Local authority managed prison social work services in Edinburgh
are to be axed in a move towards privatisation, the Scottish Prison
Service revealed this week.
The news has been met with widespread opposition amid concerns
about work with sex offenders and violent criminals.
Director of social work for Edinburgh City Council Les McEwan
said: “This is an essential job that protects public safety. We are
at the forefront working with HIV prisoners, drug addicts and sex
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Association
of Directors of Social Work opposed proposals to privatise
prison-based social work when they were first put forward last year
and criticised SPS for failing to consult them.
The Prison Officers Association Scotland has also raised
concerns about services being provided by private agencies,
describing the move as being about costs rather than quality.
The move is to be implemented in Edinburgh and Dumfries prisons
in the first instance. A SPS spokesperson said: “If it’s successful
we will extend the service to other jails.”