social worker in Cornwall and remains an active member of many organisations including the Child Care History Network and BASW, of which she is an England Ambassador. Jenni is also a qualified counsellor and blogs as ‘The Vintage Social Worker’.


The final appointment is Rob Mitchell, who was named Principal Social Worker of the Year in 2015. Rob qualified as a social worker in 1998 and has worked across a range of adult social work settings, including as a hospital social worker, community social worker for older people & adults with physical disabilities and as an approved mental health practitioner (AMHP). Rob has also worked in management positions as a Team Leader and Team Manager and is currently Principal Social Worker at the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. He is Co-Chair of the PSW National Network.


Ray Jones, current Chair of the Charity, said: “Being involved in the awards over the past three years has been an absolute joy and pleasure and I cannot think of anyone better to hand the reigns over to than Peter. He is widely respected in the social work community as someone with great integrity and commitment and is passionate about recognising outstanding social work. All of our new trustees are excellent role models within the profession and I have no doubt that together they will achieve great success.”

Established in 2006, the Social Worker of the Year Awards have grown year-on-year with over 18 sponsored award categories and more than 400 attending the awards’ dinner and presentation evening in November. A parliamentary reception for award winners is also held in the spring.


The Social Worker of the Year Awards 2017 will take place on Friday 24th November in London. Entries are still being accepted until 5.00pm on Friday 21st July – click here to download an entry form.