Judging the Care Awards
Caring Times, May 2014
I consider it a real privilege to be involved in the judging of the National Dementia Care Awards and National Care Awards.
Last year I chaired the judging panels for Best Dementia Trainee and for Care Innovator. It’s a challenging experience but hugely rewarding. The entries are whittled down to a shortlist of five in each category and the judges receive the entry forms and supporting material.
We all gather in London on judging day for the interviews. The lounge where all judges and candidates assemble is a hive of activity and there is a real buzz, reflecting the apprehension of all involved, the amount of work to get through and the excitement of the candidates.
Each award is judged by two or three people, and the panel meets to discuss the format for the interview and the questions to be asked. The interviews then follow in quick fire succession – five candidates for 15 minutes each. We start off by trying to put the candidates at ease – they are usually really nervous.
Then it’s about getting under the skin of their nomination and how they are making a real difference in their work role. Why do they deserve to win the award? Quite often the judges have to work hard to get the candidates to convey their story, as the process and setting can be quite unfamiliar for them. That’s part of the challenge for the judges, but it makes the role really interesting.
We then go immediately into assessing the candidates and selecting the winner. Sometimes there is a stand-out candidate, an obvious choice. Other times, it is really difficult to choose, and we go into lengthy deliberations before making the choice.
The final task is to write a few sentences about why the chosen candidate has been selected, and this is read out when the award is announced. There is an immense feeling of satisfaction when the form is completed, put into an envelope and sealed. However, the main satisfaction and joy comes from meeting so many talented and dedicated people, and hearing about how they are making a real difference to the lives of so many people – residents, colleagues and relatives.
– Melville Knight Group chief executive, Castleoak