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Lambeth social workers celebrate after winning major national awards

Lambeth social workers - the TOPAZ teamLambeth social workers who help some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents are celebrating after being named the best in the country at a top industry award ceremony.

The TOPAZ team at Lambeth Council has won ‘Team of the Year’ in the Adult Service category at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards, which took place at the House of Lords in Westminster.

And in a double for Lambeth, social worker Anita Kapur was named ‘Team Leader of the Year’ at the prestigious ceremony. Another Lambeth social worker, Neil Webster, a mental health social worker, was nominated in the ‘Social Worker of the Year’ category, but just lost out on the overall title.

The TOPAZ team (Team Offering People Advice and Support) work with health services and voluntary and faith groups to improve the quality of life of potentially vulnerable adults and make sure that are able to lead independent and full lives within their community.

Anita manages a team of social workers who administer the safe discharge of old, frail and disabled people from acute hospital wards (SWIFT – Social Work Initiated Fast Track). Thanks to her professionalism and enthusiasm, Anita has transformed her team into a strong, stable and cohesive unit and has established excellent relationships with health colleagues in the hospitals concerned.

Commenting on the awards, Councillor Jim Dickson, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“This is fantastic recognition for the work that Anita, the TOPAZ team, and indeed all Lambeth social workers do day in day out to improve the lives of people in the borough. I am delighted for the TOPAZ team and Anita – to be named the best in the country is an absolutely outstanding achievement, and they should be very proud.”

Jo Cleary, Lambeth Council’s Executive Director, Adults and Community Services, said:

“We are fortunate to have such committed social workers in Lambeth working tirelessly day in day out helping our residents to live more independently. This is a tremendous achievement and I thank them on behalf of all those whose quality of life they have helped improve. It’s fantastic to see them getting the recognition they deserve.”

In announcing the winners, the judges said:

“Anita’s insistence on exceedingly high standards has resulted in an efficient, safe and outstanding service for this vulnerable group of people on their discharge from hospital where their dignity, choice and control are deemed to be of paramount importance.

“The judges were delighted to pronounce Anita winner of this category because she managed to transform a team of locum staff from a variety of backgrounds with a diverse range of experiences into such a professional and effective team with a strong sense of identity. The judges were impressed with the evidence of joint working between social workers and hospital staff, placing the service users at the centre of the assessment and planning process and the fact that the SWIFT team has met and exceeded all performance targets.

The judges praised the TOPAZ team for their “imaginative work” that was “extremely focused upon the service user impact.” The judges “liked the way the team had used a core social work service and implemented it in an original way and the outcomes and successes were very clearly defined.”

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