Scotland should have one minister with responsibility for social
work and a national pay and conditions framework for the
profession, according to social work directors, writes
The proposals form part of a manifesto for change, published this
week by the Association of Directors of Social Work, which builds
on issues raised in the 21st Century Review of Social Work.
ADSW president Colin Mackenzie said there was a lack of clear
guidance across the different areas of social work. He pointed out
that four Scottish ministers had responsibility for social work as
part of their portfolio, and said this had led to a lack of
He also said smaller councils were losing out to larger authorities
in the recruitment of staff and called for a national framework
that would set parameters and “building blocks” for salaries and
leave councils with some flexibility. But he said it would not be a
rigid system: “It doesn’t mean a national pay scale.”
Other proposals include the need for a review of social work
funding and the development of a national social work research plan
to develop a stronger evidence base.
“A lot of the stuff we get comes from America,” said Mackenzie.
“Over time it no longer fits because social circumstances
The manifesto calls for the executive to define a “new and
enhanced” role for Scotland’s chief social work officers.
“If there is going to be professional advice to councillors, you
need to be sure the person giving that advice is competent to do
it,” said Mackenzie. “The last thing you want is three or four
people giving that advice.”
He said this was particularly important if councils were to reshape
departments, as Edinburgh has done, and split their children’s and
adult social services.
The ADSW also recommends that there should be a duty on the chief
social work officer to provide an annual report to councils on the
performance of all social work services. Mackenzie said this did
not happen in all authorities.
A spokesperson for the Scottish executive said it would consider
the ADSW proposals alongside the 21st Century Review.
Advancing the Development of Social Work in the 21st
Century from www.adsw.org.uk