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People :: Alumni :: Kathleen Brenda (Kay) Richards


Kay Richards

Certificate in Medical Social Work 1964

Graduated: 1964

Kay Richards (1932-2016) was, throughout her lifetime, a prominent figure in social work - in local authority social work management in Scotland and England, in the professional association, BASW (which she chaired between 1974 and 1976), and in the National Institute for Social Work.

Kay studied medical social work and thoroughly enjoyed her time at Edinburgh, winning two medals while she was there, including the Criminology prize, and playing in the university hockey team. Gill Michael was her supervisor at the Edinburgh Royal Hospital; Vivienne Laughton was her tutor on the course.  On graduation, she was appointed a senior social worker in Edinburgh's Health and Welfare Department. While at Edinburgh, she took part in a working group led by Vera Hiddleston to help shape the Bill that went on to become the Social Work (Scotland) Act. She was subsequently appointed Director of Social Work for Clackmannan from 1969 to 1972, making her one of the first Directors of Social Work in Scotland.

Kay was a member of the Royal Commission on the National Health Service from 1976 to 1979.

She held senior positions at the National Institute for Social Work and Hertfordshire before becoming Deputy Director of the London borough of Brent in 1982, where she worked as Acting Director until she retired in 1988, as well as doing an MA in Essex.

Kay produced a video, One Hundred Years of Health Related Social Work 1895-1995, in 1995. This video accompanied a book of the same name, written by Joan Baraclough (another Edinburgh alumna) and others. A copy of the video is available from the Wellcome Library.

Source: Obituary, Professional Social Work (PSW) magazine, February 2017; also information provided by Joan Baraclough.