Three Falkirk teams nominated for national social services awards

An annual awards programme organised by the Scottish Government and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (Iriss) has included three Falkirk services within this years’ shortlist.

The teams covering disability, mental health, and justice services have been nominated to the Scottish Social Services Awards, which have run since 2017 to showcase and celebrate the best practice within the social services sector.

Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership’s Learning Disability Team have been nominated for excellence within their field; a combined entry from the Partnership’s Joint Dementia Initiative and Caledonia Service has been shortlisted within the Mental Health Service category; and Falkirk Council’s Women’s Justice Service is a finalist within the Excellence in Justice Services category.

Nominations were reviewed and discussed at length by a panel of Scottish Government officials and stakeholders from across the sector, who sought to highlight commitment, innovation, and good teamwork.

Commending the services upon their nomination, Patricia Cassidy, Chief Officer, Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Our local teams nominated to this years’ Scottish Social Services Awards should be very proud of their with our communities to redesign services. Their dedication and innovative approaches have earned them the national recognition they deserve on this competitive shortlist.

“It is great to be sending such a strong Falkirk presence to the award ceremony next month, we will be wishing them all the best of luck.”

Falkirk’s shortlisted entries:

  • Falkirk Learning Disability Team for Excellence in Disability Services
  • Joint Dementia Initiative and Caledonia Service for Excellence in Mental Health Services
  • Falkirk Council’s Women’s Justice Service for Excellence in Justice Services

Sara Lacey, Chief Social Work Officer, Falkirk Council, adds: “These nominations reflect the continued efforts of our social work colleagues to tailor their support to the needs of the people they serve. Our services have proven themselves to be agile, open to new ideas, and willing to help break down barriers to help people. Their efforts and ethic should be commended, as their work helps to enrich people’s lives and support stronger and healthier communities in Falkirk.”

Finalists are now looking forward to the awards ceremony in Glasgow on the evening of 23 November, where winners will be announced.

About Falkirk’s finalists

Falkirk Learning Disability Team

Excellence in Disability Services Category
The Learning Disability Team submitted an entry based on their efforts to engage and plan services collaboratively. The team’s ‘Big Planning Sessions’ and the Falkirk Collaborative Project reviewed services, identified problems, gathered views, and agreed a way forward together with people who access support. The process enabled people who rely on the team’s support to plan for their future together and identify support which could be enhanced. The team’s new Making Choices, Keeping Safe programme is just one example of how services have already been improved – with tailored sexual health and relationship support being rolled out for people with learning disabilities and their families.

Joint Dementia Initiative and Caledonia Service

Excellence in Mental Health Services Category
These co-located services entered a combined nomination to showcase strong teamworking and a joined-up approach. Supporting adults living with severe mental illness and people with dementia, the services have been embedding a community ethos – enabling support to break free from the four walls of a traditional building based-service and offer more support options while out and about. This has involved new partnerships with the likes of Forestry Land Scotland and the Helix Park to open opportunities which support overall wellbeing, and the creation of new social and support groups which meet in peoples’ homes and throughout the community.

Women’s Justice Team

Excellence in Justice Services Category
With an emphasis on mental health support, trauma informed practice, and community-based support, Falkirk’s Women’s Justice Service provides gender-sensitive support to women in the criminal justice system. The team aim to open opportunities, enable positive life choices, and help extend knowledge or gain new skills to promote behaviour change and reduce re-offending. The small team are agile and focus on building a relationship with every woman who is supported by the service. This close-knit approach is key to offering support to women in the justice system who may have struggled to engage previously.

The full list of finalists to the 2023 Scottish Social Services Awards can be found at