The first ever Ministry of Justice Group awards were held last night, recognising exceptional work across the department and its agencies and arm’s-length bodies.
Linda Nelmes was recognised for her work in developing the Domestic Abuse Practice Pathway, which has transformed how social workers approach assessments and support children and young people in cases featuring domestic abuse (DA). The judging panel recognised the impact of her work, with audits demonstrating improvement in practice following the launch of the pathway. The judges also noted that the model can be replicated across other complex social policy areas.
Cafcass was well represented at the awards, being shortlisted in the following categories:
Unsung Hero – Nyasha Gochera, Business Services Officer, Bloomsbury
Diversity and Inclusion Team – for work across Cafcass
(Represented by Margaret Obi, Family Court Adviser, who has raised the profile of diversity issues with particular relevance for child protection and social care across Cafcass and the greater Essex region, and Bethany from the Family Justice Young People's Board for the work of the Board including ‘top tips’ for diversity and inclusion issues in practice)
Leadership – Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive
The ceremony was held in London at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) headquarters. Following the awards, the Secretary of State and Permanent Secretary hosted a reception for finalists, members of the judiciary, private sector supporters, other government departments and Ministers.
Linda was represented at the awards by Sarah Parsons, Assistant Director and Principal Social Worker for Cafcass.
Speaking of the achievement, Sarah said: “Children who witness domestic abuse can feel shame, fear, anxiety and guilt which can have a lifelong detrimental impact. The DA Practice Pathway guides our analysis of this impact, using contemporary research and an evidence-informed approach. As such Linda has made an invaluable contribution to the quality of our practice for children.”
Cafcass Chief Executive Anthony Douglas, who attended the awards as a finalist and as a sponsor of one of the awards, said: "The awards were a key part of the MoJ's 10-year anniversary event yesterday. I was proud our work was showcased in this high-profile event which also celebrated the principles of justice in the UK which stretch back over a thousand years. Our involvement gave vulnerable children equal status with all the other groups worked with by the MoJ.
"For Linda to win the award for Innovation shows that her work in particular has added significant quality to public service in the UK."