Scots review head fends off critics

The chair of Scotland’s 21st century review of social work has hit
back at criticism of comments he made following publication of the
group’s interim report.

Willy Roe denied accusations he was pandering to the Scottish
executive’s agenda for professional reform, had drawn conclusions
before issues had been discussed properly and lacked knowledge of
the profession.

Roe said: “I wasn’t drawing any conclusions at all – people may
have read things [into his comments] that aren’t so. I was
reporting on the emerging issues and offering my opinions about

“I am not constrained by ministers. The 13 members of the review
group have been appointed as individuals and are independent. I’m
not a professional social worker, but spent six months speaking to
users and carers, front-line social workers and health and criminal
justice professionals.”

The Association of Directors of Social Work described Roe’s
comments about social workers using outdated methods and operating
within organisations that had a “risk-averse” culture as “premature
and poorly judged”. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
voiced similar criticisms last week.

Vice-convenor of the ADSW’s criminal justice committee David
Crawford said: “The key concern must be whether Roe has actually
developed the necessary understanding of the most challenging
aspects of social work… and appears to have made up his mind at
the half-way stage.”

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