Community Care’s Stand Up Now for Social Work campaign has won the support of the children’s minister for Scotland, Adam Ingram.
In an interview with Community Care, Ingram said social workers in Scotland “absolutely” deserved greater respect and blamed biased media coverage for a loss of morale in the sector.
“You only hear about social work when tragedies happen or something goes wrong, which is rare,” he said.
Social workers ‘are changing lives’
“In real life, social workers are changing the lives of thousands of people up and down the country but we never hear of these success stories,” Ingram added.
Ingram said scapegoating of practitioners by the Scottish press in recent months had been just as aggressive as in UK national newspapers.
‘Too easy to scapegoat profession’
“It’s often too easy for the media to scapegoat social work services for tragedies,” he said. “They jump to conclusions without any proper review of the evidence – some newspapers don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.”
Ingram made the comments after speaking last week at the launch of Social Work Changes Lives, a campaign by the Association of Directors of Social Work to boost public perceptions of social work in Scotland.
ADSW seeks PR boost for social work
The year-long publicity drive aims to celebrate the successes of social work and its services through proactive PR strategies.
ADSW president Alan Baird told more than 100 professionals at the launch in Edinburgh: “We have some wonderful stories to tell, fantastic examples of the critical difference that services make every day of the year.”
Sector-led campaign backed
Andy Ingram told Community Care after the event that he welcomed a sector-led approach to raising the profession’s profile.
“I’m pleased that the profession itself is feeling confident enough that it can put together a PR strategy for itself and take a campaign out there,” he said.
Ingram added that the public image of social work could also be improved through greater publicity of award schemes such as the Scottish Social Services Council’s Care Accolades.
The ADSW campaign is being run in partnership with the SSSC, the Association of Social Care Communicators, and a private PR company, Pagoda.