Westminster trip for top social worker

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An award-winning Halifax social worker has enjoyed a VIP trip to the House of Commons.

Rob Mitchell, Calderdale Council’s principal social worker for adult services, was invited to the exclusive parliamentary reception after winning his category at the Social Worker of the Year awards in 2015.

Rob had the chance to meet the government’s minister for community and social care, Alistair Burt MP. and helped to launch the 2016 awards.

“As social workers, we don’t necessarily shout about the work that we do, so to have the opportunity to be recognised at the House of Commons, along with our peers, and to celebrate the work that we do, is amazing,” said Rob.

Rob has campaigned to raise the profile of his profession at both national and regional level, and his leadership has secured a £1,5million increase in the council’s social work budget.

He has also been praised for boosting the status and standing of his department within Calderdale Council.

Rob and his fellow winners were presented with their awards back in November, and Alistair Burt was pleased to welcome them to Westminster.

“Social workers play a vital role in improving people’s lives. These awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and showcase social work at its very best and I congratulate all the winners on their outstanding achievement,” said the minister.

The awards celebrate their 10th anniversary this year and are run by the registered charity Social Work Awards Ltd. Seventeen categories are contested across adult and children’s services, with supporters including the NSPCC, Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association all backing the event.

Their founder, independent practitioner Beverley Williams, has since been made MBE.

Among the runners-up at the November ceremony was Rob’s Calderdale colleague Bernadette Johansen, who is principal social worker for children’s services and came second in the category.