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Once again, the Lancaster Hotel in central London opened its doors to over 350 social work professionals to celebrate the work of 62 finalists and 16 winners at the Social Worker of the Year Awards on Friday 25 November.




Aptly described as “tremendous role models”, practitioners and practice educators across a variety of children’s and adult services categories were recognised for their efforts. This also included prizes for Social Worker of the Year, Team of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and Outstanding Contribution to Social Work. 

As sponsors of the ‘Overall Social Worker of the Year’ category, we were delighted to hand Bianka Lang from Essex County Council her award following her Team Leader of the Year (Children’s Services) win earlier in the evening.

Whilst all the awards are well-deserved, the Overall Social Worker of the Year is selected from the gold winners for each category by the Board of Trustees of the Social Work Awards Ltd (the registered charity behind the event).  

Speaking of Bianka’s award win, James Rook, Managing Director of Sanctuary Social Care, said:

“I am delighted to see Bianka recognised for her exceptional leadership and commitment to ensuring the success of her team by creating a calm and positive work atmosphere within a challenging environment. It’s a very difficult balance to achieve and one that deserves national recognition.”

He added, “The Social Worker of the Year Awards are growing each year and I couldn’t think of a more deserving profession to receive such positive recognition. All the finalists and winners should be immensely proud of themselves.”

The 2016 award winners are:

  • Children’s Social Worker of the Year - Emily Tiplady-Ead, Suffolk County Council
  • Adult Social Worker of the Year - Heather Kent, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (in partnership with Northumberland County Council)
  • Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year - Benn Vaughan, Cumbria County Council
  • Newly Qualified Adult Social Worker of the Year - Jamie McEwan, Birmingham City Council
  • Practice Educator of the Year - Daniel Hope, Cafcass
  • Student Social Worker of the Year - Odi Oquosa, University of Sussex
  • Principal Social Worker of the Year - Mandy Nightingale, Essex County Council
  • Mental Health Social Worker of the Year - Dee Belford, Birmingham City Council
  • Team of the Year, Children’s Services - Children in Need Team – Winsford and Northwich, Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Team of the Year, Adult Services - Daytime AMHP Team, Devon County Council
  • Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services - Bianka Lang, Essex County Council
  • Team Leader of the Year, Adult Services - Kirsty McLeod, Calderdale Council
  • Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice - Yasmin Ishaq, Kent County Council
  • Best Social Work Employer of the Year - Achieving for Children
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Suzy Croft, St John’s Hospice
  • Outstanding Contribution to Social Work - June Thoburn
  • Overall Social Worker of the Year - Bianka Lang, Essex County Council
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