Wakefield Council wins double at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards
Published 2 months ago
CSWM news

The council received a silver in the Supportive Social Work Employer Award, which recognises an organisation that is supportive, provides excellent leadership and champions its social work staff.

Practice Educator of the Year, gold award, went to Carolyn Smith.

The silver award comes after three challenging years for Wakefield Council’s Children’s Services. In July 2018, Ofsted judged it to be ‘inadequate’ in every judgement area.

During the subsequent three years it's been transformed, leading to a ‘good’ judgement with ‘outstanding’ leadership, when Ofsted fully re-inspected in November 2021.

This is believed to be one of the fastest improvements of a council maintained children’s services in the country.

In 2021, 91% of social workers described Wakefield Council as a learning organisation and 93% would recommend it as a place to work, 85% of its social workers are permanent staff, 1% above the national average, and 90% of final year students chose to continue working at the Council as full-time employees.

Coun Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “I hope everyone will join me in congratulating our team for this win and for the incredible work they do in taking care of the most vulnerable children in the district.

“In Wakefield we firmly believe that our social workers make the difference to children and young people, and that we make the difference to them.”

Carolyn Smith won Practice Educator of the Year. She was recognised for her remarkable achievements in supporting Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs).

As the advanced practitioner and student lead for the Assessed & Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme, that is specially tailored to help NQSWs develop their skills, knowledge, and capability, she has gone above and beyond what is expected of her.

Carolyn has provided additional support including job application and interview preparation for final placement students, so they can achieve the best possible start to their career.

She has received praise from students for taking care of their emotional wellbeing, creating the best learning environment and working collaboratively, to make sure that what is being offered would be of benefit to them and what they want.