Central Beds Council social workers win in national awards
Central Beds Council has scooped two top prizes in the national Social Worker of the Year Awards.
Central Beds’ children’s services department was named best social work employer of the year, while senior practitioner Jason Sedgman picked up the silver award in the children’s social worker of the year category.
The Chicksands-based council’s children’s services department saw off three other shortlisted local authorities to win the social work employer category.
Central Beds director of children’s services Sue Harrison said: “It’s amazing to win this award. I’m so proud of our team and all our social workers that make such a positive difference to our children in Central Bedfordshire.”
Naming Central Beds the winner. the judges cited its commitment to learning and development, clear leadership and focus on improving practice standards.
Judges praised the work done to ensure social workers have manageable caseloads, good supervision and support, with access to learning opportunities and an assessed and supported year in employment programme for newly-qualified children’s social workers.
Central Beds says its vacancy rate for social workers has gone down by two-thirds in three years, adding that it has a staff turnover of less than 10 per cent annually.
Sue said: “I am delighted that the judges recognised the hard work which has been taking place to help us recruit and retain quality staff, and create an environment where our children’s social workers can really thrive.
“To win an award like this requires a whole-team effort and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part. We embarked upon some bold changes, such as involving members of the Children in Care Council in the social work recruitment process, significantly restructuring teams and also the way we work by getting partners involved.
“These changes allow front-line staff to spend more time helping children and families in need and develop their skills and training to do an even better job.
“While it’s great to receive recognition for what we do, we won’t stand still and will continue to work hard to do the best job for those who need our help.”
Sue also paid tribute to Jason, saying: “His dedication to the children and families he supports was praised by the judges as an example to all.”