Scottish social work celebrated as SASW announce award winners

The dedication and achievement of social workers across Scotland was recognised when Childcare and Early Years Minister Maree Todd MSP presented the SASW Social Work Awards earlier this week.

The annual Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) awards were held in Edinburgh on World Social Work Day before an invited audience of 128 guests, including social workers and people who use services who had come along to support their nominations. 

The awards, which reflect on best practice during the previous year, were made in five categories and judged by a panel of SASW committee members and staff. There were also Special Awards for Leadership, Collaborative Working in Integrated settings and Recognition by Users of Services.

In this “Year of the Young Person” in Scotland guests were entertained by Claire Hastings, BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Singer of the Year 2015, who made time in her busy international touring schedule to attend, and the Youth and Young, a folk band from Edinburgh.

Essential services for social workers was highlighted in the special mention section to an administrative support team from Falkirk Council.

Scotland is celebrating 50 years since the groundbreaking Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, and Liz Timms in a short presentation reminded the audience about section 12 of the Act and its duty on local authorities to “promote social welfare by making available advice, guidance and assistance on such scale as may be appropriate for their area”.

She was then surprised with a special SASW Lifetime Achievement Award for all her work within BASW and SASW in advice, governance and support over a great many years,as well as her contribution to the development of the profession in Scotland.

SASW (part of BASW UK) Manager Trisha Hall said: “SASW was delighted to celebrate fantastic social work achievement on World Social Work Day.

“The Minister delivered an inspirational address which was most appreciative of the contribution social workers make every day and subsequently presented the trophies to our highly commended workers and winners.

“The examples and stories that were shared on the night are reflections of great work which supports and protects people as well as the communities they are part of. With this celebration, we also aim to highlight all the others united by the unique professional identity our membership association for social workers promotes and supports.

“We know of the current pressures facing social workers and their employers, so work of this standard is amazing and very uplifting. The professionals and teams nominated tonight make us proud to be social workers in Scotland.”

The SASW Awards winners are as follows:

Practice Teacher:

  • Winner: Ruth Shipstone, Practice Learning and Development Officer, Dumfries and Galloway Council
  • Highly commended: Jessica Proctor, Independent Practice Teacher, Edinburgh

Social Work Lecturer:

  • Winner: Gil Martin, University of Dundee

Student Social Worker:

  • Winner: Ritchie Piper and the University of Stirling Social Work Society
  • Highly commended: Katja Nicholson (pictured), Multi-Cultural Family Base, Edinburgh, University of Stirling

Social Work Team:

  • Winner: Family Group Decision Making Team, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Highly commended: Families for Children and Asylum/ Roma team, Glasgow City Health and Social Care partnership

Social Worker:

  • Winner: Ian Jeffries, City of Edinburgh Council, Penumbra Milestone, ARBD service


  • Leadership in social work: Children with Disabilities team, Dundee City Council
  • Collaborative working in an integrated setting: Gayle Wallace, East Renfrewshire Council
  • Recognition by a user of services: Allison Tinker, East Ayrshire Council