Better data needed to plan workforce

Accurate data on the social work workforce in Scotland were needed
if staff shortages are to be successfully tackled, the incoming
ADSW president told the conference.

Describing the quality of current data as “sketchy”, Duncan
MacAulay said: “We need to collect hard data on the workforce to
move away from anecdote.”

He said the workforce had shrunk by around 4,000 in the past five
years, adding that the 400 vacancies for qualified social workers
in Scotland showed the extent of the profession’s recruitment
problems as they accounted for almost 10 per cent of local
authority social work posts.

However, he added, the new fast track scheme for graduates wishing
to train as social workers had received 2,000 applications since it
was announced in January. The Scottish executive scheme will enable
50 graduates to qualify as social workers in 15 to 18 months rather
than the usual two years.

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