Former ADCS president among social workers on New Year Honours list

Article updated 9 January 2022

Social workers including a former president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services,, have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Jenny Coles, president of ADCS from 2020 to 2021, was awarded a CBE for her services to children’s social care.

Coles was director of children’s services at Hertfordshire council for 11 years before retiring in August last year.

During her time at Hertfordshire, she received national recognition from the Department for Education for the council’s family safeguarding model.

Last month, Coles was appointed to the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, which is investigating learnings for the profession to come out of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

‘Dedication to making a difference’

Steve Crocker, ADCS vice president, said: “Jenny has played an important role in the association over many many years, first as a policy committee chair and then as ADCS president 2020/21, and I’m delighted to see Jenny’s commitment and dedication to making a difference to the lives of children and families acknowledged in this way.”

Teresa Heritage, Hertfordshire’s executive member for children, young people and families said: “I’m personally so proud and happy for Jenny to have received this award.

“Before retiring in the summer, she led our children’s services team brilliantly for well over a decade and has made an enormous contribution to the sector at a national level.

“Jenny is a true leader and an incredibly strong advocate for putting children’s safeguarding needs first. This is such a welcome award for all those people who have worked for, and learned from, Jenny.”

Gong for social worker turned chief executive

A CBE was also awarded to Ade Adetosoye, chief executive of Bromley council, London, and a social worker by background who remains on the register.

Adetosoye joined the authority in 2016 as deputy chief executive and director of children’s services and led a transformation in its performance, with its Ofsted rating moving from inadequate to good in 2018.

In the same year he became chief executive, one of a handful of black holders of the post across the country. His CBE was for services to children’s welfare and came eight years after he was awarded an OBE for driving improvements in children’s services in Lambeth.

Adetosoye said: “It is a huge honour, to be recognised in this way.  The most recent period of our lives has been immensely challenging for all of us. It has been an immense privilege to support residents and staff at this time, including seeking to ensure that we protect and develop services for our children, which was the focus of my early career and remains highly important, both professionally and personally.”

Welsh mental health practitioner awarded MBE

Among the other practitioners recognised, Laurence McBreen was awarded an MBE for services to the social work sector in South Wales.

McBreen was a social worker from 1972 until 2011, working as part of both a generic team and a mental health setting.

From 1990 until 2011 he was a member of Cardiff and the Vale Action for Mental Health’s emergency duty team.

He was also responsible for student placements in South Glamorgan during this time, and then from 1997 as professional development officer in the Vale of Glamorgan until 2018.

Known as Zac, McBreen continues as a practice teacher, having helped to train more than 500 students.

“I’m very pleased with having been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list – and would like to add that I know of many dedicated, hardworking and able social workers who could and should be similarly honoured,” he said.

“Traditionally, social work does not feature in the Honours List as much as it should, given the nature of this public service.”

Others recognised include:

  • John Bolton, OBE – social care consultant, former director of adult social services and Department of Health social care finance lead.
  • Simon Darby, MBE – social worker, Young Lives vs Cancer, for services to teenagers and young adults with cancer in Northern Ireland.
  • Kiran Flynn, British Empire Medal – social worker, Frontline, for services to children and families during Covid-19.
  • Albert Heaney, CBE – chief social care officer for Wales, for services to social care.
  • Bridget Mongan, OBE – director, adult services and prison healthcare, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, for services to prison health care and social work in Northern Ireland.
  • Eddie O’Hara, British Empire Medal – founding chair, All Birmingham’s Children Charity, for services to children and families.

The British Association of Social Workers said it “welcomes the recognition of outstanding social care and social work in the 2022 New Year honours list, and would like to congratulate all those who have represented social work”.

Social Work England said in a blog post it would like to congratulate “everyone in social work who have been recognised in the 2022 New Years honour list for their achievements and service to this vital profession”.