Frontline launches children’s social work awards scheme

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Frontline has launched a social work awards scheme for practice with children and families in England.

The provider of fast-track qualifying and leadership training for children’s social workers has opened nominations for its inaugural awards, which will run February 2023, with the shortlist revealed in April and the gongs handed out at a ceremony next May.

The awards are designed to mark Frontline’s 10th anniversary, and complement existing schemes, such as the Social Worker of the Year Awards. Frontline deliberately timed the launch after this year’s Social Worker of the Year Awards ceremony, earlier this month, and scheduled its own event at a different time of year.

Unlike the Social Worker of the Year Awards, the Frontline scheme will be solely for children’s social work, while it will also have more of a specific focus on statutory practice than its counterpart, for which entries can come from any part of the profession.

Of the award’s six categories, two – the leadership and practice awards – are reserved for children’s social workers working in an English local authority or children’s trust, while a third – the team award – must include one such practitioner.

A fourth, the fellowship award, is for those who have been through any of Frontline’s programmes, which are focused on local authority practice, although some such practitioners will have moved outside the statutory sector since completing their training. This award is also focused on anti-racism in social work.

A fifth, the innovation award, is for any registered social worker, whether in practice or not, who has developed an idea to improve services for children and families, while the Frontline scheme also has an award for young people with experience of the children’s social care system.

The awards are supported financially by the Alex Timpson Trust, the company charity of the Timpson Group, whose chair, John Timpson, sits on the Frontline board and who, with his late wife, Alex, fostered many children.

‘Celebrating fantastic work’

Launching the awards, Frontline said they were designed to “celebrate the fantastic work that so many social workers are doing to support almost 700,000 children and their families across England each year”, and would “also provide a platform to highlight and share the achievements of young people who have had the support of a social worker”.

The charity added: “The Frontline Awards will sit alongside other fantastic award ceremonies that take place in the sector.”

About the Frontline Awards

The Frontline Awards have six categories:

  1. Leadership – this is open to children’s social workers working for local authorities or children’s trusts demonstrating excellent leadership that is improving outcomes for children and families.
  2. Practice – this award is for children’s social workers working for local authorities or children’s trusts who can demonstrate an example of excellent practice that is strengths-based, balancing strengths with risks, engages the whole family and puts children at the center of decision making.
  3. Team of the year – this recognizes a social work or multi-disciplinary team, one of whose members must be a local authority or children’s trust social worker, who can show how they have collaborated to deliver outstanding work for children and families.
  4. Innovation – this is for any registered social worker, whether practicing or not, who has come up with an idea that is being developed, or has been implemented, to create lasting change for children and families with a social worker.
  5. Young people – this award is for young people, aged 16 to 25, with first-hand experience of the children’s social care system, recognizing either their achievements, for example in education or sport, or changes they have achieved for children and families.
  6. Fellowship – this gong is reserved for Frontline fellows – those who have completed any of its training programs – who have demonstrated strong anti-racist practice, leadership or innovation in the delivery of their social work

The final award is the only one reserved for Frontline fellows.

Nominations, which can come from anyone aged over 16 who knows the nominee, including young people with experience of children’s social care, must be submitted by 3 February 2023, with the permission of the nominee. The awards ceremony takes place on 17 May 2023.

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