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

Statement regarding Social Workers Without Borders


Since Social Workers Without Borders (SWWB) informed us that they would be withdrawing their nomination in early October, we have been in constructive dialogue with them.


The overarching purpose of the awards is to celebrate the achievements of social workers, promote social work and incentivise individuals and teams in the social work profession to achieve excellence. The entry from SWWB was reviewed by the judges in September, and the decision that they should win their category was unanimous.  In line with our charitable purpose, we strongly believe that they rightly and fairly deserve to be recognised for the amazing work that they do in the social work sector.


It was our understanding that SWWB wanted to hold to the position of withdrawing from attending the ceremony but remaining as shortlisted. We publish the criteria we use for judging and we felt that to overturn the judges’ decision in the light of SWWB’s principled objection to attending would be inconsistent with our aims.


Just as we have repeatedly made clear that the awards are determined by criteria and not by sponsorship, neither should there be any sense of the award criteria being altered because of any other circumstance.  We knew in sticking to the criteria that it would bring further debate about the sponsorship of the awards, a debate we welcome as shown by our commitment to the values review. We also welcome applications from diverse viewpoints as part of our forthcoming Trustee recruitment process.


We are very sorry that we created an event that SWWB felt they could not attend, although we fully respect their decision. We have also invited SWWB to help us review our values so that we learn from this experience.


SWWB were sent a letter detailing our reasons for giving them the award, despite them not attending the ceremony, on Friday evening shortly after the award had been announced.