3rd November 2021

Social Work Scotland are delighted to announce that the SWS Leader of the Year award at the 2021 Scottish Social Services Awards has been awarded posthumously to Kate Christmas, of Inverclyde HSCP.

Kate, who was a Service Manager in Children’s Services, was nominated by her colleagues at Inverclyde who were keen that her impact on them, wider teams and partners, and her legacy in social work and beyond could be recognised.

Kate passed away after a brief but devastating illness in July 2021, and her team and nominators collected the award on her behalf at the celebration ceremony held on 26 October, at the Crieff Hydro hotel.

Her nominators wrote: “Kate’s capacity to form strong and lasting relationships was a hallmark of her as a person and a professional. In each role she held, she always appeared calm and serene and was able to instil this in colleagues, staff and service users. This is an invaluable quality to have in social work, and while Kate experienced all of the same challenges and stresses of those around her, somehow, she managed to retain an air of quiet control which earned her the immediate respect of all who have worked with her. Colleagues in social work, in health and education, in the police and all partner agencies admired and respected her not just for her professionalism but for her fundamental human kindness, her inherent dignity and the complete respect she showed to others most especially the service users she worked with.”

As expected, the standard of applications for the award, and indeed, for all the categories at the Social Services Awards were extremely high this year, reflecting the compassion, commitment and leadership shown during the pandemic across Scotland.

To the judges on the panel, it was a hugely difficult decision, and on their behalf Social Work Scotland would like to extend huge congratulations and appreciation to the other finalists, who have also shown the values of social work through their leadership, support and dedication to the profession throughout the last 18 months.

Social Work Scotland’s Convenor, Alison Gordon, said: I was extremely proud to present the award to Kate’s colleagues on her behalf, although it was bittersweet in the circumstances. It’s clear that Kate has had a huge impact on those around her, and the broader profession, and it’s fitting that we’re able to acknowledge her input and dedication in this way.”

The Scottish Social Services awards are an annual award hosted by the Scottish Government, and supported by Social Work Scotland and the Scottish Association of Social Workers. They’re a celebration of the fantastic work that happens in social work and the surrounding professions.