The Association of Directors of Social Work has thrown down a
gauntlet to the Scottish executive setting out 10 key challenges
facing the profession in Scotland.
Underpinning the new report is the view that the way social work is
organised at the top in Scotland is not as “joined-up” as it ought
to be (though full credit to ADSW for avoiding that overworked
Perhaps the most pertinent demands are for a minister for social
work, a review of social work funding and a national framework for
pay and conditions.
All three proposals make a lot of sense. A dedicated minister would
offer clear leadership and help reduce the sense of policy
fragmentation under the current system where responsibility for
social work is dotted around various ministries (as also happens in
The call for a funding review for the sector is also timely.
Despite increased budgets the reality is that new responsibilities
have swallowed up the extra cash as fast as it has come on stream –
just look at free personal care.
As for the call for a national pay framework, this is perhaps the
most pressing need of all. The current bidding war for social
workers means the larger local authorities can offer packages for
new staff that smaller authorities can never hope to compete with.
Unions and professional organisations need to be involved in
discussions to come up with a properly constructed and fair pay
system that adequately rewards social work staff for the demanding
role they take on.