top of page
Adults'
All features
Training
Children's

Tributes paid to care experienced former social worker and campaigner Ian Dickson

Ian was described as “one in a million” and an “inspiration to the care community”.

05/01/23

Tributes paid to care experienced former social worker and campaigner Ian Dickson

The sad news of the passing of Ian Dickson, a former social worker, children’s home manager, Ofsted inspector and lifelong campaigner for care experienced children, has been announced.

Writing on Ian’s Twitter account on New Year’s Eve, his wife Sue said: “This is Sue, Ian's wife. I [am] heartbroken to tell you that Ian passed away today with Karen and I at his side. We will love and miss him always.”

Tributes soon flooded in from across the social work sector and beyond, with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon commenting: “Very sorry for your loss, Sue. It was a privilege to meet Ian at the [Who Cares? Scotland] summer camp - I will always remember his words of wisdom to me then and I know he was an inspiration to many in the care community here in Scotland. My condolences to you and your family.”

Rebekah Pierre, who similarly took the route from care-experience to social worker, commented: “Ian was one in a million - his tenacity, integrity and determination to fight for those without a voice was truly remarkable. I know he touched so many lives and his legacy will live on, always.”

Katharine Sacks-Jones, Chief Executive of Become, the national charity for children in care and care leavers, described Ian as an “inspiration”.

“I was blown away by his dedication, passion & commitment to making things better for care-experienced people, fighting for change until the end,” she said, adding that “his bravery and humour shone through.”

Born in Manchester in 1950, Ian spent much of his childhood in care, sparking his devotion to “making sure children are loved, valued and can fulfil their dreams”.

Ian found his way to social work after starting a job working at a chemical company in Manchester which put him on an “educational path” towards the profession, according to his recent reflections with children’s rights charity Article 39.

“His managers sent him to further education college and rekindled his love of learning – he acquired a run of O Levels and the equivalent of A Levels, which built up his confidence for him to one day go into a social services office in Manchester, tell them he had grown up in the council’s care and ask about becoming a social worker.”

“Unbeknown to Ian, the person who came downstairs to see him was a senior manager, and he remembered Ian and Aaron as young children. It’s difficult to imagine care leavers today being given such a respectful welcome after turning up, impromptu, at a council office. But for Ian this exchange was to set him up for a career in social work lasting four decades: ‘he managed to get me on an interview trail that led to me getting a job as an unqualified social worker trainee in those days, and the rest was history’.”

Post-retirement, Ian’s campaigning to improve the care system included working as part of a team to organise The Care Experienced Conference – a major event for care experienced children and adults held at Liverpool Hope University in April 2019.

The event brought together 141 care experienced people between the ages of 14 and 82 years.

“Through workshops, a “magnificent” display of art work and a packed lecture hall of debates and activities, the views, experiences and priorities of delegates were recorded in two separate documents – a conference report and a research report – and shared with central government, Ofsted, the Children’s Commissioner and countless others involved in the care of children,” Article 39 detailed in its biography of Ian. “To make their demands for a transformed care system beyond doubt, Ian and other conference organisers curated the conference’s top 10 messages, starting with love and respect for every child and ending with an affirmation of rights and the obvious truth that: ‘Nobody knows more about what it means to be in care than we do’.”

Read ‘A ladder to the stars: Ian Dickson’s reflections on 70 years of the care system’: https://article39.org.uk/a-ladder-to-the-stars-ian-dicksons-reflections-on-70-years-of-the-care-system/

Paint on Face

Barnardo's

Family Wellbeing Practitioner

Job of the week

Sign up for an informal interview for this role today

£23,400 - £28,600

SWT_SideAd1.png

Featured event

Social World Podcast

Podcast

30 Jan 2024

Instant access

Featured jobs

Barnardo's

Supervising Social Worker

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Health and Justice Court Practitioner - Social Worker/AHP

SWT_Online_Events_ad.png

Most popular articles today

Bill introduced to remove private profit from the care of looked-after children

Bill introduced to remove private profit from the care of looked-after children

First local authority adults’ services assessments published by CQC

First local authority adults’ services assessments published by CQC

“The system is so broken”: Number of adoptive families reaching crisis point at record levels

“The system is so broken”: Number of adoptive families reaching crisis point at record levels

Only two thirds of councils confident of meeting Care Act duties by next year

Only two thirds of councils confident of meeting Care Act duties by next year

Sponsored Content

What's new today:

Supporting social work students with additional needs during their placement

bottom of page