The Scottish executive has launched a recruitment drive for
social work accepting that vacancies in the profession are now at
crisis level, Cathy Jamieson, minister for education and social
work, announced, writes Reg McKay.
Jamieson said that executive funding to local authorities had
recruited an extra 100 social workers in the year 2001-02. In spite
of this there remained some 350 vacancies in the social work sector
with an additional 5 per cent of home care posts still vacant.
The executive’s aim is to fill vacancies and improve staff
morale. Jamieson said: "To do this we must make sure that people in
the workforce are well equipped for the job they are doing, that
they are adequately supported in their day-to-day roles, and that
they are valued for the often difficult and challenging work they
The executive’s strategy includes £3.5 million
already allocated to local authorities for staff training and
supporting frontline staff. A recruitment and awareness campaign
will also be launched to attract people into all levels of the
profession. A new honours degree course is to be created with
access being available to a wide range of individuals with
differing skills and knowledge.
The Scottish executive’s strategy received cross-party
support in the parliament, but the way the announcement was made
received criticism from opposition parties. The SNP said it
welcomed the statement, but it was too little too late having been
promised three years ago. The Scottish Tories also welcomed the
decision, but accused the executive of showing "contempt" to social
care staff by not giving greater notice of the announcement.