Number of social work staff increases

The number of social work staff employed in Scotland’s
local authorities has increased in the last year reversing a
five-year trend, according to the latest statistical report from
the Scottish executive.

The report, ‘Staff of Scottish Local Authority Social Work
Services 2000’, shows that whole time equivalent (WTE) social work
posts in 1999 amounted to 33,828 increasing to 34,161 in October
2000. This reverses the trend since 1996 when WTE social work posts
totalled 38,330.

The increase would be even higher but for major shifts in the
management of home care staff away from social work departments in
Glasgow Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council. Glasgow, the
largest council, shows a reduction from 7,206 in 1996 to 4,275 in
2000 while Dumfries and Galloway reduced from 951 to 453 over the
same period.

Nationally, there are 6.7 staff per 1,000 of the population. The
highest ratios are found in the islands councils of Orkney Islands
(14.6 per cent), Shetlands (13.7 per cent) and Eileanan Star (13.5
per cent). The lowest ratios are in Dumfries and Galloway (3.1 per
cent), East Dunbartonshire (4.5 per cent) and East Renfrewshire
(4.8 per cent).

The majority of social work staff continues to be female (85 per
cent). More than a quarter of all employees work in domiciliary
care, a quarter are fieldwork staff and 17 per cent work in
residential settings. Almost two thirds provide services to adults,
16 per cent serve children and families while 3 per cent work
within criminal justice.

Of the 34,161 posts, 1,800 (or 5 per cent) were vacant including
330 for qualified social workers.

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