There is increasing concern over the performance of Scotland’s Social
Work Services Inspectorate and the "conceptual fuzziness" around its
responsibilities, Jim Dickie, president
of the Association of Directors of Social Work, said this week.
He told the organisation’s annual conference in Dunblane
that proposed changes, including the creation of a new post of director of
co-ordination policy in a new division within the SWSI, were a matter of
"The response to this initiative can only be a
resounding ‘Why?’", he said, adding that the there had been no prior
consultation and the change "appears to have emerged from nowhere."
The proposals were outlined in a speech by education and
young people’s minister Cathy Jamieson last month setting out an "Action
Plan for Social Workers" but Dickie criticised what he described as "piecemeal change" .
He called for greater clarity over the role of the SWSI
and its relationship with new organisations such as the Commission for the
Regulation of Care and the Scottish Social Services Council.
"Unlike other Inspectorates such as in education, it
attempts to straddle quality assurance, policy development and policy
implementation, discharging none very effectively from a consumer’s
perspective," he told delegates.
"Putting in place the Commission and the Council will go a long
way towards building confidence, but it is now overdue that the Inspectorate’s
role be reviewed."
He also highlighted the issue of the crisis that CoSLA
(the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities) has faced over the last few
months with the withdrawal of three councils leading to a slimming down of the
This had left ADSW as the major organisation representing
social work in every local authority in the county, he said, warning that it
was important the association "resists the temptation simply to be
co-opted as the social work arm of CoSLA."