Awards for SBC’s social workers ‘in increasingly difficult times’

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THE professional achievements of Scottish Borders Council social work staff as they strive to meet the needs of service users against a background of budget cuts at Newtown and departmental shake-ups were acknowledged last month at a special ceremony.

Nominations for the local authority’s social work staff awards, presented at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, came from employees across the revamped services with judging by a panel from the Supporting Frontline Staff Group.

There were three main awards for each of the department’s service areas.

The social care and health staff award went to the reviewing team community (RTC) which has spent the last year reviewing clients who receive care at home and housing support services. The gathering heard that his work had “enabled the department to make the best use of resources and realise savings while continuing to focus on the individual needs of service users”.

Highly commended in this category were the community care reviewing team and the care at home service and special mention was made of Dorothy Small, assistant team leader Central Borders, who retires this month after 26 years of service.

The winner of the integrated children’s services award was the team at the Wheatlands Residential Care Home in Galashiels for “consistently delivering positive outcomes for the young people in their care, most of whom have very challenging life circumstances”. Highly commended were the supported accommodation project at Albert Place in Galashiels and the service provided for young carers.

The housing and community justice award went to Cathie Shaw for “going the extra mile” as an administrative support worker who had completed with merit her first year of an Open University course in professional development studies in social care. Highly commended were the welfare benefits team, the homeless team and Dorothy Keats from the criminal justice service.

The awards were presented by Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Social Services Council.

Certificates for all employees who had completed professional training during the past year were presented by Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale.

As well as thanking staff from his own department, SBC social work director Andrew Lowe made special mention of award winners from NHS Borders and the voluntary sector.

“Working in partnership is not just a cliché,” said Mr Lowe. “It is one of the most important ways we can navigate through these increasingly difficult times.”