New directors’ president warns over split in adult and children’s services

Adult services could become the poor relation of children’s
services in Scotland if the two are split, the new president of the
Association of Directors of Social Work warned in her inaugural
speech to the annual conference in Crieff, Perth and Kinross, last

Alexis Jay said concerns in England that the impending split would
set back initiatives in training and regulation could also be
played out in Scotland.

Backing the fundamental review of social work announced by
education and young people’s minister Peter Peacock, Jay said she
believed it would be a “catalyst for change” (news, page 14, 13

In a meeting with social work directors and chief social work
officers at the ADSW conference, Peacock said the review would
focus on moving the profession forward rather than stigmatising or
blaming it for service failures.

Peacock told delegates: “There are searching questions to ask about
the task of social work 30 years after social work departments were
established. We need to recognise the profession’s good work as
well as address any deficiencies.”

Peacock is expected to outline his plans for the review to
parliament by the summer.

Jay welcomed the plans for a more systematic and rigorous
inspection of social work services, but said there was also an
urgent need to reinforce social work as an essential public service
with its own distinctive professional contribution. To retain
staff, departments needed to offer continuous professional
development, coaching and mentoring, she added.

But she warned that recruitment should not be a competition between
the community care, criminal justice and children’s sectors, or
between the statutory and voluntary sectors.

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