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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