Meanwhile, Mandy Nightingale won Gold as Principal Social Worker of the Year while Aimee Weston won Silver for Children’s Social Worker of the Year.
The national awards which were held on Friday 25 November in London recognise the crucial role that social workers play and the contribution they make to society.
With nominees from across the country, Bianka beat off fierce competition to scoop the top prize. The trustees praised her saying, “Bianka had everything we were looking for in the winner of the Overall Social Worker of the Year award.
She is a role model for the profession and as a calm and supportive manager she guides her team in delivering better outcomes for children and young people in Essex. She is a truly deserving winner and is an asset to her organisation.”
Speaking just after she collected her award, Bianka said: “This is the most amazing surprise and honour - I’m totally overwhelmed and really, really happy! I believe that in Essex we evidence that relationship based practice has the best outcomes for children and their families – and we practice this model within the office, which makes us a close knit team where people are happy to support each other and where they like to stay and settle.”
In receiving her Team Leader award the judges said, “Bianka is a true role model and her virtues of calmness, leading by example and making time for others make her an exceptional leader. Good social work flourishes in the environment that she has created. She is an outstanding winner.”
Mandy Nightingale was praised for her forward-thinking and collaborative style and for giving a powerful voice to social workers on both a local and national scale. “Mandy is an exceptional leader and has worked tirelessly to ensure that the voice of the social worker is represented at local, regional and national level. She has had an enormous impact in Essex and is a truly deserved winner of the Gold Principal Social Worker of the Year award.”
After she won the award, Mandy said: “I’m so pleased to receive this recognition. As principal social workers, we work really hard for the profession but I must say I could not have done this without the support of Essex County Council.”
Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “My heartfelt congratulations go to Bianka on this fantastic achievement.
I’d also like to congratulate both Mandy and Aimee and I’m delighted our social workers are receiving the recognition they deserve.
To make up more than 10 per cent of the shortlist nationwide is testament to our dedication and innovative approach. We’re serious about social work in Essex and our approach focuses on supporting and empowering our residents to achieve the positive outcomes they want.”