‘Outstanding contribution’ of social work and social care recognised in New Year Honours

The New Year Honour List has been revealed, recognising the contribution of social work and social care professionals among others.

04/01/22

‘Outstanding contribution’ of social work and social care recognised in New Year Honours

Social workers, children’s services directors, care staff and voluntary sector workers have all been recognised in this year’s New Year Honours for their services.

Albert Heaney, Chief Social Care Officer for Wales, is to receive a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) award for services to Social Care. Described as having “a passion for helping better children’s services”, as the Chief Social Care Officer for Wales and a member of the England and Wales Family Justice Board, Albert Heaney has used his vast experience to deliver valuable social work, leading children’s services, and improving the family justice network in Wales.

In addition to his role as a civil servant, Heaney has made a significant impact as an NSPCC Trustee for Wales by sharing good practice and a commitment to promoting equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice.

“I am deeply honoured to receive a CBE in the New Year honours list for services to Social Care,” Heaney said. “For me this is very much a shared recognition of the invaluable work of all our social workers and social care professionals who provide care and support to children, young people and adults.”

Jenny Coles, who recently retired as Director of Children’s Services at Hertfordshire County Council after more than a decade in the role, also received a CBE for services to children's social care. Qualifying as a social worker in 1986, Coles went on to serve as President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) throughout 2020, leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simon Darby a social worker for Young Lives vs Cancer – formerly CLIC Sargent – was also recognised with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) award for services to teenagers and young adults with cancer in Northern Ireland.

Darby, from north Belfast, has been recognised for his vital work supporting families living with cancer in his role with the charity since 2011.

“For me, the honour is reflected back to those young people and parents who have allowed me the privilege to be part of their cancer experience over the last 10 years,” Simon said.

“I wouldn’t be receiving this honour for my contribution to cancer services for young people in Northern Ireland had those families not said ‘yes’ to my support. I am part of a wider team within the hospitals and charity and very much am daily empowered by my nursing, medical and social care colleagues as we work together to deliver our service, so this honour is owed to them also.”

This year’s New Year Honours List 2022 has 15.1% of recipients coming from an ethnic minority background, making the most ethnically diverse honours list to date it for the fourth consecutive year.

The Honours List continues to give recognition to those showing courage and leadership in their local areas, with 63% of the New Year Honours List awarded for community work. Almost 800 (63%) of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

More than a quarter (25.5%) of recipients considered themselves to come from a lower socio-economic background, and 13.3% of the successful candidates are disabled or have a long-term health condition.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “These recipients have inspired and entertained us and given so much to their communities in the UK or in many cases around the world.”

“The honours are an opportunity for us to thank them, as a country, for their dedication and outstanding contribution.”

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