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Honouring hard work and humility

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New Year Honours 2016 – nominations close 9 March

One of the privileges afforded the role of Chief Social Worker for Adults is the opportunity to meet with and learn from the many inspirational individuals working hard within and beyond the realms of social work. From the newly qualified social workers and the dedicated educators who taught them, to people working in the private, voluntary and independent sector, including founders of innovative social enterprises putting care back into the community. I am constantly in awe of the dedication and sheer humanity of those who seek to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others.

I recently met with social workers who achieved recognition through the Social Worker of the Year Awards at a parliamentary reception held in their honour. I was reminded that people in the social work and social care sector are a humble lot. They don’t really want to have a fuss made about the vital work they undertake to improve the lives of individuals, children, families and communities.

However, it was also clear to me that formal, national recognition and support for the work they do is important, not least to underline how much the people they work with value the difference they can make in their lives.

And I can’t be the only one. I’m sure my opposite number, Isabelle Trowler, the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families and my colleagues in the College of Social Work and the British Association of Social Work are likewise inspired by the people and organisations they encounter across the social care sector. The New Year Honours list 2016 is the perfect way to celebrate them.

With only a few days left to nominate, there is still time to turn inspiration into lasting recognition. We all know someone who goes above and beyond the remit of their day job to help those in need, even in the knowledge they probably won’t be getting overtime! How those working to support people to have better lives should be properly remunerated is perhaps a topic for a future blog, but for now let’s at least celebrate and recognise their commitment in a very visible and prestigious way.

As ever, there remains a need to adequately reflect the huge contribution made by women and those from black and ethnic minorities. This is particularly relevant in the social care sector where women make up the majority of the workforce and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are well represented.  In social work and social care, our values of equality, inclusivity and respect, not to mention our presence in – and understanding of – community, mean we are well placed to highlight those whom we would want to recognise. There are heroes to be found in all walks of life and we are lucky to meet them every day.

Full submission guidance, including the official nomination form, can be found here, but if you have any queries, the DH Honours Team will be more than happy to help. Surbjit Virk (tel no. 020 7210 5937, Helen Bartlett (tel no. 020 7210 5936), Grace Greechan (tel no. 020 7210 5935) or Deborah McCrory (tel no. 020 7210 6056) are all available to help. Alternatively, drop the team an email at

Please give it some thought and nominate those individuals you feel deserve to know how valued and respected they are by this nation and their peers. In our profession I believe we’re spoilt for choice, but that’s a nice problem to have – and to solve!

Nomination forms must be completed by 9 March 2015.

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