I have been involved in a number of awards ceremonies in the past 10 years: I’ve been a judge; I’ve supported projects or people through the application process; I’ve written and upheld criteria; and I’ve attended ceremonies.
Two things have been consistently clear to me from all these different perspectives.
Firstly, the people who receive the awards are always delighted. Being shortlisted gives them a real boost and shows just how proud they are of the work they do and the people they support.
But, the second thing that is clear, is that the brilliance of what people in social services do, is often obscured by the language we all use to describe it. We do like our jargon in the social services sector: we call people service users; we refer to social work and health working together as integration; we call drug addiction, substance mis-use; and we talk about people achieving their outcomes, when we really mean that we helped make someone really happy and safe.
Making someone happy and safe feels like something to celebrate much more than ‘helping someone achieve their outcomes. We may understand our jargon, but most people don’t and what is more, using it takes away from the real achievement of the workers and the people supported and cared for in the sector.
The Scottish Social Services Awards are therefore a jargon free zone. We want to celebrate what you do and it is much easier to understand how powerful and life changing your work is, if you say it like it is.