Somerset social workers shortlisted for top national award

Two brilliant Somerset social workers have been shortlisted for a prestigious award in recognition of their outstanding leadership and practice.

Louise White and Janet Hardy, who are both Service Managers in Somerset County Council’s Adult Social Care Department, have been selected as finalists in the Team Leader of the Year (Adult Services) category at the annual Social Worker of the Year Awards.

Finalists were selected for showing clear leadership skills and evidence of how they have either nurtured an effective working environment, achieved cultural change, or improved service quality and outcomes.

The shortlist, which features more than 90 outstanding practitioners, teams, and organisations in 17 categories, was chosen by an independent judging panel made up of young care leavers, social workers, industry leaders, and people with lived experience of social work. 

Louise’s career in care started at age 14 when she began working at a local nursing home in South Somerset. She joined Somerset County Council as a newly qualified social worker in 2002 and worked her way up to become leader of the Adult Safeguarding team in 2017. Under her leadership, the team has developed and flourished over the past five years.

Jessica Bonehill, one of the social workers in Louise’s team, said: “I don’t think the role of Service Manager is one that Louise steps into and out of at the start and end of each day. I think that in her case, the values and drive that she has for safeguarding adults is just who she is as a person. She wants to help people and wants the service to do the best it can.”

Janet Hardy has also been nominated in the Team Leader of the Year category. Janet studied social work in Plymouth 18 years ago, finishing her third work placement with Somerset’s Bridgwater Adult Social Care team. She has remained working in Somerset ever since and is now a Locality Manager in Mendip.

Locality Lead Sophie West describes Janet as great leader who goes above and beyond to support her team: “I cannot emphasise enough the level of respect the team has for Janet. For many of them Janet is reason we work in Adult Social Care even when times are tough. She is a great team leader and has made so many life-changing positive differences to the people who live in Mendip.”

The winners will be revealed during the Social Work Awards 2022 ceremony, being held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on Friday, November 4.

Cllr Heather Shearer, Somerset County Council Executive Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We are hugely proud of Louise and Janet for being shortlisted in these national awards.

“Both Louise and Janet have demonstrated fantastic leadership which has been recognised by their respective teams. They have earned admiration and respect for their dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes for individuals, families and carers. I wish Louise and Janet the best of luck for the awards ceremony, both would be worthy recipients of this award.”

Working in care can be hugely rewarding, offering the chance to make a real difference to people’s lives every single day.

If you are interested in working for Somerset’s adult social care service, visit Social Care ( for the latest vacancies and opportunities. You can also find more information about other careers in care in Somerset by going to

For more information about the awards, visit


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