Warning over split in social services

Adult services may become the poor relation of children’s
services in Scotland if the two are split, the new president of the
Association of Directors of Social Work warned in her inaugural
conference speech, writes Maggie Wood.

Alexis Jay said that the impending split between
children’s and adults’ services in England was raising
fears that initiatives in training and regulation would be delayed.
If Scotland followed the move, the same problems could be created,
she said last week, adding that it was important to learn the
lessons of structural change elsewhere.

Backing the fundamental review of social work announced by
education and young people’s minister Peter Peacock in the
wake of the Borders abuse case, Jay said she believed it should and
would be a “catalyst for change” (news, page 14, 13

In a meeting with social work directors and chief social work
officers at the ADSW conference, Peacock said the review would
focus on moving the profession forward, not stigmatising it or
blaming it for service failures.

“There are searching questions to ask about the task of
social work at this early part of the 21st century, 30 years after
social work departments were established,” Peacock said.
“We need to recognise the profession’s good work as
well as address any deficiencies.”

Peacock is expected to outline his plans for the review to
Parliament by the summer.

Jay said that order to attract and retain staff, social work
departments should offer continuous professional development,
recognised time for reflection, coaching and mentoring, she

However, she warned that recruitment should not be a competition
between the community care, criminal justice and children’s
sectors, or between the statutory and voluntary sectors.

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