Date Weds 10 May 2006
Don't water down social work report recommendations says UNISON
UNISON, the union that represents Scotland's 30,000 Social Work
staff today called on the Scottish executive to fully fund and implement
the recommendations of Changing Lives - the report of the 21 Century
Social Work Review - and to avoid the ‘blame culture' when things
The union's General Secretary, Dave Prentis told a conference of
the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) in Crieff today
(10 May) that UNISON supported the Review and the Executive's initial
response, but was concerned that later comments by senior politicians
had seemed to go back to ‘knee-jerk' reactions.
Dave Prentis said: "We particularly welcomed the Executive's commitment
to additionally fund the change process in Social Work, and await
the second stage of their response with the details of this funding.
We are concerned that sufficient funds are made available to ensure
that social workers are freed up to do the jobs they were employed
to do rather than drowning in paperwork. Funding should also be
available to ensure that the new ‘paraprofessional' social worker'
is not just social work on the cheap, but is part of a well-trained,
UNISON is also concerned that - despite recommendations from the
report to avoid ‘blame culture', senior ministers lapsed into blaming
social workers for high profile incidents before investigations.
Dave Prentis said "We were disappointed to hear the First Minister's
knee jerk reaction to an incident, just two weeks after the report
was launched. This attitude is unacceptable and has to be challenged
by all of us.” The union went on to call for the assistance of ADSW
in tackling violent attacks on social workers.
Dave said "The patchy responses UNISON is getting to its requests
for information on assaults is concerning. We need your support
as managers to develop reporting systems, encouraging the use of
risk assessments and introducing safeguards for staff. After all,
you have a duty of care to our members.”
Dave also welcomed the announcement by Home Office Minister Tony
McNulty that children of asylum seekers should have the same rights
as other children under Scots law.
"Whilst we are still concerned that children will be deported.”
Dave said, " It is a small victory that they should have a professional
to safeguard their interests, and that their welfare should be paramount
,and one that UNISON has contributed directly to in making representations
to the Executive.”
Note for editors: Changing Lives - the report of the 21
Century Social Work Review is available on the web at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/91931/0021949.pdf.
UNISON had a number of representatives on some of the sub-groups.
For Further Information Please Contact: Mike Kirby (Scottish
Convenor) 07803 952 261 (m) Stephen Smellie (Chair - Social Work
Issues group) 07740 096 864(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser -
Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer)
0771 558 3729(m)
For full speech -