Staff training is being treated as a “dispensable extra” in a
number of Scottish local authorities, the chief inspector of social
work revealed last week.
In his third annual report, Angus Skinner finds that some councils
are failing to meet staff training needs, despite it being an
explicit requirement for registration purposes.
The registration of social work and social services employees is
monitored by the Scottish Social Services Council, which is
currently focusing on social workers who are already qualified.
Skinner’s report warns that, as a result of not having the
necessary qualifications, there are likely to be some social
services staff who will be unable to continue in their current
posts and need to be redeployed.
A spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
said that, with the delivery of front-line services being
paramount, training tended to be the first to go, especially when
time and money were in such short supply. He added that councils
would like to avoid staff redeployment.
The annual report on Scotland’s 32 councils also warns that
children and other vulnerable people are at risk across Scotland
because social work departments are understaffed, resources are
stretched, and key targets are not being met. Many authorities
urgently need to tackle recruitment problems.
Skinner draws particular attention to the problems caused across
Scotland by drug and alcohol abuse. He says children are being
placed at risk by their parents’ substance abuse and admits that
councils are unlikely to meet national targets on tackling drug
Separate reports on individual councils published alongside the
annual report call for Edinburgh Council to ensure all child
protection cases are passed to appropriate staff immediately and
for Scottish Borders Council to increase investment in advocacy
services for people with learning difficulties.
Edinburgh was recently criticised by a report into the death of
11-week-old Caleb Ness at the hands of his father, while Borders
was criticised in the “Miss X” case for failing to protect a woman
with learning difficulties from abuse.
– Annual report from www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/social/prco-00.asp