First minister tells social workers to be confident and warns care home owners not to issue threats

Social workers were urged take confidence in their profession
and speak out on behalf of service users, by first minister Henry
McLeish in the final keynote address of the annual Association of
Directors of Social Work conference, writes Reg

McLeish, a regular attendee at ADSW conferences held in
Dunblane, shared his personal belief in social work and its central
role in his proposed policy developments. But he confided: “Over
the past few years I have detected a loss of confidence, a less
vigorous voice. It is time now to speak out again in this period of
great change.”

The first minister also confided that additional finance would
be made available to local authorities for social care over the
next few years. Reminding the audience that local authorities
themselves decided how to utilise resources, he urged the senior
councillors in the audience to allocate the money to social

From the floor, Ian Baillie, director of social work for the
Church of Scotland, asked the first minister what he intended to do
about the gap between the costs of residential care and the
available funding. McLeish made it plain that he was far from
impressed by the recent actions of Social Care, representing the
private owners of residential and nursing care homes, in banning
new admissions of older people and threatening to evict

McLeish said: “This problem will not be resolved by threats but
through dialogue.” A meeting between Cosla, the Scottish executive
and Social Care is scheduled for next Monday and he added:
“Hopefully that will be the beginning of a resolution to a problem
that we all seek to resolve.”

In the morning after the general election, McLeish reassured
delegates: “Far from marginalizing social work under different
departments or as part of some restructuring it is central to the
main policies of this government for years to come. Please take
advantage of this period of immense progress.”




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