New group to develop Scottish workforce

The Scottish  executive has set up a workforce planning group to
develop staff and improve the delivery of social services.

Education and Young People Minister Cathy Jamieson said that
while progress has been made, much still needed to be done.
“We must ensure that social work services meet the needs of
society’s most vulnerable. They must work in partnership and
provide integrated support to help social workers fulfill this
crucial role. To help this process, I am setting up a new workforce
planning group to work with the Scottish Social Services Council
and employers across all sectors,” she said.

The Scottish Budget 2003-2006 will increase investment in the
development of the social services workforce so that by 2006 this
year’s expenditure will have doubled.

Meanwhile, Unison Scotland has released a pamphlet,  “The
future for Scotland’s social work”, which highlights how
staffing problems are affecting social services.

Stephen Smellie, chairperson’s of Unison’s social
work issues group, said: “Staff from qualified social workers
to social work assistants face problems associated with large
numbers of vacancies, increased stress and reducing support. These
lead to problems of lack of back-up, increasing risks of violence,
no time to train, increased pressure on unqualified staff.

“Pay is a key issue in addressing such problems, but not
the only one. We think we need a full-scale review to look at
training, the job of social workers and other staff, protection and
other support.”

The pamphlet has been released as part of the union’s Revitalise
our Public Services campaign.

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