Social workers highly respected for sheer professionalism

Social Workers with the Children and Families Team at Argyll and Bute Council received nominations for Social Worker of the Year 2015. This is a marvellous achievement and indicative of the high calibre of social work employees in Argyll and Bute.

Stephen Malcom, who works in Oban, and Tom Niccolls, based in Helensburgh, were nominated for the awards by colleagues and the young people and adults they support.

The awards are held each year by the Scottish Association of Social Work to celebrate the people who work to help people to change their lives.

Nominating Stephen, Locality Manager Alex Taylor described the direct work he has undertaken with a number of very vulnerable young people who were in some instances struggling with issues of addiction and all of whom were engaged in extreme self-harm or suicidal behaviour.  Stephen readily stepped up for these cases and acted as a mentor to colleagues both within his team and within education and health.  

Stephen was also nominated by social worker Karen Carragher for the support her gave her as link worker during her training, and his link work with Oban High School brought a nomination from deputy head teacher Louise Lawson.

Tom received nominations from Head of Service Louise Long and line manager Lorraine Prentice. A foster carer who also nominated Tom paid tribute to his qualities, saying, “… he always listens and put the needs of his clients first. Tom has always put the needs of the children first, and he supports us in doing the same. He takes what we are experiencing and what we say, seriously. And none of that is a given.”

A recent case highlighted Tom’s skill in managing conflict and overcoming hostility from service users.

Social work is truly life changing work and is one of the most demanding and complex tasks which society asks any group of people to do on our behalf.

All of those in the profession should be proud of the work they do. I congratulate all of the nominees and winners of the awards.