Union warns key policy plans jeopardised by worker shortage

Unison has called on the Scottish executive to give local
authorities more resources or face key social strategies failing
due to the crisis in recruiting social workers.

Unison’s call for action was presented in formal evidence
to the Scottish parliament’s local government committee in
which the union drew special attention to the lack of social
workers. Speaking before the committee Joe Di Paolo, head of local
government for Unison Scotland, said: “Unison is fully behind the
ground breaking initiatives of the executive such as installing
central heating in all pensioners’ homes, providing free
personal care for the elderly and offering nursery and out of
school care for children.

“However, we have grave concerns about the availability of
workers and the skills that are needed to implement these
programmes,” he said.

Unison’s statement comes just one week after Edinburgh
University announced it was to scrap its social work degree course
due to the lack of applicants. At the same time it was revealed
that the numbers graduating with degree qualifications in social
work had fallen by a third in Scotland since 1996 to an all time
low of 193 in 1999.

Di Paolo said: “We have made it very clear to the local
government committee that more resources are required for long term
planning, training and development if local authorities are going
to have any chance of implementing these key social policies on
behalf of the Scottish executive.”

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