| Monday 6 Dec 2004
Social Work staff welcome move away from single correctional
UNISONScotland, the union that represents the staff working in
Scotland's social work services welcomed the suggestion widely discussed
in the media, that the Scottish Executive was no longer planning
to set up a mammoth 'single correctional agency' and remove criminal
justice from local government.
Stephen Smellie, Chair of UNISONScotland's Social Work Issues Group
said: "Assuming the public statements in the media about today's
announcement are true, those working in Criminal Justice will welcome
the recognition by the Executive that the creation of a new quango
would do nothing to reduce re-offending and would threaten the ability
to work with people in the community. We are glad that the Government
has recognised the warnings of UNISON and over 90% of the respondents
to the consultation."
Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Local Government
sounded a warning, however, about the new national direction the
Executive are proposing to use to oversee the various agencies involved
in Criminal Justice. "We will have to look carefully at the proposals."
He said, "No one will object to having someone to set standards
and promote good practice, but if this becomes a strait jacket that
tries to enforce a 'one-size-fits-all' solution on all local initiatives,
it will run the risk of stifling good practice and innovative projects."
UNISON who represents around 1300 plus members who staff the criminal
justice sections in Scotland's social work departments, has consistently
campaigned against the proposals for a single agency, advocating
increased emphasis and resources to alternatives to custody, and
increased networking between central and local agencies to develop
and promote innovative schemes.
The union was planning to step up its campaign by using its social
work members to target their MSP's and by allying with the large
number of other organisations that opposed the establishment of
the single agency.
For Further Information Please Contact: Stephen Smellie
(Chair - Soc Wk Issues Group) 01698 454690(o) 07740 096 864(m) Joe
Di Paola (Scottish Org - Local Govt): 0845 355 0845(o) 07990 505
698(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer): 0870 7777006(o) 07715