Today is World Social Work Day - 15th March 2016


World Social Work Day is celebrated around the globe to highlight the work that social workers carry out and give them recognition for their invaluable contribution to society.

Launching the 2016 Social Work Awards at a ceremony in Belfast Castle today, Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Care and Children’s Services, Health and Social Care Board, said she was looking forward to seeing many inspiring entries over coming weeks. “Social workers play an important role within our communities working with people in sensitive and difficult environments to help them bring about positive changes in their lives. Much of this work goes unnoticed but the Social Work Awards provide us with the opportunity to honour these inspirational and deserving professionals and teams.”

How to nominate

The awards recognise and reward the efforts of social workers and highlight the positive impact of the profession on individuals, families and communities.

Nominations for the awards - now in their fifth year - are invited from any social work agency or social worker(s) in the statutory, voluntary, private, education and training sectors. Service users, carers or employers who are nominating a team or individual will have the opportunity to acknowledge the positive contribution social workers have made for them. Their social worker will be happy to advise them about the process.

The nine award categories are:

  • Children’s Services (Team Award)
  • Adult Services (Team Award)
  • Partnership (Team Award)
  • Learning and Development (Team Award)
  • Children’s Services (Individual)
  • Adult Services (Individual)
  • Newly Qualified Social Worker (Individual)
  • Overall Winner (chosen from the seven Award winners)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (individual ) sponsored by the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers

Entry forms and the information pack are now available on the NISCC website on The closing date for entries is 29 April 2016.

This year the award ceremony will be hosted by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust for the first time. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to a celebratory lunch and awards presentation on 18 November 2016 in Armagh City Hotel.

About the Social Work Awards

Led by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), the Social Work Awards are organised in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC), the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (NIASW), and the five Health and Social Care Trusts in partnership with social work organisations from criminal justice, education and the voluntary and independent sectors.

Fionnuala McAndrew said “I would encourage my social work colleagues to nominate as many individuals, teams and projects as ossible. I have always been impressed by the standard of entries, finalists and winners over past years and anticipate the same high calibre of nominations in this year’s awards.”

Colum Conway, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Social Care Council, said: “We have just over 5,000 social workers practising in Northern Ireland. It is very important that we take every opportunity to raise the profile of social work as a profession and to recognise their valuable contribution to our communities; enabling people to achieve their potential and to live their lives as independently as possible.”