A children’s social work enterprise jointly owned by Richmond and Kingston councils scooped a national award last month.
Achieving for Children won the accolade of national Social Work Employer of the Year at the Social Worker of the Year awards ceremony on Friday, November 25.
They faced competition from national and regional agencies but their progressive work since they launched in April 2014 was enough to win them the award.
The company was awarded for the work they do to recruit, support and retain social workers.
Chief executive Nick Whitfield said: “We’re delighted to be recognised by our peers as Employer of the Year.
“We pride ourselves on working tirelessly to give children the best possible start in life.
“It’s crucial that our fantastic social workers are able to access high quality training, development and supervision, and this award shows that we have listened to our staff and given them the support they need.”
The accolade is particularly relevant as numbers of children in care in the UK continue to rise – having increased steadily over the last eight years, according to a 2016 report by the Department for Education.
Paul Hodgins, Richmond Council cabinet member for children’s services and schools, said: “This is fantastic recognition of the outstanding support Achieving for Children offers social workers in both Richmond and Kingston.
“Social work is a very demanding job. Therefore support for staff is essential.
“The award recognises the quality services provided by Achieving for Children, delivering excellent results for children and families.”
Nearly a fifth of all children’s social worker jobs were vacant in 2015, according to statistics from the Department for Education.
Achieving for Children’s work was recognised as being successful in encouraging innovation and empowering their staff, building a strong team spirit, investing in staff development, and delivering best practice in recruitment and stabilising the workforce.
The judging panel, made up of leading figures in the social care industry, said: “There is a clear unity and sense of leadership which really understand who they are and what they want to achieve.”
The awards ceremony is supported by the government and is one of the leading events in the social care industry.
The evening celebrates the most innovative and dedicated social workers in the sector and recognises their hard-earned achievements and successes.
For more information visit www.achievingforchildren.org.uk