Reaping benefits of devolution

Welcome to Community Care’s Scotland Focus, the fifth in our series of supplements highlighting developments in social care across the nations and regions of the UK. Next week some of the issues raised in this focus will be debated at Community Care LIVE Scotland, which takes places in Edinburgh on 1-2 November.

Most people would agree that social care in Scotland has benefited greatly from devolution – the Scottish executive has placed increased emphasis on developing the sector and the issue has recently been given a higher priority and more parliamentary time than ever before.

Social services funding has more than doubled since devolution and ministers have proved willing to listen to concerns raised by the sector by legislating to tackle problems. This has been most recently seen with its Changing Lives and Hidden Harm proposals, both of which were unveiled earlier this year. Changing Lives, in particular, promises to dramatically change the way social workers of the future go about their jobs on a daily basis. Coming out of the 18-month long 21st Century Review of Social Work, it aims to help front-line staff become more autonomous so that they are better able to shape services around the needs of clients.

Despite the progress, major challenges remain. Rising numbers of vulnerable children, significantly high levels of alcohol and drug abuse, an ageing population and some of the worst levels of deprivation in the UK are major challenges.

However, Scotland’s sense of unity and broad coalition of political will mean it can act quickly and innovatively to tackle such social problems.
David Crawford explains why he  is hopeful of a brighter future for Scottish social services.

Six social work leaders discuss their hopes and fears for reforms in view of the 21st Century Review of Social Work.

Parental drug misuse is very much a live issue in Scotland today, but measures to deal with it might put an impossible burden on children’s services.

Telecare is a much admired solution for vulnerable and older people’s care, but is it right for all?

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