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SASW Social Work Awards 2016

2016 will go down in history as a year which brought about unprecedented change to the world as we know it.

We witnessed huge displacement of whole continents as people fled war, terrorism and hunger, often risking their lives and those of their children and families. There were more unaccompanied asylum seeking children, and also more exploited and trafficked people. Historical abuse featured in various ways, more disclosures, but also more tragic delays and problems in the processes set up to listen, learn, and deal with matters in a respectful manner in order to find closure. Bob Holman passed away. David Bowie died. Jo Cox MP was murdered. Xenophobia reached new heights. The Referendum leading to Brexit showed clear divisions within UK countries and means further uncertainty. The Presidential election in the USA was won by Mr Trump.

Social work in Scotland as a profession saw increased challenges: the very tragic death of a toddler and a court case which raised many questions, issues in mental health social work, substituted versus supported decision making, the redesign of criminal justice, community justice, Joint Integration Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships, the Named Person, consultations on much proposed policy and legislation in all areas. Reviews of Child Protection Systems, and a Review of Looked After Children. There was concern about agile working, hot desking, displacement of social workers who have lost their team support, management by NHS staff, increased caseloads and more assessing and reporting, instead of being able to form the relationships that we know can make the difference.

Yet: there was also so much positive in the face of such adversity. We met with social workers, academics and users of services in February to talk about parents taking control, in partnership with social work. At our SASW Awards 2015, held on World Social Work Day 2016, we heard so much evidence of a strong and proud profession. At Pride in Practice, arranged by social workers and supported by SASW and others, social workers presented on lots of good developments and celebrated work. SASW went around the country in SASW Sessions, and we heard of much great work, as well as the matters which could be better.

So, this year we want to focus on the theme the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) has for World Social Work Day 2017:

Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability

We want the applications for our Awards to reflect how the people you nominate have made a real impact:

  • In the community they work in: have they made Integration a real seamless process? Is there evidence of involving local people in a constructive way? Have they facilitated how someone has been supported? Have they spoken up or advocated for someone, and in doing so, helped someone to lead a better life? Have they made a difference in their team? Have they protected someone, or the community from harm?
  • Has their work informed lasting change, a difference in the practice or work environment, or in the conditions people live in? Will what they do or did act as a template for other professionals? Will it put Social Work as a distinct profession in the limelight, and evidence how unique our profession is, and support its continuity? Will social work in an environment of integration and budget cuts go the distance?

“It takes a village to raise a child”.  It takes social workers to support that child and its family when they may not be able to do so themselves. We need social workers to speak up for people who may need to be away from their community for their own or for its protection, also to support the return. There may be elderly people who need services so they can remain part of the area and the people they know and love. You may know social workers who have been instrumental with users and other service providers in a new community initiative, a drop in, playgroup, and a way of introducing new people. There could be things happening that embrace equality and diversity, and take away fear of the unknown.

“Social” workers (the clue is in the title) are an essential part of “society”- a proud profession that consistently works for social justice, and for improvement that will be sustained. It is now more important than ever.


We want you to nominate a colleague, a person you admire, someone who stands out, a team that goes beyond and that has real and measurable results. We are also considering what are essential contributions to becoming great social workers, a student with great promise, and the lecturers and practice teachers who all help maintain our great profession

We have four individual and one team award being honoured at our SASW Social Work Awards 2016 as follows:

SW of year, Student SW of year, SW PT and Lecturer, Team of Year. Each nomination requires 3 people to support it. For further details please go to: