North Yorkshire recognised in national awards for social care

North Yorkshire’s Children and Young People’s Service is celebrating after being shortlisted in the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2019.

Tiffany Cook

The awards ceremony is the leading event of its kind in the social care sector and recognises the achievements and the dedication of those in the profession.

North Yorkshire’s service has been announced as a finalist in the Social Work Employer of the Year category, and Tiffany Cook has been shortlisted as Children’s Social Worker of the Year. 

The awards ceremony will be held in London in November.

North Yorkshire is recognised as a leader of social work practice nationally. Last year the County Council was the first local authority to receive “Outstanding” across the board in the Ofsted ILACS inspection. The Chief Social Worker for England, Isabelle Trowler, said: “Determination, ethical and effective practice, high ambition for change, energy and wisdom, from practitioners to senior leaders, has led to this result.”

A recent Department of Education release highlighted that as of September last year, it is one of only five local authorities not to have any agency social workers. Martin Kelly, Assistant Director of Children and Families Service, said: “We recognise that our ambition for improvement cannot be achieved without dedication to training and learning to allow our social workers to grow and develop into both outstanding social workers and social work leaders. 

“We are extremely committed to keeping families together wherever it is safe to do so. North Yorkshire has one of the smallest numbers of looked after children nationally, achieved by highly skilled and passionate workers such as Tiffany, who strives to build trust using strengths based relationships.” 

Earlier this month North Yorkshire was revealed as one of just three councils in the country to share £84 million in the Strengthening Families Protecting Children programme, helping young people on the edge of care to reconnect with their families. Its ground-breaking No Wrong Door programme has helped to reduce the county’s looked-after population by 18 per cent in five years and has led to a £2 million year-on-year saving.

Social worker Tiffany Cook has been shortlisted in the Children’s Social Worker of the Year category. Having being qualified to practice for three years, she joined the County Council as a student, undertaking her final placement with the Harrogate Town safeguarding team, before joining the Ripon and Rural safeguarding team upon qualification. 

North Yorkshire has an experienced workforce with over 50 per cent of social workers in the county having been qualified for two or more years. 

“My team cover a diverse geographical patch, which makes for a diverse caseload, including issues caused by mental health problems, substance misuse and poverty,” said Tiffany. 

“My work encompasses the initial assessment of the needs of a family through to complex child protection cases and care proceedings. I deal with warning signs around very sensitive issues such as grooming and exploitation, not only supporting families through an immediate period of stress or crisis, but in the longer-term to ensure they become self-sustaining. 

“For as long as I can remember I’ve had an incredible passion for social work and a desire to improve my practice. I strive to build and maintain trusted relationships with families, often in very challenging circumstances.” 

Team manager Adele Herdsman said: “Tiffany’s incredible dedication and bravery is an inspiration to others in the team, and she is incredibly popular in the locality, with a character to match her professional abilities.” 

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service, said: “Last year’s Ofsted report showed that our social workers have manageable caseloads, with 97 per cent saying they would recommend North Yorkshire as a good place to pursue the profession. The number of social workers has increased substantially to ensure increased demand in some areas is addressed and high quality of practice for families is maintained.

“We are incredibly proud to have been chosen as finalists in these national awards which showcase the Council as a brilliant employer for those wanting to succeed in the profession. I would also like to congratulate Tiffany, who is a great example of somebody who has an incredible passion for her job and a desire to improve.”

This story was published 28 October 2019